Etiquette... How far do you carry training hall practices?

Zero

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Wait, you mean "Shihan" isn't his first name? For many I think it depends a bit on WHEN you met the person. Much like your fourth grade teacher will always be MRS. Grey, whereas you're college professor may very well be just "Rick"...
Agreed.

Also, do any of you have/had family friends (ie your folks' friends) who you, for heck knows why, called "Aunty Pam", "Uncle Rick" etc when young and it turned out they not your blood family? What do you do here? When you get older, ie into twenties or later etc it can be hard to figure out what to do here, are they just plain old "Rick" now, or do they keep the "made-up" uncle tag? For some weird reason, maybe I am not good with change, I feel more comfortable keeping to "uncle Rick", regardless of how they feel about it (they probably have no view at all).

Also, you know that old rule, "I" before "E" except after "C"? Why then is it the "e" before "i" in the word weird?

Are any of the above credible martial arts related questions?
 

lklawson

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A pianist can be a world class master at the keys but if he is your teacher you won't refer to him as "master". Maybe it does not mean they are "your master", just a "master" in that style
It's a title representative of a certain level of skill or achievement. It has it's roots in the European Guild structure. A craftsman, which was considered a physical "art," could achieve Master ranking.


If you are paying some guy to learn a skill, why the master thing? Seems odd to me.
Well, ask a Master Electrician or a Master Carpenter if having that "Master" thing on the resume gets them more money, benefits, and status. :)


Yes, thanks, with you on the titles used in other cultures/geographics. I fenced for a few years and never heard anyone actually refered to as "master" though in training.
You don't see it much in modern Olympic style fencing. It's still applicable, of course, but Coaching certifications or competitive ranking is more important in their organizations.

Dr Who dead, no way! There's always another regeneration.
The Master. Last I saw, he allowed himself to die and refused to regenerate in an act of defiance and revenge upon the Doctor. That was some years ago now, however.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Zero

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It's a title representative of a certain level of skill or achievement. It has it's roots in the European Guild structure. A craftsman, which was considered a physical "art," could achieve Master ranking.


Well, ask a Master Electrician or a Master Carpenter if having that "Master" thing on the resume gets them more money, benefits, and status. :)
Yes, that's fine but as of yet, I have never referred to a Master tradesman I have had working on my place as "Master"
and am sure you haven't either.

The Master. Last I saw, he allowed himself to die and refused to regenerate in an act of defiance and revenge upon the Doctor. That was some years ago now, however.
Sorry, I was being dim, yes - but I have a feeling you can't keep a "real" Master down for good...
 

lklawson

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Yes, that's fine but as of yet, I have never referred to a Master tradesman I have had working on my place as "Master"
and am sure you haven't either.
Nope. But remember your reference to pianists? It wasn't so long ago that the true greats were referred to as Maestro. Same for certain conductors. In opera, as I understand it, it's a title which is temporarily bestowed upon a person responsible for certain activities for that production but may pass to another for the next production.

but I have a feeling you can't keep a "real" Master down for good...
There are some villains you just can't kill. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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Nope. But remember your reference to pianists? It wasn't so long ago that the true greats were referred to as Maestro. Same for certain conductors. In opera, as I understand it, it's a title which is temporarily bestowed upon a person responsible for certain activities for that production but may pass to another for the next production.
(Is it OK to quote myself? ;))

Here's what I believe on the subject of whether or not it's douchey to use "Master."

Americans have a uniquely strong distaste for naming someone "Master." This stems dually from the somewhat-stronger-than-normal American dislike of elevating some one else over you in such an in-control way (implied) and also from America's history with slavery and the negative connotation that Master, within the slavery context, developed. Within the slavery context, it should be noted that slavery had always been a strong point of contention and disagreement since the inception of the United States. This doubtless gave the social revulsion to the title time to grow.

When we hear a Composer being called Maestro, that's OK. It's a foreign language. When we saw Kwai Chang Caine refer to that old blind dude as "Master," that was OK. It was the mysterious Chinese and therefore an external cultural context. When we hear a Juego Del Palo or Capoeira initiate referred to as Mestre, that's OK. Again, foreign language and external cultural context.

But when we draw it down into our own cultural context, things change. If we introduce a Master Carpenter, it's by his name. At the very most we might, as a very formal introduction, say at a black tie dinner, introduce him as Master Carpenter John Smith.

It "feels" OK to, when in public and away from the training hall, refer to our instructors as Sifu, Sensei, Mestre, etc. But not "Master." It raises our hackles. Well, our cultural context is different. Years ago, I dropped in to a local Tang Soo Do dojang. I'd trained in TSD many years prior. It was between classes and the dojang was empty. The proprietor ambled out and I stuck my hand out and said, "Hi, I'm Kirk." He shook my hand and said, "I'm Sabum."

Bull crap. I'm a visitor to his dojang, not one of his students. He's not MY "master." I remember it like it was yesterday. He spent some time trying to impress me with pictures of folks & him on his wall, a few of whom I'd trained with. I didn't tell him any of this. I just smiled, pretended I was impressed, and left, figuratively shaking the dust off of my feet as I made my egress.

Of course, this brings in the fact that we've somehow managed to misconstrue the original language usages for Sifu and Sensei. My Kindergarten daughter has a cute-as-a-button teacher who, every time I look at her, I think should be giggling about who's going to take her to Prom (she just looks that young). But in Japan she's a Sensei to my daughter. No biggie. Here? Biggie. Why? You know the answer. :)

Ah well. 'nuff ranting. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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Cirdan

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Wait, you mean "Shihan" isn't his first name? For many I think it depends a bit on WHEN you met the person. Much like your fourth grade teacher will always be MRS. Grey, whereas you're college professor may very well be just "Rick"...

Not really, outside of a formal situation I call everyone by their first name including my fourth grade teacher. Then again we are not big on titles around here so it is probably a cultural thing. I hear that for instance in Germany you should adress a person with two doctorates as Doctor Doctor rather than just Doctor.
 

Jaeimseu

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(Is it OK to quote myself? ;))

Here's what I believe on the subject of whether or not it's douchey to use "Master."

Americans have a uniquely strong distaste for naming someone "Master." This stems dually from the somewhat-stronger-than-normal American dislike of elevating some one else over you in such an in-control way (implied) and also from America's history with slavery and the negative connotation that Master, within the slavery context, developed. Within the slavery context, it should be noted that slavery had always been a strong point of contention and disagreement since the inception of the United States. This doubtless gave the social revulsion to the title time to grow.

When we hear a Composer being called Maestro, that's OK. It's a foreign language. When we saw Kwai Chang Caine refer to that old blind dude as "Master," that was OK. It was the mysterious Chinese and therefore an external cultural context. When we hear a Juego Del Palo or Capoeira initiate referred to as Mestre, that's OK. Again, foreign language and external cultural context.

But when we draw it down into our own cultural context, things change. If we introduce a Master Carpenter, it's by his name. At the very most we might, as a very formal introduction, say at a black tie dinner, introduce him as Master Carpenter John Smith.

It "feels" OK to, when in public and away from the training hall, refer to our instructors as Sifu, Sensei, Mestre, etc. But not "Master." It raises our hackles. Well, our cultural context is different. Years ago, I dropped in to a local Tang Soo Do dojang. I'd trained in TSD many years prior. It was between classes and the dojang was empty. The proprietor ambled out and I stuck my hand out and said, "Hi, I'm Kirk." He shook my hand and said, "I'm Sabum."

Bull crap. I'm a visitor to his dojang, not one of his students. He's not MY "master." I remember it like it was yesterday. He spent some time trying to impress me with pictures of folks & him on his wall, a few of whom I'd trained with. I didn't tell him any of this. I just smiled, pretended I was impressed, and left, figuratively shaking the dust off of my feet as I made my egress.

Of course, this brings in the fact that we've somehow managed to misconstrue the original language usages for Sifu and Sensei. My Kindergarten daughter has a cute-as-a-button teacher who, every time I look at her, I think should be giggling about who's going to take her to Prom (she just looks that young). But in Japan she's a Sensei to my daughter. No biggie. Here? Biggie. Why? You know the answer. :)

Ah well. 'nuff ranting. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

In my experience, many Americans (I am one) love to refer to themselves as Master (I don't introduce myself this way). And they get upset if they feel someone isn't giving them their due.

In Korea, these titles aren't much of a big deal. Nobody gets bent out of shape at calling someone "sabumnim," even if it's not YOUR sabumnim. Heck, my sabumnim addresses me as sabumnim because I am an instructor at his dojang. It doesn't imply that I am HIS teacher, only that I am A teacher. It's simply a matter of referring to people by titles instead of names. Like you said, it's cultural.

Sent from my SHV-E210K using Tapatalk 2
 

Koshiki

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Also, do any of you have/had family friends (ie your folks' friends) who you, for heck knows why, called "Aunty Pam", "Uncle Rick" etc when young and it turned out they not your blood family?

Yes. I've got a tiny family. There are nine people in this world, that I am knowingly related too. Thus, my "Uncle" Greg gets to remain "Uncle." It's mostly just a friendly thing. To consciously sever the "Uncle" is kind of like hinting at severing the implied family closeness. That said, I've seen the guy in person once since I was about 8... As far as martial arts relevance, well, let's call it a metaphor. For... Something...

Interesting, thanks. Maybe the title Master is simply then meant to imply the mastery of one's skill set, rather than actual mastership over their students or those with lesser skills in that field?

Generally speaking, I hope so. Then again, I don't really know personally any martial artists who use the English term "master," so what do I know? As Kirk says, it's a pretty touchy word in the USA. We have a great deal of relatively recent, extremely unpleasant, and not entirely resolved history that opens up a fair few touchy buts of verbiage.

...America's history with slavery and the negative connotation that Master, within the slavery context, developed. Within the slavery context, it should be noted that slavery had always been a strong point of contention and disagreement since the inception of the United States. This doubtless gave the social revulsion to the title time to grow.

Titles in general, though, don't bother me, except when they are INSISTED on. Then it gets kind of presumptuous. There's a pretty vague area, though. I can see, for example, someone not wanting all his student's calling him "Smitty" all the time out of class. It can smack of disrespect to use nicknames for someone, when they haven't been approve. That said, it doesn't necessarily follow that he must always and in all places be referred to as Kwan Jang Nim either.

In my opinion, martial arts instructors should be afforded the same level of respect and/or informality that you would afford any other acquaintance or friend with whom you have a similar level of familiarity. In other words, if he wasn't your sifu/shihan/sensei/soke/renshi/sabumnim/etc. what would you do?
 

Hyoho

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I practice Ogasawara reiho because our founder and his son were retainers. The Ogasawara Kaikan is in Kokura. Is it part of our teaching in the Ryu? No, it goes along side of it. We do it because if we are not polite to each other in what we do becomes barbaric.

The funny side is I taught etiquette to Japanese children as a guidance councillor. But nowadays most can't sit in seiza for more than ten minutes.

As mentioned its a cultural thing. I always bow to Japanese seniors on the phone but never to Westerners.If someone tries to hug me I bow.......then I hug.
 

Zero

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As mentioned its a cultural thing. I always bow to Japanese seniors on the phone but never to Westerners.If someone tries to hug me I bow.......then I hug.

Huh, wait up - you bow to Japense seniors on the phone? Is it so automatic that you bow to someone on the other end of a phone line who can't see you? Is that normal over there? I can see all these Japanese workers in rows of office cubicles bowing while on the phone.
 

Hyoho

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Lol yes bowing on the phone is a funny habit. But there are degrees as to how much you bow. The older and more senior the lesser the degree. That is except old ladies. Feeling indebted to everyone they go s I can't get down there.

Technically we should exhale on bowing, take a short breath and exhale upon rising. Its interesting for me to do the "Look at the opponent and just touch the ground with one thumb" when doing Embu.

Everyone should be aware that JPN politeness can be way over the top. They say, 'Excuse me' (sumimasen) so many times it has little meaning. Sensei is also an over rated word. Everyone that has something to teach you is Sensei
 
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jks9199

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And my cow-orkers will snicker and rag on me a little bit when we go into the conference room and I bow as I come through the door.

See -- to me, that's a bad habit. You're not being aware of where you are and what's going on. This is coming out harsher than I intend, and I'm being lazy about finding a better way to say it, so bear with me, please.

You've developed a habit of bowing as you enter places because you bow into the training floor. That's great; it's a physical, cognitive reminder of where you are. I liken it to blessing myself with holy water as I enter the church. That's great -- and makes sense that way. It's a break from the everyday world. But, then you carry it with you into other places... so what other unthinking training floor practices might you bring to the regular world? Will you bow to someone who's about to hit you? Hand your attacker's weapon back to them after you disarm them? I try to teach my students to be aware of and act according to the environment, and not carry habits that are appropriate to one into another.

It's funny; we see this about martial arts a lot and try to argue that it's not odd, but not too many other activities. What would say if you had a coworker who was an avid actor who literally took a bow after every speech or presentation? Or someone big into the SCA/Renaissance re-enacting who began to speak in Elizabethan all the time? When I was a kid, we went to an historic site, and they had people in costume there who stayed in character. I remember one who was amazed by the silver goose flying overhead (a jet), and pretended never to have heard of cars or tv... (Yeah, being typical 10 to 14 year olds, we tried really hard to get him out of character!) What would his family have thought if he came home and tried to put wood in the pot tray under the oven to heat it?
 

chrispillertkd

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Dojo etiquette stays in the Dojo where it belongs. Calling someone sensei in the street would be ridicolous, even insulting.

I don't studying Japanese Martial Arts so I am a bit confused. Why would referring to someone as "sensei" (who is, I presume, your sensei) be an insult if it is done outside of class?

Pax,

Chris
 

Cirdan

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I don't studying Japanese Martial Arts so I am a bit confused. Why would referring to someone as "sensei" (who is, I presume, your sensei) be an insult if it is done outside of class?

Pax,

Chris

It would be exaggerated politeness and hinting at sarcasm. Titles and such are generally not used outside a formal situation here and people who insist to be adressed in such a way are seen as too full of themselves.
 

chrispillertkd

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It would be exaggerated politeness and hinting at sarcasm. Titles and such are generally not used outside a formal situation here and people who insist to be adressed in such a way are seen as too full of themselves.

How strange coming from an American background. We pride ourselves on being egalitarian over here and yet using a professional title isn't considered rude or sarcastic at all. The only doctors I know, for instance, that I don't refer to as "Doctor" whoever when I talk to them are a few close friends. But I always introduce them to others as "Doctor" and then their last name.

Pax,

Chris
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I don't studying Japanese Martial Arts so I am a bit confused. Why would referring to someone as "sensei" (who is, I presume, your sensei) be an insult if it is done outside of class?

Pax,

Chris
I'm with you, and I do study Japanese martial arts. It would be ridiculous if someone insisted on being called sensei (or shihan, sabeom, sifu, guru, etc.) outside of the studio.

I agree with Cirdan that it should stay in the dojo; mixing foreign/dojo/studio etiquette into domestic/everyday interractions can be problematic, and because sensei, sabeom, sifu, etc. are not traditional western honorifics, they seem odd and stick out. Kind of like placing the word, "Sir" in front of a person's name (like 'Sir Lancelot'). In the US, officer, seargant, doctor and professor are familiar and their context is not in question. Sensei essentially would be 'teacher' or 'professor,' or maybe 'coach.' But teacher is not generally used as an honorific (Teacher Smith), and few MA instructors that I know of introduce themselves as 'Professor Smith.' And even fewer would want to be called 'coach' as there are already divisions between sport and non sport in the martial arts.

But a student who addresses his/her sensei as sensei outside of class isn't being ridiculous or even insulting. For most students, their main or only interaction with sensei/sifu/other honorific is in their role as an instructor.

I have asked my students to just address me as Daniel or Mister Sullivan outside of class, as I do see a good number of them in a non MA capacity, and I think that on the part of the sensei, to ask them to do otherwise would be inappropriate. That, and outside of class, I'm not an authority figure.
 

WaterGal

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In Korea, these titles aren't much of a big deal. Nobody gets bent out of shape at calling someone "sabumnim," even if it's not YOUR sabumnim. Heck, my sabumnim addresses me as sabumnim because I am an instructor at his dojang. It doesn't imply that I am HIS teacher, only that I am A teacher. It's simply a matter of referring to people by titles instead of names. Like you said, it's cultural.

While I've never been to Korea, I get this impression from Koreans I've known in the US. My fiance is one of GM's closest friends, and he still will refer to him as "Master (his last name)" half the time, even if he's calling to invite us to dinner. It cracks me up a little every time.
 
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jks9199

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I

But a student who addresses his/her sensei as sensei outside of class isn't being ridiculous or even insulting. For most students, their main or only interaction with sensei/sifu/other honorific is in their role as an instructor.

Just curious... I understand that the word "sensei" in Japanese culture is much more like "teacher" than a title, and that, for example, the teacher in a language class is "sensei" there, or a tea ceremony instructor would be "sensei" there, just like the karate instructor is "sensei" in the dojo. Is the same word used to describe them outside of class, like "Mister X is my karate sensei", or is there a different term to describe them in the third person?
 

Cirdan

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How strange coming from an American background. We pride ourselves on being egalitarian over here and yet using a professional title isn't considered rude or sarcastic at all. The only doctors I know, for instance, that I don't refer to as "Doctor" whoever when I talk to them are a few close friends. But I always introduce them to others as "Doctor" and then their last name.

Pax,

Chris

Different cultures I suppose, I haven`t been to the states but we are certainly more informal in Norway than many other european countries. For instance I would never introduce a friend with a doctorate by his title unless it was very relevant to the setting, and even then probably as "firstname lastname, doctor in the field of X". Even in most dojos I`ve been sensei is not used 99% of the time, 1% being situations where a bit more formality is called for like when you teach a group of fresh beginners and keep a bit more focus on who`s who.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Just curious... I understand that the word "sensei" in Japanese culture is much more like "teacher" than a title, and that, for example, the teacher in a language class is "sensei" there, or a tea ceremony instructor would be "sensei" there, just like the karate instructor is "sensei" in the dojo. Is the same word used to describe them outside of class, like "Mister X is my karate sensei", or is there a different term to describe them in the third person?
I would assume. In western countries, refering to someone in the third person as your karate sensei is appropriate. I think addressing them as sensei outside of the dojo is what sticks out.

I suspect that in Japan, sensei are addressed as such outside of their chosen place of practice, but sensei is a normative honorific in Japan. I suspect that in Japan, addressing someone with the English honorific of "sir" or "maam" in normal conversation would also stick out. It isn't insulting or ridiculous, and I suspect that many would at least be familiar with the words (most everyone in the US has heard the word, "sensei" and could use it in context), but Japanese already has honorifics that serve the purpose.
 
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