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"Sensei"

When my friend and senior, Sensei Pat Nakata, calls me, he says, "Sensei, this is Pat."

I reply, "Hi Sensei, how are you?"

I never call him "Pat" (it is even hard to write this) and he never calls me "Charles". This is also the way that Nakata Sensei addresses other Sensei. So if there are several of us present, it can become confusing if you were just listening to the conversation. But from the body language and eye contact, you could easily tell who was addressing who.

There is a little difference that would be hard to observe, but you still could if you were alert to it. When I address Nakata Sensei, I say, "Sensei." When I address someone my age, I say "Sensei." It is not the volume or tone of voice, it is just a subtle thing. When Nakata Sensei and I address our friend and senior, Sensei Bobby Lowe, we say "Sensei." (In this regard, the way we say this would differ in that I am younger and less mature in Karate than Nakata Sensei -- but we both hold Lowe Sensei in high regard.) (For people on Facebook, I size of the word Sensei has changed, grown larger the more senior the Sensei is. I am not sure if this will be picked up in Facebook from the original Blogger post -- CCG)

Again, it sounds exactly the same. But there is a difference.

And none of the Sensei I know would ever refer to themselves as such.

Do you notice that I close these posts with my name alone, not with any titles? If I wrote "Sensei Charles C. Goodin" I would probably hear it from my senior friends! I would seem so full of myself.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin