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Guest Post: Domo Arigato Gozaimasu, Sensei

This Guest Post is by one of the adult students in our dojo (Hikari Dojo), Peerawut Kamlang-ek. He has trained with us for about a year and a half.

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Domo Arigato Gozaimasu, Sensei

I believe that many Karate students like their Sensei not only because their Sensei is skilled, but because their Sensei is also courteous and respectful to them.

Our Sensei always ends his emails with something like this:
“Thank you very much for your support of our dojo. Please train hard and try your best.


Sensei always says “thank you” to us. I am already in awe by Sensei’s character because he is always polite, courteous, and is a great husband and father. Therefore, when he continues to verbally say “thank you” over and over to us students, I am even more impressed! Sensei always thanks us for coming to class, thanks us when we clean... come to think of it, he literally thanks us for every good thing we do!

I sometimes ponder to myself, “Shouldn’t I be the one telling Sensei thank you for accepting me as I am?” or “Shouldn’t we be saying thank you to Sensei for teaching us Karate while giving advice on refining our character?” (Character is first, second, and third in Karate. Please see http://karatejutsu.blogspot.com/2006/04/character-1-2-3.html ). Yet, I often hear Sensei say “thank you” to us more than we do to him.

If you read this far into my writing you might be thinking, “People thank each other all the time, is this worth writing about?”, “You sound a little biased, son”, or “He is just bragging about his Sensei, big deal!”

I beg to differ.

How many times have you encountered a boss who never showed any appreciation towards his employees, yet demandingly wave his finger and expects people to willingly perform a task? How many times have you seen people who are put into a leadership position and end up treating other people like they own them, instead of encouraging them? Better yet, how many times have you heard the word “thank you” as a counterfeit instead of a genuine gesture?

I could honestly tell you that I’ve seen/heard countless examples of a power trip and lack of appreciation for people’s efforts.

I believe that it is one issue to be new to a leadership position and not know where to start, as long as the person has good intentions, is willing to grow, and continues to develop himself. I was definitely the biggest rookie the first time I was put into a leadership position as a young service member and I am still working to strengthen my leadership traits. However, I am sure that most people would agree that it can be demoralizing to not receive any appreciation from your employer.

Therefore, if you encounter such misfortunes at your job or are involved with a Sensei that puts you down, what are you going to do? Even worse, if your friends, siblings, or loved ones were unfortunate to be around such people, what are you going to say?

I would politely resign and stay away from such people.

Even though a person should strive to be better despite circumstances, there should be no point in creating unnecessary obstacles by staying in a place where self improvement and development are ultimately restricted. I am sure that there are other Sensei and employers who are willing to treat you with respect and expand on your skills.

In our dojo, some of the students in our class (including me) might not verbally express our thankfulness as much as our Sensei does to us. But I believe that everyone of us who are still around thank him in other ways such as trying our best in class (in daily life also), helping out other students, and refining our character with the goal of becoming better than yesterday.

We all must show our appreciation to our Sensei and seniors in our own way, just like we show our appreciation to our parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones.

Have you recently shown your appreciation towards your Sensei and seniors in your own way?


Peerawut Kamlang-ek