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Being Contacted & Titles

Sometimes I am contacted by the student of a senior instructor who is making an inquiry on his instructor's behalf. Generally, I do not like to deal with students because I feel that an instructor can contact me directly. Of course, if there is a language issue I would understand.

But what gets me is that sometimes the student is so full of titles when referring to his instructor. It is almost like the instructor has taken on superhuman status. The student might refer to his "grandmaster," or "hanshi," or "soke," or "supreme grandmaster, soke, hanshi, 10th dan, great light unto the world."

It really gets me.

When I hear about Anko Itosu, I always hear him referred to as "Itosu Sensei." I have even heard of Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-Ryu, referred to as "Chojun Sensei." Have you ever heard of Sokon Matsumura referred to as "Grandmaster"?

Why is it that living people covet such titles, and why is that students take such titles so seriously? Perhaps the instructor forces to the students to use the titles, or else!

We all live, get old, get sick, have jobs, have parents, have children, etc. We are all people. Karate training should help up to become our best. Titles are unnecessary for a real instructor and not helpful for a poor or fake one.

I feel that we should not show more respect to our instructors than we show to our own parents. This does not mean that we should not show respect to our instructors, not at all. It just means that we should keep it real.


Charles C. Goodin