Thread: Sensei?
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:16 PM   #46
Chris Li
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,297
Re: Sensei?

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
It certainly is more structured and formal. And that is exactly what I like about it. The down side is that just like a few decades ago in Europe things can become too rigid. It is however not as I experienced it, quite the opposite; a relaxed atmosphere seems to come naturally with a certain amount of formality.

You have stayed quite some time in Japan. Did you feel the formality and social structure as a constant hindrance?
In general, yes - it's not an entirely negative thing, but it's not for everbody - and it is different in many ways from what is usual in the US. Enough so that I'd question the desireability of imposing one random section of it into a foreign culture.

OTOH, I found dojo atmospheres - even in very traditional arts (and I trained in some of the oldest of the old) were much more relaxed than you find in US dojo - despite the extra rules, perhaps because it's a natural extension of the culture rather than a foreign imposition.

Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Your second point is true enough and I have seen plenty of examples of this - but is this not also a matter of education and experience? It is a bit like thinking that every Dutchman wears wooden clogs (I do actually, but that is beside the point). Once someone has been in the Netherlands he knows better.
True - but the percentage of folks with real Japan experience is very small, even among senior folks - hence the difficulties.



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