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Sensei -- Junior to Some Students

The head of a dojo is entitled to a certain level of respect. I am the head of my dojo. However, I am constantly reminded that the head of a dojo may be quite junior to students of other dojo. Those students might not even be called "Sensei," but are unquestionably senior.

Three seniors I respect very much are ninth, ninth, and eighth dan respectively. They have each been teaching for over 40 years. As such, they have students who have trained with them for decades.

The other day, I paired off with one of their senior students. At one point, the student asked me to throw a punch to his face. He blocked and took me down so fast that I still am not sure what happened. I punched and BAM! That was it.

Remarkably (at least to me), another senior student from a different Sensei saw what happened and came over. He explained that he does the technique a little differently. So again I punched and BAM! Same thing! I felt like a child.

We must always remember that no matter what our rank, title or position may be, no matter how many students we have, the honors we have received, the articles and books we have written, no matter what -- we are still students. We should always looks for opportunities to learn and show our respect to those who can teach us. We must never let our perceived accomplishments blind us or narrow our view.

Being a Sensei should never make us forget that many students may be our senior and that we have a lot to learn from them.


Charles C. Goodin