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A Fine Sensei

One of the finest sensei I have ever met is Dr. Noboru Akagi, my sons' Kendo sensei.

Aside from his technical ability and promotion of the arts of Kendo and Iaido here in Hawaii, Akagi Sensei did something very rare among teachers -- he groomed his successor and handed the dojo over to him while he was still relatively young and healthy. He still teaches but has already established his successor, as well as many other capable instructors.

Too many sensei wait until it is too late to groom a successor or successors. Since this could take at least 20 years, a sensei must start the process before he is too old. Otherwise, he might not have enough time or will be unable, at an advanced age, to move and demonstrate correctly.

Some sensei selfishly hold onto control of the dojo rather than passing it on. In such a case, the dojo might fall apart or break into factions upon the sensei's death.

Sensei should plan ahead, groom a successor, and then support him or her.


Charles C. Goodin