Is there such a thing as too much respect?

Ronin74

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I'm not talking about giving someone credit where it isn't due, but good old fashioned respect for other martial arts practitioners, particularly other instructors.

I've got a lot of friends who practice other martial arts, and when I've been introduced to their instructors, I'd always refer to them as they were introduced to me with their titles, such as "master", "professor", "mestre", "sifu", etc. Granted that they were my friends' instructors, and not mine, I still felt that it was the respectable thing to do.

In contrast, I've had friends outside of martial arts who say that they'd never do that because that person never taught them anything. Am I going overboard with the respect thing?
 

Ironcrane

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Doesn't sound overboard to me. In more formal schools it seems like it would be a pretty good idea.
 

seasoned

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I'm not talking about giving someone credit where it isn't due, but good old fashioned respect for other martial arts practitioners, particularly other instructors.

I've got a lot of friends who practice other martial arts, and when I've been introduced to their instructors, I'd always refer to them as they were introduced to me with their titles, such as "master", "professor", "mestre", "sifu", etc. Granted that they were my friends' instructors, and not mine, I still felt that it was the respectable thing to do.

In contrast, I've had friends outside of martial arts who say that they'd never do that because that person never taught them anything. Am I going overboard with the respect thing?

Lets say I meet someone outside of martial arts, and they are introduced to me as Professor Jones. If this was the way I was introduced, then, this is the way I will refer to them, until told otherwise. In martial arts, a title earned is a title respected, so the same should hold true.
 

Bruno@MT

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Lets say I meet someone outside of martial arts, and they are introduced to me as Professor Jones. If this was the way I was introduced, then, this is the way I will refer to them, until told otherwise. In martial arts, a title earned is a title respected, so the same should hold true.

Unless I address someone in a matter related to their title, or unless they are acting in a matter related to their title, I use their name. On the mat I address my sensei as sensei. Off the mat I call him by his first name.
People are still people.
 

Nomad

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For instructors of other dojos (visitors, guests, etc), I will default to "sir", which is polite and "neutral". If they have a title, I'm happy to use it when referring to them to a third party (ie. [Last name] Sensei is coming to visit), though I'd be more reluctant using the same term to address them directly, for the simple reason that they are not my direct teachers (not my Sensei, for example).

In short, no I don't think you're giving too much respect. I would always prefer to be too polite rather than be considered rude. For example, we've been told on occasion not to refer to someone by the honorific and just use their name... our usual answer is "Thank you, sir!" (but not actually using the name...)

The funniest example was my daughter visiting a friend's (considerably less formal) dojo, where she kept saying "Yes, sir!" when a comment was given or she was addressed. When the instructor told her to relax, her answer was again "Thank you, sir". I think the instructor was a little confused, but when she brought him water after the class, he decided he wanted to keep her. ;)
 

JadeDragon3

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I refer to people the way I was introduced to them. Now on the other hand with my teacher I will call him sometimes by his first name or I will call him sifu outside of class but always sifu while in class. I have a real close relationship with my teacher. We will hang out outside of class. If I were to call him sifu in front of non-martial artist they would look at us all crazy. :)
 

HeisaaReborn

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I end up in social situations with many masters and I am of junior rank due to my husband. It never fails that I always get atleast one master that looks at me and says "So...[first name] when are you going to call me...[first name]" It floors me everytime happens. :eek:

So I usually do the same thing I do with elderly people (not saying all masters are old - just life experienced) I call them by title until they tell otherwise. They are my seniors and they are owed that respect until they do something to prove otherwise and then it is still not my place as a kyu to judge them but yet to take it to my master.

Budo,
 

Sukerkin

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So I usually do the same thing I do with elderly people (not saying all masters are old - just life experienced) I call them by title until they tell otherwise. They are my seniors and they are owed that respect until they do something to prove otherwise

Exactly so.
 

Bill Mattocks

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There is a difference between respect and politeness.

Politeness is how you act towards a person. Respect is how you feel towards them.

Being polite can require one to grit one's teeth and use forms of address and other actions that one might not otherwise feel inclined to offer. But one does it because of whom one is, not the person to whom one is offering politeness to.

Respect is how you feel inside. Feelings, like opinions, vary - and everyone is entitled to their own.

Gichin Funakoshi said that "Karate begins and ends with politeness."
 

Sukerkin

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Aye, there is that difference to consider too.

Indeed, this not being the first time this topic has been around the track, it is par for the course for the discussion to eventually boil down to the correspondants paring finer and finer distinctions of that core dichotomy between politeness and respect.

I do think tho' that the OP is more focussed on what might be termed the overt signs of formality and 'respect' - after all, how can you truly respect someone you've just met when you know nothing about them at all?
 

Bill Mattocks

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Well, then, let me say this. Public courtesy offered is still a reflection on oneself.

In my humble opinion, I do not make a lesser person of one whom I publicly insult by refusing to honor a requested form of address. It do make a lesser person of myself, as it reflects badly on my own training, and shows disrespect to my teachers and dishonors my martial arts heritage. Lack of courtesy is a form of confrontation and encourages enmity, which my art (karate) aims to avoid. The empty hand, the peaceful heart. The true warrior does not provoke confrontation.

I do not always succeed at this. In fact, it is a great weakness of mine, which I seek to overcome.
 

Shinobi Teikiatsu

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In my dojo, I have always referred to my instructor as "sensei" despite other students who call him "pastor" in class (this being because he IS in fact their pastor, however, as far as I'm concerned, when you're in the dojo call him sensei, when you're in the church, call him pastor). I have, on occassion, had to remind my mother and friends that he is always sensei to me (because in conversation I refer to him simply as sensei and they are confused by who I mean, so I then refer to him as "Sensei <last name>"

The same goes for my sempai. When we started training, I called him by his first name but, when he was promoted to sempai, that's what I started calling him, and now call him by that exclusively.

I guess I'm stuck on respectfulness like that, but I don't think I over do it.
 

Bruno@MT

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The mere fact of calling someone by his first name outside of dojo is not a sign of disrespect.
People are still people. My sensei is a normal human being, just like me. He has a girlfriend, a job, hobbies, and all the other things that make him a human being.

So outside the setting where the martial arts aspect determines our interaction, he is a normal person.

I respect my sensei. But I do not worship him or place him on a pedestal. People acting normal towards other people is what keeps people sane.
If people treated actors like regular people, they wouldn't turn into celebreties who get angry if you do so.
 

LordOfWu

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I think you are doing the appropriate thing, you are showing respect for the position and for the effort that went into getting that position. From there you show respect to the person once you get to know them.

Now, I study BJJ and all we ever call anyone is by their first name, so it makes it easy to be consistent!
 

Big Don

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My Sifu introduces himself to people as JR. Once signed up, you call him Sifu or Sir, otherwise, anything but, "Late to Dinner" is acceptable, according to him.
 

Balrog

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I'm not talking about giving someone credit where it isn't due, but good old fashioned respect for other martial arts practitioners, particularly other instructors.

I've got a lot of friends who practice other martial arts, and when I've been introduced to their instructors, I'd always refer to them as they were introduced to me with their titles, such as "master", "professor", "mestre", "sifu", etc. Granted that they were my friends' instructors, and not mine, I still felt that it was the respectable thing to do.

In contrast, I've had friends outside of martial arts who say that they'd never do that because that person never taught them anything. Am I going overboard with the respect thing?
IMNSHO, no. Their title was earned through hard work and discipline, and your use of that title acknowledges that.
 

clfsean

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Too much is when it goes beyond respect due & becomes sycophancy & plain out ***-kissery....
 

JadeDragon3

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Too much is when it goes beyond respect due & becomes sycophancy & plain out ***-kissery....


***-kissery......LOL. I like that one. I think that I'm going to start to use that term if thats okay. But I agree with you, lets call it like it is. It's plain ole' ***-kissery.
 
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