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Why I Sweep

Continuing on the subject of Dojo Cleaning, some people have written to me, mentioning the situation where the junior students will go up and take the broom from a senior or Sensei who is sweeping. This is pretty common in Karate and other martial arts dojo. Sometimes you will see a progression: A 5th dan will take the broom from the Sensei; a 3rd dan will take the broom from the 5th dan; a shodan will take the broom from the 3rd dan; a green belt will take the broom from the shodan; and so on.

In our dojo, students will generally come try to take the broom from me if I am sweeping. Usually, I will decline because sweeping is part of my training too. The students should go find something else to do to help clean the dojo. If they take my broom, what will I do -- stand there and watch them? No, I will go clean something else. So I might as well finish my job (and my training).

To me, there is no seniority to cleaning, just like there is no seniority to working on yourself.

Students should realize that although I am an instructor, I am still a student and am constantly working on myself. And when I stay that I am still a student, this is not just because I have two living Sensei -- it is because every instructor is still and will always be a student. There is no end to learning and training.

Sweep, sweep, sweep.


Charles C. Goodin