View Single Post
Old 10-09-2011, 07:29 PM   #8
Lyle Laizure
Lyle Laizure's Avatar
Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 563
Re: Adressing someone as Sensei?

I and a couple of my students took a Japanese language class some time back. We called the teacher "sensei." During one of the classes one of my students referred to me as sensei and that prompted a brief discussion about what we do and so on. The Japanese teacher explained that the term "sensei" was used for doctors, lawyers etc. It is a common term we use for teacher and I imagine it is the same in Japan now days as well. But as she explained the term "sensei" actually means a master of a particular field. So, depending on how you wish to interpret this it could mean that you would call a doctor, lawyer, a martial arts instructor "sensei" because that person has mastered their field or at the very least knows a lot more than you. But this can be said of someone that has trained for several years and not yet achieved their actually compared to someone that has only been training for a few months. But then why do we use the terms sempai and kohai. Personally, I feel that all too often we see the actually as a end point or goal that should lead to some enlightenment when in fact it is just the beginning of a never ending journey. If your sensei no longer has anything to offer you is he still your sensei?

Lyle Laizure
Deru kugi wa uta reru
  Reply With Quote