More on loyalty and respect

just2kicku

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I dont know that there is one. Thats the mutual part of the respect. You have to respect the student's wishes, as much if not more than they have to respect yours.

i cant imagine any teacher I have ever had refusing to give his blessing on a student leaving to study something else. For that matter, I cant imagine anyone that isnt a nutter doing it.

By the same token, i have always told my instructors "thanks, but I am gonna go do something else" whenever I left a school.

It isnt just a business. A good martial art school is more akin to a family than a business.

That's what I was saying in the last thread, "OHANA" family. And maybe "permission' was a strong word, but you do this out of respect for your teacher. Is my loyalty blind? No! Do I do things just cause he says, no.
Yes, my instructor and I are close, my boy calls him "Grammpa" and if it's just about paying money and learning something, well I haven't paid him anything in years. As with all his students, yes rent and bills must be paid, But he does it for the love of the art.
When I was single, we were roomies. I can remember more than one occassion being woke up at 1am for training. We have bbqs, parties we all go to each others houses and yes when crap has hit the fan with one of our students we have all come to help.
Tellner, we call him our teacher,many call him "uncle". You seemed to be hung up by the title of GM. It is a title he has earned. My dad and uncle were BB from Sijo and earned the title GM. Just as your WHKD si gung, Al is also a GM. But they are titles. Maybe the term "Master" is what they used to call someone who has done one thing their whole life and has for the most part "Mastered" their art. Does this mean we are all Jacks. Jack of many "master" at none. You have master electricians, master plumbers, and masters in their arts.
So to ask "permission" knowing he'll say go ahead is just respect.I am not saying to get on your knees and ask, I'm saying to let him know that is your plan. If you do have a bad teacher he won't give any "blessing" and your choice is easy, if gives his "blessing" your choice is the same. but I think you owe your instructor at the very least the courtesy of doing so.
 

myusername

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respect

instructors are just someone you hire

TEACHERS give what you pay for and so much more, that deserves some extra respect.

put it this way, even if you KNOW your wife will not have a problem with you going to play poker with your friends, you STILL ask her if it is ok.

why?

respect.

LOL! For me it is fear! I am still making it up to my partner for the extra night of training since going back to TKD!

In all seriousness I am getting yours and Sukerkins point a little more now.

Cheers:)
 

myusername

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I'm not certain but I think you may be getting snagged on this concept of 'asking permission' as being some sort of enforced servility rather than mutual civility.

I'm not all that much older than yourself (okay, 50% older but let's not quibble :D) but I have seen the politeness and mutual agreement which is the lubricant for all social bonds (contracts) and interaction leak away very rapidly in the past couple of decades. It seems that ordinary people are no longer growing up learning those traits that used to be commonplace; they've been drowned by the torrent of 'me first, last and foremost' - oh my, I've gotten old haven't I :eek:?

To me there is a tacit understanding that exists between any adults who have an agreement between them. That understanding is founded upon some fairly fundamamental, old fashioned, principles; such as your word being worth more than the paper it's written on and that both parties will act in good faith with and for the other.

So, if I go to my sensei and ask him if he has any objections to my going to train at another school, say, whilst remaining his student, there are certain unspoken understandings already in place between us that make the interaction pass smoothly and without acrimony.

I know that I could very easily just go and train elsewhere in another art and never even mention it but that would be disrespectful to my sensei who has taken the time and trouble to teach me. It would be detrimental to myself also as it would feel to me as if I was sneaking off behind his back (additionally, in itself that is disrespectful to him as I am implying that he would not have the good grace to accept what my wishes were on this matter).

I'm not making a very good stab at explaining this :(. We don't really have the depth of terms to discuss this in English. Which is odd as we do have the concepts (or we did). The Japanese would have no trouble with threading through this thorny path at all - they even have the words for it.

The bottom line, expressed very baldly, is that my sensei has the right to expect that I will do him the honour of making the request to his face and phrasing it such that it is not presented as a fait accomplis. On my part, I have the right to expect that, unless there are some good reasons why the course of action I want to follow is detrimental to my training in his art, he will not stand in my way.

To me this is very different from my just going off and doing as I wish and it is a small facet of the ties of duty, mutual obligation and mutual respect that go towards building a civilised society. That's a big leap from the original question, I know, but it is something I feel quite passionate about and feel that the loss of it is symptomatic of what is going wrong with how things are failing to work at present in our technologically modern world.

... {wanders off to rail at the lightning} :eek:

Excellent post and fully answered my questions. I think you are right I saw the sentence "ask permission" and had a reaction to it. I can really see where you are coming from with this post. "Mutual Civility" is where it is at!! Thank you :)
 

Sukerkin

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You're very welcome, MuN. I wandered-round-the-houses a bit there I fear but I'm glad that I made at least some sense along the way :tup:.
 

jks9199

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Complicated issues, and they get very intertwined with some very dangerous things.

Respect has two faces; one face is earned by actions, the other is granted by title or position. I'll use a military paradigm to try to show what I'm saying here. An officer is given a position and title, with concurrent authority. It is incumbent on those below him to show respect for that position and title, by salutes, and by following orders. You don't have to actually like or respect the person within the uniform -- but you damn well better respect that position. At the same time, there are officers who are leaders, who have earned the respect of their troops by the way they lead, by the way they take care of their troops. These officers are obeyed out of personal respect or loyalty, not the position. They'd be respected and followed even if they weren't an officer, probably. On day one, a new officer is granted that formal respect of the position -- but, in time, and as they serve together, they may earn the personal respect of their troops.

It's much the same in the martial arts. That black belt leads the class, and runs the school. He's entitled to the formal respect. His students should follow directions, train hard, pay their fees on time, etc. If he has good character, he'll develop the personal respect and loyalty in his students over time. And it's definitely got to be a two-way exchange, if it's going to be healthy.

The danger comes when it's not a two-way deal. When the teacher claims and demands personal respect and loyalty without showing it in return, the martial arts easily become a cult environment. The students cede personal responsibility over to soke-sifu-guru-sayama-extreme and really give up control of their lives. NOT GOOD. Very, very, very not good, as Tellner's example make clear. And, scarily enough, there are worse stories out there.

In class, I'm the teacher, and the class isn't a democracy. I may allow students input to the material for a particular class -- but it's MY class, and my job to shape the instruction to fit their martial needs. Outside of class, I'm just another *******. I wouldn't expect my students to bow to me outside of class, or to heed my words on any non-MA topic, unless I carried the authority to be listened to from professional experience.

My teacher is, indeed, a father-figure to me. For lots of reasons, earned over the last 20+ years. I'm more loyal to him than to the style or the association, in fact. But I think father-figure is a very good example. Just like my actual father, over time, I've learned that sometimes he doesn't know all the answers. (And, sometimes, I've found that the answers I thought he didn't know were right after all... just like my actual father. :D ) I listen to his advice and guidance, and the occasional "I told you so" when I didn't heed the good advice. I invited him to celebrate my marriage -- but he didn't pick out my wife. He'll be invited to my son's christening in due time -- but he's not picking my son's name or raising my son. I value his guidance, his friendship, and his support -- and I'm confident that he values mine, as well.
 

MBuzzy

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Respect has two faces; one face is earned by actions, the other is granted by title or position. I'll use a military paradigm to try to show what I'm saying here. An officer is given a position and title, with concurrent authority. It is incumbent on those below him to show respect for that position and title, by salutes, and by following orders. You don't have to actually like or respect the person within the uniform -- but you damn well better respect that position. At the same time, there are officers who are leaders, who have earned the respect of their troops by the way they lead, by the way they take care of their troops. These officers are obeyed out of personal respect or loyalty, not the position. They'd be respected and followed even if they weren't an officer, probably. On day one, a new officer is granted that formal respect of the position -- but, in time, and as they serve together, they may earn the personal respect of their troops.

This is a GREAT analogy for the martial arts. The biggest difference is that Martial Arts teachers are required to work their way up through the ranks, a 2LT comes in with no experience and has the authority thrust upon them.

I believe that this difference makes a big difference....the 2LT hasn't really come from anywhere, so he can't forget. His experiences are shaped by the NCOs and troops that he interacts with. Most often, the NCOs are experiences enough to lead a new Officer to success and "teach" them how to behave in the military context. With Martial Arts instructors, it takes so long to get to the position of authority that they very often forget where they came from. They are never really taught by those under them how to behave. Their only teaching of how to behave is by those who came before - those who instructed him. The problem is that very often, that person's instructors pass along their own defects. Another major problem in the MA is that there IS NOT check and balance. If an instructor abuses his power or mistreats students, no one can say a word about it (except in the case of a large organization, but even then....no one does anything, because it would require the student going above their instructor's head, which those instructors drill into their students as being the ultimate disrespect).

As an officer, if I mistreat my troops, if I overstep my bounds, if I abuse my authority, there are plenty of Senior NCOs and officers above me ready to put me back in my place and fix the problem - and there are official mechanisms for my troops to report my abuses. Check and balance....
 

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