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

lklawson

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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.
Similarly, it's common for school kids to refer to their teacher as Mr., Miss, or Mrs. So-n-so, even in social contexts. "Dad, this is Miss Looks-to-young-to-be-a-teacher. She's my teacher." (Maybe I'm getting old.)

When I went to school Parent-Teacher conferences, I used to ask the teacher to refer to me by my given name, all friendly-like. I eventually gave up when I realized that the poor teacher was meeting dozens of parents and they only know the kid. "Mr. Lawson" is a polite way of saying "Christophers' Dad who I don't want to have to memorize his first name too" ...only shorter.

Now if I have to call the school to pick the kid up, I'll ID myself as something along the lines of, "This is Mr. Lawson, Christopher Lawson's father." In this case, "Mr." is less of an honorific and more of a way of being polite without requiring people to memorize crap (my name) that they don't care about and don't need anyway. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Daniel Sullivan

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This brings up another difference; we don't refer to our school teachers and instructors as "Teacher Smith" but as mister, miss, or mrs. Coaches are addressed as "Coach Smith" or just "Coach," but from what I've seen, MA instructors consider being compared to a coach to be demeaning. I've actually seen one classical fencing maestro use the term as a pejorative.

Look at all of the sport vs. art debates; people will jump through hoops and do incredible mental gymnastics to demonstrate that they aren't "sport," often without really having a clear understanding of the word's meaning. And the more supposedly traditional or self defense focused they are, the more they dislike anything that might associate them with the dreaded term, sport.
 

lklawson

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Coaches are addressed as "Coach Smith" or just "Coach," but from what I've seen, MA instructors consider being compared to a coach to be demeaning.
Maybe it does go back to ego. :(

I've actually seen one classical fencing maestro use the term as a pejorative.
Weird. But I can totally see it happening from a few. I've known a lot of classical fencers who started off in the olympic fencing world and either are coaches themselves or came through the ranks of them. I know one Maestro who once told me that Foil is foundational for many of the classical fencing arts. But, yeah, I know a few who might have similar, less than high, feelings about the term "coach."

In some ways, I consider myself to be very lucky. I have a close association with both sport and classical fencing because of my martial arts, but, outside of bowie knife and singlestick, I'm not really a part of it. I'm close enough that I can see without being smack dab in the middle of it.

Look at all of the sport vs. art debates; people will jump through hoops and do incredible mental gymnastics to demonstrate that they aren't "sport," often without really having a clear understanding of the word's meaning. And the more supposedly traditional or self defense focused they are, the more they dislike anything that might associate them with the dreaded term, sport.
Weird, isn't it.

I have one friend, fairly accomplished in his own right as a fighter, who once told me "I don't believe in Martial Arts." He teaches WMA, Boxing, a bit of Sambo, a lot of other stuff, and has a FMA background. It was his way of expressing the K.I.S.S. principle, a preference for practicality in the arts, and eschewing the rampant egotism.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Zero

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Different cultures I suppose, 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.
That's interesting, what do you call them (the head of the style/dojo) then in the dojo? Do you say, "hey Joe, how do you do that reverse shoulder lock", or is it "hey, Mr/Mrs..."?
Do you Norwegians bow when you enter the dojo? Or is it just titles/on a personal level that does not sit with your culture?
 

Tony Dismukes

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This brings up another difference; we don't refer to our school teachers and instructors as "Teacher Smith" but as mister, miss, or mrs. Coaches are addressed as "Coach Smith" or just "Coach," but from what I've seen, MA instructors consider being compared to a coach to be demeaning. I've actually seen one classical fencing maestro use the term as a pejorative.

Look at all of the sport vs. art debates; people will jump through hoops and do incredible mental gymnastics to demonstrate that they aren't "sport," often without really having a clear understanding of the word's meaning. And the more supposedly traditional or self defense focused they are, the more they dislike anything that might associate them with the dreaded term, sport.

At my gym (BJJ/Boxing/Muay Thai/MMA) the instructors are generally referred to as "coach" if any honorific at all is used. Even though the classes I teach are geared towards self-defense, I kind of like it. The implication isn't that I'm always tougher or more knowledgeable than my students - just that I know how to guide them to become better at what they are practicing.
 

Carol

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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?


It roughly translates more to "one who has gone before". Its used for all teachers but its also used for people of significant professional accomplishment, such as a doctor or attorney.

Its the same term when used in the 3rd person.

Anata no karate no sensei wa dare desu ka? -- Who is your karate teacher?
 

Cirdan

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That's interesting, what do you call them (the head of the style/dojo) then in the dojo? Do you say, "hey Joe, how do you do that reverse shoulder lock", or is it "hey, Mr/Mrs..."?
Do you Norwegians bow when you enter the dojo? Or is it just titles/on a personal level that does not sit with your culture?

We would definately use "hey Joe, how do you do that reverse shoulder lock", mr/mrs don`t see much use if any. Bowing when entering/leaving and at other times is strictly observed, however we always make sure new students know why we do this. I guess the way we do things in Norway boils down to "we care more about what you can do than your fancy title and how does this thing actually work?".
 

Zero

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We would definately use "hey Joe, how do you do that reverse shoulder lock", mr/mrs don`t see much use if any. Bowing when entering/leaving and at other times is strictly observed, however we always make sure new students know why we do this. I guess the way we do things in Norway boils down to "we care more about what you can do than your fancy title and how does this thing actually work?".

Makes sense.
Not meaning to cause offense but sounds a lot like the approach of my Finnish friends (I don't know any Norwegians). They are very to the point - they are not, but can come across as, rude to other cultures (even Western ones) at first. The first time my Finnish mate was on business in the States he got into an elevator and a guy he didn't know asked him "how are you?". This momentarily confused my Finnish mate, as he was like, who are you, do you know me, if not, why do you want to know how I'm doing?

On another note, having been there several times now, MAs seems to slowly be getting popular in Finland, a lot of TKD and Korean styles (I didn't see any karate as such) and they are quite into MMA too. Of course that all takes a back seat to the ice hockey
 

Daniel Sullivan

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We would definately use "hey Joe, how do you do that reverse shoulder lock", mr/mrs don`t see much use if any. Bowing when entering/leaving and at other times is strictly observed, however we always make sure new students know why we do this. I guess the way we do things in Norway boils down to "we care more about what you can do than your fancy title and how does this thing actually work?".

Outside of the martial arts and a few other specialized settings, we don't get hung up on fancy titles here either. Mr., Miss, and Mrs., sir and maam are about as formal as most of us get.
 
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