Monday, January 30, 2006

The Teacher-Student Relationship

To me, the title of sensei is very special, and not one to be taken lightly. The role of an instructor is one that bears a responsibility not only to the student, but to the sanctity of the school, and the surrounding community. In a traditional ryu, the initiate had to be interviewed by the chief instructor before training commenced. The candidate's character, standards, and personality were scrutinized before being accepted.Thugs, tough-guys and the like were summarily turned away.

Deshi is the Japanese word for disciple. Disciple sounds like a word in a religious sense, but it exemplifies the true definition of a budoka(this is especially true in Japan). An uchideshi is a "live-in" disciple, who actually has taken up residence at the living quarters of the dojo. Her or his responsibility is to tend to the daily mundane tasks of the master, in addition to regular training. Cleaning house, gardening, shopping, etc. A big departure from what we are accustomed to from a strip-mall karate school! This is not to convey the message that the student must kneel-down before the master. In his book Toward a Psychology of Awakening, John Welwood writes:

Genuine teachers encourage self-respect as the basis for self-transcendence...The authentic teacher-student relationship leads beyond narcissism by teaching students how to devote themselves to a greater power that lies within yet beyond themselves.

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Blogger Dadi said...

Good post. I believe it is problematic that in today's society, we have the unfortunate overvalue of quantity over quality. Unless we ourselves find a way to stress the latter to our own students and/or find the same relationship with our own teacher it will always be difficult to apply these lessons of proper self-respect (not self-confidence). Find the self, live with the self, dissolve the self.

7:52 AM  
Blogger uchi deshi said...

Hey John, Thanks for your message on my blog. It's hard to believe some of the stories about O'Sensei. But even the ones you can believe are pretty amazing when you remember he was under 5 feet tall! I enjoyed your blog, too.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

Hence the word : Sensei

The one who walked before.

Karate-do, not karate.

Good post, I'll bookmark you.
Good day.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

A question:

How is Isshinryu?
A combination of Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu. I know practionnionners of both styles and I'm wondering what's your appreciation of that style?

Have you ever been in the "traditional" styles?

Gonna

9:15 AM  
Blogger Stephen Irwin said...

Hi John,

Thanks for visiting my blog. You have a great site here. Keep up the quality articles.

I have linked back to you from my own blog.


5:51 PM  
Blogger Mir said...

Truly.. the Sensei/ disciple roles have been changed due to the market driven dojo. However, one is capable of finding this quality of training if one is persistent enough. They still exist.

9:20 PM  

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