Charles Hill wrote:
Hey guys, thanks for your replies.
In my experience, teachers and even sempai in Japan are constantly throwing out tests. They might show a little something or make a small comment and then sit back and see what the student will do with it. Most, foreigners (again, just in my experience) seem to miss this(along with a number of Japanese, as well.) I`m not talking about ostracization, but the loss of a chance to move in, as opposed to up.
At a pub recently, my teacher talked about a foreigner who used to train at the dojo. The shihan really liked him but felt that his lack of Japanese language ability caused him to amaeru too much, and this prevented him from really getting to the place where he could receive the shihan`s teaching. I feel that if something so innocent as a lack of language ability could cause this, refusing to bow would be an even bigger block.
Americans often think that not speaking Japanese is not so important, even if they live in Japan - after all, they speak English, which everyone ought to understand! Try taking on a couple of non-English speaking students who speak only, say, Swahili, and see how easy it is to teach them subtle and complex points.
I'd say that Japanese ability is the number one block at the dojo if you're training in Japan - anything else can pretty much be worked out as long as you're able to communicate.