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Old 07-25-2002, 09:13 AM   #1
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,933
Responsibility: Teacher's or Student's?

So, here's a (linguistic) thought I've been having.

The Japanese terms that we hear being used most often in aikido that refer to a "teacher" are "sensei" and "shihan."

Taking a look at these two terms linguistically, we know that "sensei" literally means "born/lives before" and "shihan" literally means "master example." Neither of these terms (as opposed to other terms in Japanese like "kyoushi" and "kyouju") contain a literal character in its terms for "teaching."

In other words, neither the term "sensei" nor "shihan" connote that the person with such a title has to "teach," per se, but just keep doing what he has been doing. In this approach, it's the student's responsibility to learn through modelling and "stealing" the teacher's teachings.

I'm surmising that this has roots in the classical "master - apprentice" system, but I really have no firm basis for this.

Any thoughts? I'm especially interested to hear from folks like Peter Goldsbury who have extensive experience in the martial arts as well as a good basis in the Japanese language...

-- Jun

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