The relationship of a Sensei to the dojo is very difficult to define as it encompasses many aspects of life. The character of the Sensei must flow through the student at many levels and reach to the far corners of the student’s life. A Sensei is sometimes a parent figure, and may advise, or even chastise students. A Sensei, though unique, is similar to everyone else. They are human beings who deserve special respect for they have traveled long upon the Do (the way).

The Sensei is an excellent teacher who conveys, at the correct time, the proper knowledge, in the best possible way and manner to the students, and sees students and their problems as they themselves rarely do – impartially. The Sensei shows no favour, indeed, as students progress, the Sensei may become harder on them. A Sensei is kind but firm with beginners on the path.

The Sensei advises, in an appropriate manner, on the inner spiritual aspects of the art, and always lends a friendly ear to listen carefully. Although students may categorize the Sensei as either teacher or friend, the Sensei is neither, yet both and more. A Sensei views the student with an open mind, unmoved by appearances and helps in the way best suited to the student. If this means being harder gentle, then the Sensei is so. However, it is always in the best manner for the students, for the Sensei’s heart is forever with them.

Often a Sensei may test students by taking views diametrically opposed to them in order to study their reactions. The Sensei will put forth untruths to see if they are accepted, or say nothing when volumes could be spoken. Silence is often the best form of praise that a Sensei will give to students. The Sensei will note what affects the students in and out of the dojo, how they act toward friends, family, and work, and will work with the students accordingly.

Although they can adapt at will, the Sensei does not change even though outsiders may, as in word ideals and principles remain intact at all times. They persist when there is no apparent reason, give while others take, and ask for no rewards save that of proficiency of mind and body. They forever hold to the way for that is their life. That is why they are Sensei.

Typically, it takes the experience of teaching thousands of students to produce a worthwhile Sensei. Having one is worth taking care of.


that we bow before Our SENSEIS.

adapted from the writngs of  B. DALGLIE…