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Old 07-15-2008, 08:14 AM   #1
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Who is Your Sensei?

Onegaishimasu. From time to time I read posts where someone mentions "my sensei", when it is pretty clear that there is no way that person trains regularly with that particular sensei. So my question is, what makes a sensei 'your' sensei?

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:34 AM   #2
dbotari
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
Onegaishimasu. From time to time I read posts where someone mentions "my sensei", when it is pretty clear that there is no way that person trains regularly with that particular sensei. So my question is, what makes a sensei 'your' sensei?

In gassho,

Mark
Or to rephrase the question, if I may Mark, what makes you [insert "your" sensei's name] student?

It is my belief that the relationship is a two way street. I can't call a person "my" sensei unless they are willing to call me "their" student.

Only my opinion ,

Dan
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:03 AM   #3
mwible
Dojo: Aikido of Suenaka-Ha in Greater Richmond
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

The only person i call MY sensei, is my direct instructor who has taught me sense i bagan my study of Aikido a little over 2 years ago. Joe Mcclure sensei. Sure, there are others i could label "MY" sensei; possibly the shihan who teaches in Ashland Virginia not too far away from where i live, or maybe even Sensei Roy Y. Suenaka, the Head of Wadokai Aikido. But i wouldn't address them as such, because only one person has always been there over the past 2 years to teach me Aikido, and thats Joe Sensei.

in aiki,
morgan
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Old 07-15-2008, 11:12 AM   #4
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

He is the one who is now my human 'signpost on the way'.
Now my road has more than one sign, all helping me continue on the path.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 07-15-2008, 11:18 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Onegaishimasu. 'signpost' is a good way of putting it, since the translation for 'sensei' is "the one that goes before you"

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 07-15-2008, 03:05 PM   #6
Dunken Francis
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

I think the person who teaches you your basics and starts to turn your whiteboard of a brain into a notepad for Aiki! In my case I was lucky enough to have a very senior instructor (50+ man..) who not only opened every aiki door he could for us but encouraged us to go out and seek "input" from others. A true 'Sensei' in my opinion.

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Old 07-15-2008, 05:24 PM   #7
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

I have learned things from people who would not have me as a student, and I have been claimed as a student by those whom I would never call "my teacher."

I have learned from people who will never know I exist, and I have learned from instructors who have taken special interest in me and I in them.

This "my" is a very strong word though. A lantern does not own the moth, a moth does not own the lantern, and neither owns the light between them; but, on the patio every night, there they all are, doing their thing quite naturally.

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Old 07-15-2008, 07:02 PM   #8
aikidoc
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Dunken: Nice soft breakfalls. I wish I were that flexible.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:38 PM   #9
Shannon Frye
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Thumbs up Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Nicely put. Straight forward, yet so eloquent.

Shannon

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
I have learned things from people who would not have me as a student, and I have been claimed as a student by those whom I would never call "my teacher."

I have learned from people who will never know I exist, and I have learned from instructors who have taken special interest in me and I in them.

This "my" is a very strong word though. A lantern does not own the moth, a moth does not own the lantern, and neither owns the light between them; but, on the patio every night, there they all are, doing their thing quite naturally.

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:55 AM   #10
lbb
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
This "my" is a very strong word though. A lantern does not own the moth, a moth does not own the lantern, and neither owns the light between them; but, on the patio every night, there they all are, doing their thing quite naturally.
Yeah, "my" certainly does cover a spectrum of relationships. Anyone ever read The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin? Great book, about an anarchist, anti-propertarian society where possessive pronouns exist, but aren't really used because of the connotation of ownership. This leads to constructions like, "the hat I use," which are certainly clunky; OTOH, I wonder if phrases like "my sensei" and "my student" aren't an indication of where a clunkier but more accurate phrasing might not do well.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:01 AM   #11
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Yeah, "my" certainly does cover a spectrum of relationships. [...] OTOH, I wonder if phrases like "my sensei" and "my student" aren't an indication of where a clunkier but more accurate phrasing might not do well.
Well, in MY opinion, ...

If a martial artist says "my sensei," I throw a subconscious flag and listen for more detail. I am wondering to what degree the student defines himself in terms of things, relationships, and so forth that he sees as external to himself. I wonder if I'm talking to a free thinker or if I'm talking to the unauthorized (or maybe even authorized) mouthpiece of a person or an organization. I wonder if I'm talking to You or if I'm talking to your clouds.

In contrast, a college student saying "my professor" generally doesn't elicit the same reaction, since "professor" seems less charged with guru-ism than "sensei." A college student saying "my mentor," however, may leave me wondering.

So, it's not the "my," per se; rather, it's where the "my" may point.

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Old 07-16-2008, 12:45 PM   #12
kidoman
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Mark, I believe to refer to one as "my sensei: it's meaning is much more than one that has gone before me. Also we can learn from anyone. That does not make that person my sensei. I believe "my sensei" is someone that we take an oath and or our intention is to follow and to believe in what they are doing.

I also believe the word MY is highly overused and overrated. What is important is that if you are truly Sensei' s student you and sensei will know. That's all that matters.
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:33 PM   #13
Kim S.
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

If a sensei calls me his or her student, then he or she is "my sensei" and is willing to take the heat when I embarrass him or her. That is my sensei. Also, "my sensei" is any sensei in my current dojo that I regularly train under (and/or with depending on the situation).

It is also best to consider what viewpoint the Japanese culture has on a proper student/teacher relationship.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:27 PM   #14
odudog
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

My sensei is the person who gives me permission to test.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:32 PM   #15
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
My sensei is the person who gives me permission to test.
Mike, you have my permission to test.

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Old 07-16-2008, 09:57 PM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

You Are! You Are!

Oh, I thought for a second the thread was "Who's your Daddy".My bad.

Joe, you got me laughing again......

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:17 PM   #17
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Yeah, "my" certainly does cover a spectrum of relationships. Anyone ever read The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin? Great book, about an anarchist, anti-propertarian society where possessive pronouns exist, but aren't really used because of the connotation of ownership. This leads to constructions like, "the hat I use," which are certainly clunky; OTOH, I wonder if phrases like "my sensei" and "my student" aren't an indication of where a clunkier but more accurate phrasing might not do well.
Don't think of them as "possessive pronouns", think of them as "genetive pronouns".

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:34 PM   #18
Walter Martindale
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

I don't own the sensei at our dojo. hence - not "my" sensei..
or is he...

When coaching, I refer to the athletes I coach as just that - the athletes I coach, or the crew I coach, but I try to avoid "my crew" because I'm just the guy they let coach them at that particular time. They pay fees to a club to row, I'm paid to coach - who owns whom, and who owes whom a professional program?

With volunteers, it's different to some extent, but essentially, I pay dojo fees, and the organisation provides me a place to train with a volunteer who's carrying a higher rank than me, but as a volunteer, he can up stakes and leave any time he likes... So, we train, we thank him for the training and practice, and we keep coming back.

It's more complicated and at the same time more simple than that, but it's time to shut down and go for a workout.
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:00 AM   #19
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Jeez, folks, do you own your parents? Do you own your boss? Do you own your workplace? Yes, it's called the "possessive pronoun" but it doesn't indicate pure possession, it simply indicates association.

Discussion on whether "my" is the appropriate term for one's sensei is really diving headlong into "Aiki-bunny" territory.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:27 AM   #20
SeiserL
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Sensei Dang Thong Phong of Tenshinkai Aikido at the Westminster Aikikai Dojo in southern California.

Because he brought me from a big old white man in a white belt to a big old white man in a black belt.

Because he had the patience and courage to teach me, I will forever be in his debt and refer to him as "my Sensei".

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 07-17-2008, 06:50 AM   #21
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Salvatore Forestieri wrote: View Post

I also believe the word MY is highly overused and overrated. What is important is that if you are truly Sensei' s student you and sensei will know. That's all that matters.
And you will study each other from both near and far.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:14 AM   #22
lbb
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Discussion on whether "my" is the appropriate term for one's sensei is really diving headlong into "Aiki-bunny" territory.
Pfft. No one's telling you what to do or what to call anyone; no one's "should"ing on you. I think it's an interesting point of discussion, that's all. No need for you to be calling names.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:24 AM   #23
Angela Dunn
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

For me it has a duel meaning. Literally it is whoever is in charge of the class I am attending at that point.

However I always class the first person who taught me as My Sensei.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:41 AM   #24
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Jeez, folks, do you own your parents? Do you own your boss? Do you own your workplace? Yes, it's called the "possessive pronoun" but it doesn't indicate pure possession, it simply indicates association.

Discussion on whether "my" is the appropriate term for one's sensei is really diving headlong into "Aiki-bunny" territory.
I asked the word My
What he meant by that. Alas,
She did not answer.

It seems that words do not speak for themselves after all!

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Old 07-17-2008, 07:47 AM   #25
Mannix Moya
 
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Re: Who is Your Sensei?

my sensei is Jun Carandang (the bald guy)of Manila Aikido Club/Philippine Aikikai


cheers!
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