“Why your sensei deserves your respect”
Respect. You’ve heard that word used so many times, from a young age all throughout your life. Respect your elders. Respect your parents. Respect your teachers. Respect the police. Respect your boss. Your schoolmates, your coworkers, your friends and strangers alike. Respect is something we should all give and get… if earned and deserved. We all know, or should know, what respect means, so my goal here is not to define respect, but to define why your sensei, in any martial art, deserves your respect on the mat while you are being taught. The following is a list of points to ponder next time you’re in the dojo.
– For every hour of class you spend on the mat… your sensei has spent thousands.
– For every push-up and sit-up your sensei makes you do… your sensei has done thousands… and then thousands more.
– For every drop of sweat that forms on your brow… your sensei has sweated rivers.
– For every bruise you get on your body, every black eye and busted lip… your sensei has been blackened and blued and cut uncountable times.
– For every drop of blood you lose… your sensei has shed pints.
-For every sprained ankle and wrist you received, every pulled muscle… your sensei has had dozens.
– For every accidental, unintentional fist/elbow/knee/foot that has injured you enough that you’ve had to miss the next class… your sensei has missed weeks if not months of class time.
– For every bad throw or take down you’ve had to take as an Uke from a less experienced Tori… your sensei has taken thousands.
– For every ruined training shirt you’ve had to throw out due to rips, holes, blood and sweat stains, your sensei has thrown out a wardrobe.
– For every time your sensei makes you repeat a technique you just got perfect… your sensei has repeated it perfectly hundreds of time… a year. And after he’s done it perfectly hundreds of times, he does it another hundred looking for ways to perfect it even more.
– For every time you’ve tried a technique and failed… your sensei has tried and failed. But he never stopped trying.
Senseis have devoted immeasurable hours of their time in learning and perfecting their martial art at great personal sacrifice in order to pass it on to you. Your blood, sweat and tears has been their blood, sweat and tears for years. Your triumphs have been their triumphs, your failures have been their failures too. And though there are those senseis out there that run their dojos as strictly money making businesses, there are many, many senseis that do it strictly for the love of their art and the need and desire to impart their knowledge to others. Voluntarily and unpaid, the smile and look of pride and accomplishment on their students faces as they receive a stripe or new belt being all the reward they want, or need. Their only goal to train and inspire the next generation of senseis that will hopefully someday continue that selfless transfer of knowledge. That, in my books, deserves your, and my full respect.