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Sensei -- Human Beings

In the oriental culture, students tend to revere their Sensei. In some ways this is good, but in other ways it is bad.

We must never forget that Sensei are human beings, not gods.

Take Jigoro Kano, Gichin Funakoshi, and Morihei Ueshiba. Each was a great martial artists, but not a god. If they were gods, then there is no chance for us to learn Judo, Karate or Aikido. But if they were human beings and we train just as hard, long, and intelligently as they did, then we should be able to obtain the same or similar results.

The problem is that most people are not willing to make such a great effort.

A Sensei is a human being. If another human being does something, I should be able to do the same thing -- within limits. Obviously, I am not going to be able to jump up and dunk a ball like a 7 foot tall basketball player.

My Sensei is amazing. But the more I learn from him, the less I am amazed. This may sound strange to say.

When I first met him, I was amazed by everything that he did. That was because I did not understand anything that he did!

Over the years, as he has taught me and I have practiced, I have begun to realize what he was doing -- and how he was doing it. I am no longer amazed. He was not doing magic. He had learned how to move, had practiced, and thus could do it.

What he could do would only be amazing to someone who did not understand what he was doing, and the time and effort he had put into learning to do it.

Instead of being amazed, I am impressed (and grateful). I think that my Sensei is a Karate genius -- but still a human being.

If he is a god, then I have no chance. But if he is a human being, even a Karate genius, I might have a chance -- if I try hard enough, long enough, and smart enough.

We should not worship or pray to our Sensei. We should do our best to learn from them. What is required is hard work -- unlike the heavens, that is something within our own control.


Charles C. Goodin