That Little “Sensei Voice”

As a Sensei, how do you know that you are doing your job?

Do you have a school with the most membership in town? Do you churn out one black belt after another to the point that you even have a “Black Belt Club”? Do your students win first place or second place trophies every single tournament you go to? Do you take those trophies and display them proudly in the front window of your school so that the public can walk by and view them in awe? Do you have nationally recognized programs in place in your school who’s founders have certified you to teach whatever class you are specializing in so you look better than the other guys in town?

We do a lot of things for the community at the dojo. One of the things I have a great deal of pride in (I am very proud of them all) is our free Women’s Self Defense Seminars. I also teach the very same no-nonsense common sense techniques to my students.
Last night we had a special class on self- defense due to events that had happened in our small town recently. After class was over one of my adult students was chatting with me about the class and things she had learned from me. At one point she said,

“You know these days every single time I pull into a parking lot of a store or grocer I hear “that little Sensei voice” in the back of my head and I remember every single thing that you have taught me about avoidance being the first line of defending yourself”.

In my last post here on the blog I went into how much that karate was NOT just about punching, kicking, fighting, and defending one’s self. I said something about how a person who has been taking classes for a while sees things just a bit differently than other people. They are just a little more aware of their surroundings.

When my student told me this I had to smile inside just a little bit. THAT is how you know you are doing your job as a Sensei!

  1. October 18, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Sensei, just curious…. when did you begin liking the martial arts? Did it have to do with your job?

  2. October 18, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Hi Ren

    No, although it has been useful in my job on several occasions that wasn’t the reason I started.

    I began in the martial arts when I was about 16. Back then I had a huge temper and a short fuse. Part of being Irish I guess. My grandparents didn’t know what to do with me. It just so happened my grandfather knew a Korean man in town who’s son-in-law ran a Tae Kwon Do school. He talked him into putting me in classes and I worked at the dojang to pay for them. Keeping a place clean while others practice has a way of teaching one humility.

    I drifted through a lot of styles over my life. In the early 80’s I started Tae Kwon Do again. I went on to study Aikido and Hap Ki Dp while I was working at Leavenworth. I did some Ninjitsu before that in Mobile AL. Don’t think it was legit but…

    When i moved to CO I wanted / needed to get back into something. I wasn’t as young as I used to be and had an injury with my back. I did a little Kung Fu then moved on to both American and Chinese forms of Kempo.

    In 1996 I met my first Sensei in Shito-Ryu. He also taught jujitsu (a Japanese form NOT the MMA stuff) and did some Iaito (The Art Of Drawing The Sword). I have been with Shito-Ryu ever since.

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