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Old 05-04-2006, 07:35 PM   #26
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

IMO, the sempai/kohai relationship is a kind of psychological bond between people. Like the Sensei/seito relationship, if one doesn't recognise the other as Sensei/Sempai or Seito/Kohai, the relationship doesn't exist and doesn't matter. Unfortunately, in the West, these days, the meaning of such relationships has become more of less contractual and the harmony that binds these people has become less important.

In a relationship between two people, one could be the sempai in one situation and kohai in another, just like a person could be the father and still be the son's student. My son will soon surpass me in Kendo and I hope he will become my Sensei there but I still remain his Aikido Sensei and his father. But, in Kendo, I hope he will become my Sensei and I will treat him as such if he will allow me to do so. Sometimes, that can be difficult. In those situations, the two Sensei's of the two different arts that study from each other simply stay out of the dojo situation and practice privately as equals. This can be difficult but it is possible. You just have to compartmentalise your emotions and ego and act with proper etiquette. It does become easier as the two people increase in rank. You will find that your relationship to your teacher becomes different as you become better and progress up the ranks. You become more equals unless, as a lower rank, you do something stupid in public. So to avoid that, the two retain a very formal relationship in public but in private, things are different. It all depends on the situation. Again, I am blithering.

Rock
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:39 PM   #27
Chuck Clark
 
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

Rocky, I'm in the same situation with my son. Aaron has become senior to me in skill in Shinto Muso Ryu, but is still my student in Aikibudo and Judo. He has become a fine budo teacher and I'm looking forward to learning more jo from him in the future. He's not technically my sensei yet, but someday I'm sure he will be.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:15 PM   #28
Dajo251
Dojo: Aikido Downtown
Location: Rhode Island
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

I dont know why but it amuses me that my senseis mother trains in our school......

Dan Hulley
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:22 AM   #29
Dirk Hanss
 
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Dojo: Aikidoschule Trier
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

I do not care much about measuring the deapth of bowing. You bow as you respect the other one as human being. If you want to be formal, it is more important, who starts coming back from bowing - in old videos, I have seen American visitors, who bowed deep to O Sensei, but were stand upright, before O Sensei was really at his lower point. That was quite ungentle, but obviously barbarians stay barbarians, why loose any more word on this.

Kohai/sempai rule in our dojo is quite clear. Who has the higher rank in our dojo is sempai,the other one is kohai. If both are ranked equally, the one who was granted his rank first, is the sempai. If they tested on the same day, the relationship is inherited from the testing before, etc.

Why only a rank from our dojo? Because if you are new to a doo, you might be good, but you have to get used to the actual etiquette, ritus, or however you call it, or even with the location.

So probably, if there is a new regular student, sensei will set him in the hierarchie by formally acknowledging his rank. Until then he is kohai to everyone else. But that is just a gimmick.

So surpassing your sempai is quite easy. Surpassing your sensei is something else. If you are definitely better and are instructor, you are the sensei. Difficult is the the time were the students believes, he is better, but the sensei thinks there is still much, he has to be taught.You van never become someones sensei without his approval. If he accepts you as instructor in regular classes or in seminars, he is your sensei.
So I guess, if they can agree upon, it is clear who is the sensei, and if they cannot, one will have to leave. In traditional dojo it would be probably the student, who leaves - unless he challenges the sensei and beat him out (very traditional ). In modern organisations the studantcan pass his master by the organisation's rule, e.g. being elected, promoted by the shihan, etc. then the former sensei has to accept or has to leave.

Just my 2 cts (-cts, of course)

Dirk
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:28 AM   #30
Budd
 
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

While rank and experience can certainly be measures, I would think that most teachers would want their students to someday surpass them in accomplishment.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:10 PM   #31
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

I had a similar experience to Joseph's. One of my early instructors would assign those of us senior to teach periodically when he was out of town. He clearly instructed us that no matter who showed up we were in charge of the class. One class had a visiting sandan, aikikai, who showed up. He was somewhat insulted we did not let him to teach (he hinted quite strongly he should be teaching due to his rank). His technique just happened to be weak so in retrospect we did not feel bad about it. Our instructor had seen him on the mat previously and it was one of the reasons we were told not to let anyone else teach on our assigned nights.
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Old 05-05-2006, 08:28 PM   #32
Nick P.
 
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Dojo: Sukagawa Aikido Club of Montreal
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
I had a similar experience to Joseph's. One of my early instructors would assign those of us senior to teach periodically when he was out of town. He clearly instructed us that no matter who showed up we were in charge of the class. One class had a visiting sandan, aikikai, who showed up. He was somewhat insulted we did not let him to teach (he hinted quite strongly he should be teaching due to his rank). His technique just happened to be weak so in retrospect we did not feel bad about it. Our instructor had seen him on the mat previously and it was one of the reasons we were told not to let anyone else teach on our assigned nights.
Our sensei has given us seniors, myself and two others, the same instructions. That sandan should have known A LOT better where his place was, especially as a visitor.
I "teach" in Sensei's absence, and have many times led class with seniors and sempai in the ranks. But like mentionned by others, they are valued and deffered to a fair bit.

As to the original question, I remember a detailed discussion from several more informed Aikidoka on this forum on what is and what is not sempai; I for one now see it more as a question of relative time and ability in comparison to myself, and even then try to treat everyone with the same level of respect....but usually fail . I have been called Sensei by some, and though flattered, corrected them and by saying "If you insist on giving me a title, it could be sempai, but "Nick" is just fine."

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Old 05-06-2006, 11:23 PM   #33
Lucy Smith
Dojo: Samurai Dojo
Location: Montevideo
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Re: Students that surpass their sensei

I think, as many of you said, that you can never be sempai to your Sensei, even if you're higher ranked. It's just a matter of respect and love. It's the same with other students, at least for me; one 5th kyu in our dojo left for a while because she can't pay. I will be 5th kyu next month (I hope), and I'll probably be 4th or 3rd kyu when she returns. I'm also older than her. But I will treat her as my sempai, no matter what she says, because she has taught me and supported me, and she didn't leave intentionally. Even if etiquette and Sensei makes it unable for me to treat her as my sempai, she will always be sempai in my heart (OK, no more tears here). If it's like this with her, it would definitely be like this with my Sensei (who by the way will never be lower in rank than me).
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