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Old 10-07-2008, 10:40 AM   #1
MRQuad
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Who to call "Sensei"?

i am confused who to call sensei.. and how do we know the instructor is a sensei? 'cause i might be mistaken calling someone a sensei and if he's not..

thanks..

P.S.
consider my english..
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:19 AM   #2
Bob Blackburn
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

You can never be to polite. If you address the instructor as Sensei, they will correct you if they do not want or shouldn't be addressed that way.
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:34 AM   #3
MRQuad
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

ah, ok.. thanks.. so far, i've called someone a sensei and they didn't correct me.. so, i guess they're fine the way i address them..
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:54 AM   #4
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

The Senseis are usually the person in charge of the dojo and the teaching staff. Just ask your fellow students or look at your dojo website to find out who are actually in charge of teaching and those would be the Senseis.
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:11 PM   #5
MRQuad
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

thank you very much.. atleast, i know now.. thanks again..
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:44 PM   #6
DonMagee
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

I usually don't care what people call me when I'm teaching. I've had a few people call me Sir, sensei, professor, etc. If someone asks I always tell them to call me Don or Hey (as in "Hey! I don't get what you are saying!")

It just makes me feel old to get called sensei or professor (I teach computer courses at a college part time). I've been told that I should really make the people training judo with me call me sensei, but I don't feel it is appropriate as I am not yet a black belt (soon however...mwahahaha). The black belt I am teaching under also does not enforce the sensei rule. We usually call him Jon or "that jerk who just gave me a world of pain".

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 10-07-2008, 01:26 PM   #7
mwible
Dojo: Aikido of Suenaka-Ha in Greater Richmond
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

In my dojo, we adress all blackbelts as Sensei, until told otherwise.

-morgan

"When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back; when you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you." - O' sensei
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:07 PM   #8
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

In our dojo whoever is in front of the class, but usually only that one person, is called sensei. Off the mat everyone is called by their first names usually. But the best thing to do is always to ask a local higher grade about what the local custom is, since different dojo have different ways of doing things.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 10-07-2008, 05:46 PM   #9
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Whomever you want to call sensei.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:16 PM   #10
Tinyboy344
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

My preference
Dojo Chief instructor - Sensei - on and off the mat.
Other instructors - sensei on the mat, first name off the mat
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:41 PM   #11
MRQuad
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

thanks a lot guys.. i really appreciated it..
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:34 AM   #12
Shane Marcum
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

I think it's typically anyone of Shodan or higher that could be construed as an instructor.
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Old 10-08-2008, 05:47 AM   #13
Simone
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Hi!

As you can see the use of "Sensei" differs.....

Where I train, it is connected to rank. Anyone 4th Dan and above is called Sensei.

I've once visited a dojo where everyone who teaches is addressed as Sensei. I was invited to also teach a technique and was also addressed as Sensei. I felt really embarrassed as I was Shodan....

Sometimes when I teach beginners and show them what to improve by taking them for uke some of them say: oh, the master is training with me! then I reply: I'm not (yet) a master, just call me Simone, that's fine.

So: find out what's customary in you dojo. When visiting an other dojo find out what they do. And on courses I'd prefer to be rather too polite. As Bob said, people will correct you if they prefer it otherwise....

Don't worry to much and enjoy training!

Yours,

Simone
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:27 AM   #14
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Time to trot this out again:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/sensei.html

I'll reproduce it in full, since it's quite short:
Quote:
There is often a misconception among non-Japanese speakers as to the weight that the title "sensei" is actually given in Japan. Basically, anybody who teaches anything is called "sensei", even if you teach bartending or (at an even lower level) English conversation. This would include workers at day-care centers and your kid's soccer coach. It's a term of respect (in that it's an honorific), but it doesn't carry nearly the weight that "doctor" or "professor" would in the west (although doctors and professors are also called "sensei"). Under this system anyone who teaches an Aikido class, even if they are a 5th kyu would be called sensei, and not many people would think twice about it. Of course, not many people would attach much weight to it either :-).

If someone's well respected you might call them "sensei" all the time, even cross-discipline, or you might not, but there's nothing magic about it -- it's just normal politeness, the same way that you might call Tom Hank "Mr. Hanks" and not "Hey, Tommy" if you've just met him.

Best,

Christopher Li
Bridge 1 Software
English/Japanese Japanese/English
Software Localization and Management
ChrisLi@bridge1.com
<http://www.bridge1.com>

Additional note from J. Akiyama:

Unlike the English language, the Japanese language places their titles after the person's name. So, "Smith sensei" is the correct way of using this title, not "Sensei smith."

Additionally, it's not very correct to call oneself "Sensei." Whenever a teacher instroduces him- or herself to someone else in Japan, they'll just use their last name. They might refer to their profession as being a teacher ("What do you do?" "I'm a teacher"), but they wouldn't call refer to themselves as such. So frankly, introducing oneself as "I'm So-and-so sensei" sounds a weird and even a bit presumptuous to my ears...

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:10 AM   #15
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Hi,

well that's interesting: Here in Germany i have never had the experience that someone is addressed as "sensei" when talking to him / her what grade ever. Only when talking to japanese shihan we use this title.
Or we use it when talking about the shihan.

When talking about our european teachers we say "teacher" and when talking directly to them we use their forenames. Even if it's Christian Tissier.

Carsten

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 10-08-2008 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:15 AM   #16
SeiserL
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

IMHO, ask your Sempai (seniors). Each school/organization had their own rules of etiquette. My original school only had one Sensei and I was not him. Where I train now, they refer to all Yudansha as Sensei in respect. Go ask. Its a very legitimate question.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:24 AM   #17
Mato-san
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

I'm with Lynn.
Same goes here

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:51 AM   #18
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Quote:
Inocencio Maramba wrote: View Post
Time to trot this out again:

http://www.aikiweb.com/language/sensei.html

I'll reproduce it in full, since it's quite short:
Hi Cito

That last bit about presumption fits well with my understanding.

I went to the 50 years of aikido bash and made a point of being friendly with all my partners , exchanging usual pleasantaries such as name, where do you train etc...just being sociable which was nature of the course.

One partner officiously introduced herself as "sensei X" ...I found it ridiculous....I knew she was a Sensei cos her badge told me anyway..In true Royle family tradition 'Sensei my rrrse' sprang to mind.

If I ever start taking myself that seriously please feel free to give me a good kicking.



Sensei D (Doh !!!)

Last edited by Dazzler : 10-08-2008 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:25 AM   #19
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Hi Darren,
That's correct... And if you catch me calling myself anything like that, you can give me a sound thrashing as well

Japanese Honorifics are not meant to be self-applied (as far as I know)
To call oneself <name>-san, or <name>-sensei is regarded as quite pompous.
Respect is earned, not self given.

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:45 AM   #20
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

I recently received an email from an aikido dojo advertising some event they were having. Something at the 'bottom' of the email caught my eye.
"The only private Dojo offering authentic Aikido instruction in San Bernardino County?"
Since my dojo happens to be in San Bernardino County I replied with;
"Are you sure about that?"

Dojo-cho's response follows;
"Are you sure that's not true? If it isn't, i.e., if there are other privately-owned Dojo in the county being run by an authentic 4th Dan or above from Hombu, Yoshinkan, Tomiki or Ki No Kenkyukai, I would be glad to include their names. It would be great to see some of the people claiming authority to teach Aikido at our regional seminars with people like Saotome Sensei etc. too.

I really don't want us to be exclusive here, but as far as I know, we are. A practice club is not a Dojo - I know, I had one for years as nidan and sandan. There is a Dojo in Palm Springs run by a 2nd Dan who is a former student of mine, so I suppose I should include them...

Do let me know if you know of any others."


People can sure get hung up on titles, rank and stuff can't they.

Last edited by gdandscompserv : 10-08-2008 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:48 AM   #21
Mato-san
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Are you Japanese Inocencio Maramba? Would you be offended if I used Mato-san as my nic in this forum? Would my Dojo or my Japanese family/wife be offended if I used this name for my Internet forum name (don't think so/know so). Don't think I would be comfortable calling myself Sensei though (in an Aikido world anyway) until I am the head instuctor at a Dojo in Japan.
I am no specialist on Japanese etiquette, but have some good Ideas after living here for 5 years.

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:54 AM   #22
Mato-san
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
I recently received an email from an aikido dojo advertising some event they were having. Something at the 'bottom' of the email caught my eye.
"The only private Dojo offering authentic Aikido instruction in San Bernardino County?"
Since my dojo happens to be in San Bernardino County I replied with;
"Are you sure about that?"

Dojo-cho's response follows;
"Are you sure that's not true? If it isn't, i.e., if there are other privately-owned Dojo in the county being run by an authentic 4th Dan or above from Hombu, Yoshinkan, Tomiki or Ki No Kenkyukai, I would be glad to include their names. It would be great to see some of the people claiming authority to teach Aikido at our regional seminars with people like Saotome Sensei etc. too.

I really don't want us to be exclusive here, but as far as I know, we are. A practice club is not a Dojo - I know, I had one for years as nidan and sandan. There is a Dojo in Palm Springs run by a 2nd Dan who is a former student of mine, so I suppose I should include them...

Do let me know if you know of any others."


People can sure get hung up on titles, rank and stuff can't they.
They sure can.... they get so hung up on it that they forget about good Aikido... it is discusting

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:08 AM   #23
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post

People can sure get hung up on titles, rank and stuff can't they.
don't forget, that being an asian is an automatic recognition, since we ALL know that asian can open a can of whup-ass and take names.... well, mainly take names and asking important questions like "want egg rolls with that?" or "extra fly rice?"
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:17 AM   #24
Nick P.
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

...guess I better cancel my business card order which states
"Sensei Nick Pittson".

I think, maybe, we in the west have begun applying the same rules we use for, say, doctors; though I personally find it ludicrous, it seems fine that if you meet someone who introduces themselves as "Doctor Smith" in instead of Mr. or Mrs. Smith, it is quite acceptable.

Why on earth would one care so deeply what titles they have earned, when what others will want is your NAME, not your title.
I for one do not think of my doctor or lawyer friends as Doctor or Esquire (or whatever the title is) so-and-so. In fact, if someone corrects me when I address them with mentioning their title I respect them less, and no longer address them by name. In fact, I try and have as little to do with them from then on.

Rant finished. Back on topic.

Monday, as I led class in the teachers absence, a newer student to our school (shodan in karate) addressed me as sensei on his way out the door. I did not have time to correct him, though I would have liked to, and if the opportunity presents itself I will. On the other hand, its just an honorific that he chose to use, I imagine out of respect and/or etiquette.

Am I flattered? Maybe a little. Was I a little embarrassed in front of the other students? A bit. Would I have been embarrassed if my teacher was within earshot? Yes, very much so.

In many ways, we are all senseis, and at the same time we are always students. Act accordingly.

~edit: I have immense respect for doctors and lawyers, but not because of the title they carry; it is because, like anyone else without a title, I respect the person because of their character.

Last edited by Nick P. : 10-08-2008 at 09:20 AM.

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Old 10-08-2008, 12:13 PM   #25
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Who to call "Sensei"?

Quote:
Mathew McDowell wrote: View Post
Are you Japanese Inocencio Maramba? Would you be offended if I used Mato-san as my nic in this forum? Would my Dojo or my Japanese family/wife be offended if I used this name for my Internet forum name (don't think so/know so). Don't think I would be comfortable calling myself Sensei though (in an Aikido world anyway) until I am the head instuctor at a Dojo in Japan.
I am no specialist on Japanese etiquette, but have some good Ideas after living here for 5 years.
No, I wouldn't be offended at all (I'm notoriously hard to offend )

But anyone who starts using Filipino titles (Datu, Rajah, Sultan, etc) improperly would get a raised eyebrow from me (at very least)

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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