The Fine Line...?

Milt G.

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Hello,
Just curious...

I understand that respect and admiration, usually, go hand in hand when referring to our teachers or seniors in any given art or discipline.

Is there a distinction as to when basic/general respect and admiration can be considered, or properly considered "butt kissing"? Or is there a "fine line".

I have seen some very respectful compliments directed towards teachers and seniors. I have seen the same compliments, stated in the same manner, referred to as "butt kissing" (will be referred to as "BK" in the future, by me) by some. I, myself, have been complimentary and respectful to some seniors and have heard "indirectly" that I am being polite and respectful. Others have accused me of "BK"...? Is there a "line", or does it depend on the relationship of the parties involved?

Would you have to be in the position to receive something from an individual to be considered as a "BK", or is there a recognized point where "respect and admiration" is seen as "BK"?

I would never wish to be considered a "BK" for just being polite and respectful. I wish to be considered a "BK" only when I am "KB". :)

Any opinions? (And, no... I am not trying to be a "BK" by asking this question) :)

Thank you,
Milt G.
 

Nolerama

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I sense that you're uncomfortable with the perceived insincerity that comes along with some MAs.

My advice: go to another school where that type of thing isn't so prevalent.

Good luck on your journey.
 

Tim37200

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Hi,
I think if you say "sir" every other word when you address your instructor, it's a little much, but if you were to say something like "I want to work towards having my stances as low as yours" it wouldn't be "BK." At least that's what it's like at my school, I think.

Tang Soo!
 

DergaSmash

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I don't think the line is that fine. But I also feel that like a lot of things, peoples' lines lie in different areas. A Lot like the strike zone in baseball according to various umpires. What one person considers butt kissing, another won't. Just continue to be respectful but real about it, look to your own judgement, and don't worry so much about other people's perception so much. And ask your teacher if he/she feels you're kissing butt.
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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Hello,
Just curious...

I understand that respect and admiration, usually, go hand in hand when referring to our teachers or seniors in any given art or discipline.

Is there a distinction as to when basic/general respect and admiration can be considered, or properly considered "butt kissing"? Or is there a "fine line".

I have seen some very respectful compliments directed towards teachers and seniors. I have seen the same compliments, stated in the same manner, referred to as "butt kissing" (will be referred to as "BK" in the future, by me) by some. I, myself, have been complimentary and respectful to some seniors and have heard "indirectly" that I am being polite and respectful. Others have accused me of "BK"...? Is there a "line", or does it depend on the relationship of the parties involved?

Would you have to be in the position to receive something from an individual to be considered as a "BK", or is there a recognized point where "respect and admiration" is seen as "BK"?

I would never wish to be considered a "BK" for just being polite and respectful. I wish to be considered a "BK" only when I am "KB". :)

Any opinions? (And, no... I am not trying to be a "BK" by asking this question) :)

Thank you,
Milt G.

I think it depends on the nature of the relationship you have with the senior you're addressing. I have some I'm on a first-name basis with when we're at lunch, but switch to "sir" & "Mr". when on the mat. They know I respect them; at least, I hope they do.

There are some I am nowhere near feeling that fondly towards, nor they to me. Some of them, I will absolutelyt NOT refer to as "sir", because they do not -- IMO -- warrant that moniker of respect. Others, although I don't know them well, I know OF them, and WILL use 'sir' or "Mr." in dialogue with or about them.

As for what others have to say about how you address people you're having a conversation with...strikes me as one of those "AB conversation; C your way out" things. Who cares what they have to say? It isn't their interaction -- it's yours.

My 2 cents.

D.
 

Carol

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I don't see it as a fine line. If the behaviour is about giving an appropriate level of respect to a person (say, a system head) without regards to oneself, then that is respectful behaviour.

But when the behaviour has more to do with drawing attention to oneself, then that's a problem, and IMO is the behaviour that leads to allegations of "butt kissing".
 
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still learning

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Hello, Be sincere..will show....those who tried to pretend is call flattery...

There is a difference.....True and honest people will be sincere....

Dishonest people will give flattery.....(trying to ACT sincere here)..

Most people can tell the difference..plus sometimes the body language shows it too....

being courtesy and cordial.....is also important....MUST be true to oneself...to be honest here......!

BK- is this also short.. Burger King?

Very hard to fool people today.....Aloha,

PS: Sensi. Instructors....most are aware of this also....
 

ap Oweyn

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I think there are three dimensions to this, not just two. We've identified that it might have something to do with the teachers involved (1). And it clearly has something to do with you (2). But it also has a lot to do with the observers. For instance, if any observer is jealous of your perceived relationship with the teacher (i.e., that observer is envious that you seem closer to this person they respect than they are themselves), their reaction is quite likely going to mutate into something like accusing you of sucking up to the teacher. The observer might also have an ingrained resistance to authority. Ironically, you get plenty of those in martial arts classes. So they're likely to perceive any level of deference on your part as sucking up.

In any event, all of it comes down to people reacting based on their perceptions. None of it is especially real or true. And trying to match your actions to how everyone else will receive them is a surefire formula for frustration and, ultimately, disappointment.

Do what you do. Change what you do when you feel it's warranted. And remember that everyone else has a metric crapload of baggage piled up in their brain boxes, just like you do. That's theirs to deal with; not yours.


Stuart
 
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Milt G.

Milt G.

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I sense that you're uncomfortable with the perceived insincerity that comes along with some MAs.

My advice: go to another school where that type of thing isn't so prevalent.

Good luck on your journey.

Hello,

Thanks for your reply.
I would not say it is prevalent, and I, myself, have not experienced it much. I just see it more often then I would like, overall.

I do tend to be overly polite and respectful, myself. Was wondering how others may, or may not, feel about this. I do see it quite a bit on the forums. Just harder to read people in that venue.

Perhaps I am over sensative?

Thank you,
Milt G.
 
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Milt G.

Milt G.

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I think it depends on the nature of the relationship you have with the senior you're addressing. I have some I'm on a first-name basis with when we're at lunch, but switch to "sir" & "Mr". when on the mat. They know I respect them; at least, I hope they do.

There are some I am nowhere near feeling that fondly towards, nor they to me. Some of them, I will absolutelyt NOT refer to as "sir", because they do not -- IMO -- warrant that moniker of respect. Others, although I don't know them well, I know OF them, and WILL use 'sir' or "Mr." in dialogue with or about them.

As for what others have to say about how you address people you're having a conversation with...strikes me as one of those "AB conversation; C your way out" things. Who cares what they have to say? It isn't their interaction -- it's yours.

My 2 cents.

D.

Hello, D...

I tend to agree... Perhaps more related to one's relationship. or perceived relationship with said, and varied, individuals. I tend to default, heavily, to polite and respectful.

I agree again, there are some I give more "apparent" respect to then others. Many use the "master" card, heavily and often. I tend not to, but refer to those I feel are in that "class" a little more respectfully then others. Like you, there are some I would feel uncomfortable giving even the time of day to. Often, sadly, this may not be related to their martial skill level, but who they are as "people", as I see them. of course, I have made some mistakes in the past judging people too soon. I try to not be so fast to do so, these days.
I do address them as Mr./Ms., Sir, or Ma'm when I feel the need to speak to them, or in their presence.

Yes, perhaps as I have stated before, I may be too sensitive. As a student of the social sciences, I am often attempting to read "between the lines". Often without cause or merit. Oddly, or not, in this business perceptions can carry more weight then reality does. Really sad, but one of those social "personal comfort zone" issues... Maybe. :)

Thanks for your reply.
(No "BK" there) :)

Milt G.
 
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Milt G.

Milt G.

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I think there are three dimensions to this, not just two. We've identified that it might have something to do with the teachers involved (1). And it clearly has something to do with you (2). But it also has a lot to do with the observers. For instance, if any observer is jealous of your perceived relationship with the teacher (i.e., that observer is envious that you seem closer to this person they respect than they are themselves), their reaction is quite likely going to mutate into something like accusing you of sucking up to the teacher. The observer might also have an ingrained resistance to authority. Ironically, you get plenty of those in martial arts classes. So they're likely to perceive any level of deference on your part as sucking up.

In any event, all of it comes down to people reacting based on their perceptions. None of it is especially real or true. And trying to match your actions to how everyone else will receive them is a surefire formula for frustration and, ultimately, disappointment.

Do what you do. Change what you do when you feel it's warranted. And remember that everyone else has a metric crapload of baggage piled up in their brain boxes, just like you do. That's theirs to deal with; not yours.


Stuart

Hello,

Good points. Thank you.
Perhaps perceptions really have more weight then they should have?

Most people who REALLY know me see me as overly polite, and not a butt kisser.

When I originally posted this topic I was trying to throw out "general" inquiries on the subject. I guess I became more of the "focus" then I meant to. No, this is not a huge problem for me, personally. Perhaps I have just noticed it more often these last 20 years or so.

It is possible, and likely, it was going on all along and I just missed the significance, or lack thereof, of the issue. It seems most prevalent along organizational lines. I do feel it is important to support your organization and seniors. I just see (maybe perceive) others going "above and beyond" what I feel is reasonable and appropriate respect. I start to think of motivation, sometimes.

Of course, maybe this is just MY "perception"...? :)

Thank you, again.
Milt G.
 

jks9199

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The line is the motivation. For those who can remember... Think of Eddie Haskel on Leave It To Beaver. On the surface, he was polite to all of the parents... solely (he thought) to cover up for whatever he was really up to.

Honest courtesy, even if overdone, is sincere. Kissing up is courtesy done to curry favor -- and is seldom sincere.
 

ap Oweyn

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Hello,

Good points. Thank you.

No worries. It's an interesting topic.

Perhaps perceptions really have more weight then they should have?

Perhaps. And you can certainly work to clarify your perceptions. But ultimately, it seems to me, it's only ever your perceptions you have to work with. Be lovely if the Archangel Michael popped out from behind the nearest cloud and handed you absolute truth. But honestly, you're pretty much always working with your own set of assumptions. Best you can do is be aware of that.

Most people who REALLY know me see me as overly polite, and not a butt kisser.

What's the difference?

Your intent obviously. Butt kissing is done specifically to get something you want out of the action, where politeness isn't. But the net effect is often going to be the same. You're very polite to a teacher, that's going to affect how he regards you. Now, whether you did it specifically to gain that effect or you did it simply because it seemed appropriate, the effect is often the same.

So do you stop doing it? I'd say no. Outside observers can't really know your internal intent. They can only draw conclusions based on what they see you do and what they see resulting. Trying to tailor your actions in the hopes of mitigating the results is way too maddening just to pacify observers. You'd be acting in a way that feels inappropriate to appease people who, ultimately, aren't all that important to you personally. Makes no sense.

When I originally posted this topic I was trying to throw out "general" inquiries on the subject. I guess I became more of the "focus" then I meant to. No, this is not a huge problem for me, personally. Perhaps I have just noticed it more often these last 20 years or so.

Oh sure. I didn't mean "you" that specifically. Perhaps I should have said "we." I'm sure that many of us have been through this. I know I have.

It is possible, and likely, it was going on all along and I just missed the significance, or lack thereof, of the issue. It seems most prevalent along organizational lines. I do feel it is important to support your organization and seniors. I just see (maybe perceive) others going "above and beyond" what I feel is reasonable and appropriate respect. I start to think of motivation, sometimes.

There's the thing with ritual. If you know the ritual, you can perform it without feeling the sentiments that are supposed to be connected with it. (You can call someone "sir" without actually respecting them.) You can also feel something and then look for ways to express that to them. Martial arts generally give people the vocabulary to do that. You're expressing a genuine sentiment using the established modes of communication. Seems perfectly appropriate.

Of course, maybe this is just MY "perception"...? :)

If a tree falls in the forest... ;)

Good topic!


Stuart
 

Ken Morgan

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Context is very important.

We tend to be very informal and familiar in our club and even within the organization during everyday situations and training. Then when you are in a more formal situation, seminars, gradings or competitions you crank up the manners and formality. Then when youre out for beer afterwards, it falls off again.

All the teachers, Sensei, and 8th Dan Hanchis are just people like you and I. When you see a Hanchi in his old underwear, having a beer and a smoke scratching his privates, you realize this. None that I know of make a living off the MA I practice, most have real jobs to pay the bills. Ive seen 8th Dans who are taxi drivers, teachers, long shoremen and business guys.

I actually find it kinda annoying when I see so much formality, all the time. Were all adults, with families and jobs, were not kids. Our teachers have knowledge they wish to pass on, and we are happy to learn it, that in no way makes them superior though.

There is a time and a place for formality, the sensei know who is a BK and who isnt, any good sensei will watch to see what people do on the floor.
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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Hello, D...

I tend to agree... Perhaps more related to one's relationship. or perceived relationship with said, and varied, individuals. I tend to default, heavily, to polite and respectful.

I agree again, there are some I give more "apparent" respect to then others. Many use the "master" card, heavily and often. I tend not to, but refer to those I feel are in that "class" a little more respectfully then others. Like you, there are some I would feel uncomfortable giving even the time of day to. Often, sadly, this may not be related to their martial skill level, but who they are as "people", as I see them. of course, I have made some mistakes in the past judging people too soon. I try to not be so fast to do so, these days.
I do address them as Mr./Ms., Sir, or Ma'm when I feel the need to speak to them, or in their presence.

Yes, perhaps as I have stated before, I may be too sensitive. As a student of the social sciences, I am often attempting to read "between the lines". Often without cause or merit. Oddly, or not, in this business perceptions can carry more weight then reality does. Really sad, but one of those social "personal comfort zone" issues... Maybe. :)

Thanks for your reply.
(No "BK" there) :)

Milt G.

I agree that the "Master" or "GrandMaster" button gets hit way too often. The only purpose I can see is to stroke the egos of the recipient of the moniker.

My first Parker kenpo teacher -- Robert Perry -- squashed the "master" thing, entrenching in my head that, in AK, we use the term "Mr." to demonstrate respect. The appropriate title for verbally addressing Senior Grand Master Parker was simply, "Mr. Parker". And if a shiny new 1st degree black belt walked onto the same mat Mr. P. was on, he was also "Mr. ___ ". Nobody in the room didn't know the differences between that newbie, and Mr. P. No need for overkill in haigh-fallutin' titling.

I have my own ideas left over for intimating respect, versus disrespect. "Captain", "Chief", "Sir", are signs of respect from me. I use them when dialoguing with men whose accomplishments and stations I respect in kenpo, as well as other endeavors. I would (and have, and will) used these when yapping with Messr's Chap'el, LaBounty, White, Conatser, etc. I have also used them when dialoguing with NLP co-developers, and guys who were direct "disciples" of Milton Erickson, M.D.

For more collegial relationships, I tend to use "Bubba", or "Billy". "Bubba" means you're in good standing; a friend..someone of whom I am fond. "Billy" means I've got one nerve left, my temper is rising, and it's apt to be aiming at the recipient of that title. One can be annoying, and still be "Bubba" or "bubs". One can be on the verge of going too far, and still be Bubba. Once one becomes Billy, it is because they are either being monmentally stupid about something and have just been relegated in my mind to the category of "one of THOSE people, over THERE" (objectification is a first, necessary step in harming someone in combat...easier to case harm to an "it" than to a "thou"); or because -- in the odd little space between my ears -- there is a line being drawn in the sand, and I am waiting for them to do that one last thing that sets off the beast.

I liked what the gentleman before me said about intent. BK being powered by the intent to gain something from the interaction; politeness being for its own sake, seeking nothing in reward but the gratification intrinsic to the behavior.

D.
 

tshadowchaser

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Showing proper respect to instructors or seniors in a school is defined by the schools etiquette policies and common sense. Butt Kissing is something different and can be distinguished by most, with the exception of those that are jealous for one reason or another
 

K831

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Showing proper respect to instructors or seniors in a school is defined by the schools etiquette policies and common sense. Butt Kissing is something different and can be distinguished by most, with the exception of those that are jealous for one reason or another

Exactly. That's really all there is to it, in my opinion.

I have been in some schools where their "etiquette" didn't fit my beliefs/personality, so I don't train there.

My school is simple. It is a "brother in arms" environment. We don't show respect through formality like many schools (no sensei, sifu, bow in bow out, acknowledge all BB as they come on the floor etc..)

Rather, respect is shown by giving your best, being on time and helping others. The upper belts and instructors show respect by recognizing your effort and that you're ready for the "good stuff". It's pretty simple. I think most of us would laugh at being bowed to, saluted or called "sensei".
 

Bruno@MT

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Context is very important.

We tend to be very informal and familiar in our club and even within the organization during everyday situations and training. Then when you are in a more formal situation, seminars, gradings or competitions you crank up the manners and formality. Then when youre out for beer afterwards, it falls off again.

All the teachers, Sensei, and 8th Dan Hanchis are just people like you and I. When you see a Hanchi in his old underwear, having a beer and a smoke scratching his privates, you realize this. None that I know of make a living off the MA I practice, most have real jobs to pay the bills. Ive seen 8th Dans who are taxi drivers, teachers, long shoremen and business guys.

This is exactly how we work (Genbukan). We are in a traditional Japanese system, which means there is a small amount of formal etiquette involved. Other than that, the atmosphere is very family-like. Whether someone is wearing a black belt or not does not matter in any way.

During class, I call my teacher 'Sensei'. If our head sensei is visiting, we call him 'Sensei' and our regular teacher 'Sempai'. Regadless of that, before and after the class, everyone is on a first name basis, and we are all just friends who share an interest and we can laugh and talk without formality.
 

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