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Old 06-06-2014, 12:53 PM   #1
Peter Boylan
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Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

There is a lot of misuse and abuse of Japanese titles around the Japanese martial arts. A big one is using "sensei" properly, but there are plenty of other titles that are abused. I wrote about it in this blog post http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/06/...do-titles.html

So who do address as "sensei?" Are there any other titles or honorifics you use?

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
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http://www.budogu.com
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:36 PM   #2
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

All good. Another honorary title I have come across is mohan = model student as in 'one the others should follow'. But it was never used to address the model student directly - more for when people were talking about him.

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Old 06-06-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

I work with a bunch of Japanese lawyers. I call EVERYONE sensei!
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:51 PM   #4
Peter Boylan
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I work with a bunch of Japanese lawyers. I call EVERYONE sensei!
In Japan, teachers don't have classrooms. The kids keep the classrooms and the teachers share a group office even worse that cubicle farm. When the kids want someone, they come to the door of the office and yell "Sensei!" which is completely ignored by the 50 people in the room who are all "Sensei."

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:52 PM   #5
Peter Boylan
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
All good. Another honorary title I have come across is mohan = model student as in 'one the others should follow'. But it was never used to address the model student directly - more for when people were talking about him.
Another hugely abused term that I neglected to include is "soke." Nobody is addressed as "Soke" It just doesn't happen.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
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http://www.budogu.com
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:56 PM   #6
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
In Japan, teachers don't have classrooms. The kids keep the classrooms and the teachers share a group office even worse that cubicle farm. When the kids want someone, they come to the door of the office and yell "Sensei!" which is completely ignored by the 50 people in the room who are all "Sensei."
I remember that from when I taught in Japan. It also took a bit of getting used to when I would go to a shop and the shopkeeper would call me sensei. (It was a small town and I taught the children or grandchildren of just about everyone in the area, so they all knew who I was.)

Actually come to think about it, there were some situations when I had some of my school students in the aikido class with me, and my sensei would call me sensei. That was weird.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:52 PM   #7
Andrew S
 
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
When the kids want someone, they come to the door of the office and yell "Sensei!" which is completely ignored by the 50 people in the room who are all "Sensei."
Or some witty teacher will call back, "We're all Sensei - which one of us do you want?"

I am sometimes "sensei" and sometimes just "-san", and sometimes yobisute (without honourific), depending on who I'm working with.

I've also been a "sensei" at a Kenshinkai demonstration for reasons I can't quite fathom.

Warning: Do not bend, fold or otherwise abuse... until we get to the dojo..


合気道研心会 Aikido Kenshinkai
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:44 AM   #8
JP3
 
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

People who give themselves titles generally do not deserve them, so just don't do that.

If, after what feels like a thousand years of training in a single or plethora of arts, you happen to overhear what You see as your "training partners" talking to a potential new student and saying, "What Sensei (YOUR NAME HERE) teaches us here is..." then, maybe you do deserve it. If you didn't put the idea in their heads.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 06-15-2014, 11:36 AM   #9
PeterR
 
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

I admit to a certain reactionary response to the misuse of Japanese titles in the martial arts. It just seems to me that more people start attaching titles to their name earlier than they do in the country of origin but I am guilty of the ''well when I trained in'' syndrome. That said putting Kancho after your name or even sensei seems so wrong although in the latter case it is almost expected if you are running a dojo. Exported usages do change.

It may have been in aikiweb or elsewhere but I do remember someone pointing out is you become Shihan when other Shihan start calling you that. I always liked that. Not sure what it has to do with the thread except that self awarding titles seem to take on more importance in our supposed egalitarian society.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:16 PM   #10
Matt Fisher
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Re: Using titles and calling people "Sensei"

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
So who do address as "sensei?" Are there any other titles or honorifics you use?
In the dojos I have been a member of, "sensei" is a functional title. It gets used for yudansha who regularly teach class but ONLY WHEN THEY ARE TEACHING. I can live with "Matt Sensei" or "Sensei" during a class that I teach...but once we bow out, I see no reason/purpose to being addressed as "sensei" and I don't want other members of my dojo referring to me that way.

My own practice is to refer to senior members of our organization (ASU) as "sensei" as a mark of respect.

Matt
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