Re: Sempai/Kohai Relationship in Aikido
There is no such thing as Western versus Eastern Sempai/Kohai relationship since each Sempai/Kohai relationship is individual and unique. I simply used the terms to point out that you make of the relationship that which you wish to make of it. However, there must be a personal relationship of some kind if there is to be a Dojo. Even in Japan, each Sempai/Kohai relationship differs. There are numerous books and films in Japan based on the storyline of a unique Sempai/Kohai relationship. Please don't make more of this than there is in Japanese mythology. All it means is that there is a hierarchical relationship between two people. That hierarchy may not even be fixed because one person might be Sempai in one situation, then Kohai in another. Learning to deal with this flexibly is one of the issues for study in the martial arts. For instance, how do you respond when the instructor assigned to you is just a teenager and you are a full grown adult. Do you fight the relationship because you Sempai is younger than you or do you pay attention and get what is offered because the Sempai knows more than you? I would often get one of the more advanced youth practitioners in my Dojos to teach the adult class to see how everyone would react. You should be willing to accept any source of training if that source is competent and not worry about things like rank or age. Sometimes a person of a lower rank may be much better at something than other higher ranked people.