Updated: Jan 26, 2021
By Bob Dagleish
The relationship of a Sensei to the dojo is very difficult to define, as it encompasses many varying aspects of life. The Sensei must flow through the student in many levels of communication and reach to the far corners of a student’s life. A sensei is sometimes a father and also at times, even a mother, an advisor, chastiser. A Sensei, though different, is the same as everyone else. He is human in a controlled way and deserves respect for he has traveled along upon the Do (way).
A Sensei should be a good teacher by conveying at the correct time the appropriate knowledge in the best possible way and manner to the student and must be able to see the student and their problems as they never can-impartiality. A Sensei shows no favor, indeed a progression is attained, he becomes harder on those that progress. He is kind but firm to the beginner on the path.
A Sensei advises, in an appropriate manner, in the inner spiritual aspects of the art and always with a friendly ear, who listens properly as they tend to categorize him into either a teacher or a friend. He is neither, but both and more. He sees a student in a free way, unmoved by external face or appearance and helps in the best way befitting a student. If this is to be hard, he is so, to be soft, and then he is so. But always in the best manner for the student, for the sensei’s heart is forever with them.
Often a Sensei will put forth untruths to see if they are accepted, say nothing when he could speak volumes. He is king when there is no apparent reason. He may be tyrannous or compassionate, but through all these externals, his heart is still for them. He listens when they speak but can see the inner reasons for their speech: he is unmoved but can move. The sensei is forever active, even in a subdued way. He gives while others take and asks no rewards save proficiency of mind and body. He is sad, sometimes happy, let down and often abused, but forever holds to the way, for that is his life.
Though outsides may change, the Sensei does not, though he can adapt at will. The inward ideals and principles are always there. He persists when there is no apparent reason. That is why he is a Sensei. On average, it takes 2,000 students to produce one worthwhile Sensei.
If you have one, take care of him.
By Bob Dalgleish
Founder of Canada Goju
“The only place where success comes before work is in a dictionary.”