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Old 08-25-2009, 06:23 AM   #71
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido

Hey Rock! Good to see you posting! Thanks for contributing.

My comments in this thread have been mis-characterized several times. I have not said that the sempai/kohai relationship should be gotten rid of. What I've repeated is that I am not comfortable with certain abuses that are part of the tradition, and that I'm not sure that the practice translates well to societies outside of Japan. So I am cautious about applying the term here in the states.

Again, my own instructor is Japanese, and our tests invovle Japanese language from 3rd kyu on. But, I don't remember the terms sempai/kohai being used in his dojo. And I think (I can only guess, but maybe I'll specifically ask him sometime) the reasons may be the same reservations that I have mentioned here, at least in part.

So to be clear, I am *not* advocating getting rid of something. In fact, in terms of the cultural context that sempai/kohai exists in in Japan, once taken outside of that country, I'm not sure it really exists in any case, so I'm not sure that there *is* anything to "get rid of". Except for a weakened, mostly symbolic artifact, in many, if not most, cases.

This is one of those cases where I question the need for the Japanese terms, given how different the context is. But of course, as always, I reserve the right to be entirely wrong. I too would be interested in how you describe how the relationship works in the many dojo you've lead outside of Japan.


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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