Is there such a thing as too much respect?

Aiki Lee

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I would refer to another martial arts teacher by their last name with the appropriate Mr. or Ms. attached to it. I don't call my own teacher "master" and only occassionally will I adress him directly as sensei. Unless I am expecting to begin taking lessons under a new teacher I don't adress them as one.
 

Phoenix44

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At the dojo, it's always "Sir" or "Sifu" or "Sensei."

Outside the dojo, well, I'll call anybody by whatever name they want. Having said that, I do think that insisting on being called "Sifu" or "Sensei" when you're out drinking at the local karaoke bar is silly.
 

MJS

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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?

In the dojo, I address them accordingly. Whatever title they use, ie: Mr, Sifu, Professor, Master, etc. Of course, depending on the situation, some class settings are more relaxed. During my private Arnis lessons, I call my inst. by his first name. Usually, if I'm introducing someone to one of my teachers, I'll say, "This is my inst. (title) and first/last name.

Outside of the school...well, IMO, I think that can be a bit more relaxed. I could just imagine the looks and possible reactions of some people in you're in a bar and say, Hey Sensei! In a setting like that, I think using the first name or Mr. (last name) would be fine.
 

geezer

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Politeness and respect can be given or withheld in so many ways. If you respect your instructor you can show it with or without using an honorific such as sensei, sifu, sobum, guro or what have you. My first instructor was Chinese and it would have been inconceivable to address him as anything other than "Sifu". On the other hand I usually address my current instructors by their first names, since we go way back. But I still show my respect. When my WT instructor cut his fee in half last month, since he had been injured and had to cancel class for two weeks, I still paid him in full. When he asked why I was still giving him the full amount, I said, "'Cause I can't afford to pay you all you're worth!" I later found out that the rest of our group had all done the same!
 

tshadowchaser

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Just my thoughts but

If you are introduced to someone by rank then address them by that rank or SIR, Madam until they differently.

Now we all know that some people may not deserve the rank they hold in a case like this I suggest mr. or miss, etc. OR nothing talking to them at all

Within or own schools or systems I think there is more chance of being blind to the faults of our instructors and perhaps giving them more credit at times than the deserve. We should all recognize that these are people and not perfect beings. BUT still address them with respct of their rank and time in the arts
 

Gordon Nore

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It's a matter of context. Periodically, I visit my son's kali school. I've known his guro for a very long time; although I've never trained in FMA. I bow when invited to enter his studio, and I bow to him as gesture of affection and respect -- these are not conventions of his art; they're conventions of mine. I would make no sense for me to do a FMA type salutation or to place guro's hand on my forehead, since I'm not his student.

If I happened to be introducing this FMA teacher to a friend, I'd refer to him as guro, provided the other person knew what Kali and Guro meant. Otherwise, I'd say, "The is my son's martial arts teach, Mr so and so."

If I were introducing my own sensei to someone who understood martial arts, I'd say, "This is Sensei such-n-such." Again, If this person doesn't know the arts, I'd say, "This is John, my karate teacher."
 

Daniel Sullivan

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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?
Okay, so lets take this outside of the martial arts. I take my girlfriend to the doctor's office and she introduces her doctor to me as 'Doctor Lindsay Smith.' Not my girlfriend's doctor's name, mind you; this is hypothetical.

Since Doctor Smith isn't my doctor should I just call her 'Lindsay'? Or Ms. Smith?

No, it would be considered rude. She's a doctor. She went to med school and earned her degree and went into practice. That is her proper honorific.

Now, if she says, 'Your girlfriend is one of my BFF's! You're her man, so you're my friend too. Call me Lindsay,' then Lindsay it is.

In addressing these teachers by their art-appropriate title, you're showing proper etiquette in a western culture. I point this out because it isn't just an eastern thing, even though the titles themselves may be of eastern origin.

Your friends may do as they wish, but they are not observing western conventions of etiquette regarding honorifics.

Daniel
 

pete

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if my students call me anything but Pete, they are corrected with the Bronx cheer: "see fu-you"

pete.
 

Laurentkd

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Okay, so lets take this outside of the martial arts. I take my girlfriend to the doctor's office and she introduces her doctor to me as 'Doctor Lindsay Smith.' Not my girlfriend's doctor's name, mind you; this is hypothetical.

Since Doctor Smith isn't my doctor should I just call her 'Lindsay'? Or Ms. Smith?

No, it would be considered rude. She's a doctor. She went to med school and earned her degree and went into practice. That is her proper honorific.

Now, if she says, 'Your girlfriend is one of my BFF's! You're her man, so you're my friend too. Call me Lindsay,' then Lindsay it is.

In addressing these teachers by their art-appropriate title, you're showing proper etiquette in a western culture. I point this out because it isn't just an eastern thing, even though the titles themselves may be of eastern origin.

Your friends may do as they wish, but they are not observing western conventions of etiquette regarding honorifics.

Daniel


You made my point before I could, although you used a different example.
Also, to me it doesn't make sense to call someone a certain thing "on the mat" and then something else "off the mat". Sure it may not always make the most sense to yell SENSEI across a room, but I just don't get calling someone sifu (or what have you) on the mat, and then John the rest of the time. To me it is like my college professors. They were always Dr. so-and-so, it didnt' matter if I was in their class or ran into them on the street.
 

Kacey

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Does an instructor/master lose his/her knowledge by leaving the dojang, any more than a doctor does when leaving the hospital or medical office? Is the form of address respect for the rank/knowledge, or the person (or both)? If the respect is for the person - why does the person deserve less demonstration of respect outside the dojang than within it? I realize that others have other opinions - and whatever works for you and your instructor/organization, go with it. For me, I respect my instructor's knowledge and commitment - and IMHO, an appropriate, respectful form of address is the least I can do to demonstrate that, no matter where we are.
 

Babook

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I think there is such as thing as too much respect. I know martial arts masters who are champions, but don't care about teaching their students, they just collect the money. I also know instructors who have poor technique. Worst of all many of them don't show you respect.
I believe they should not be bowed to or shown respect. In the army people are forced to show respect, regardless if they want to or not. I don't think it should be the same way in martial arts school.
 

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