The "Sir" Aspect of TaeKwonDO

Hyoho

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One thing japanese dont s
Coming from Seido Juku, it's "osu, sensei." To be honest, I think "yes, sir/ma'am" would be better, especially for the kids. IMO the respect level would be the same, but it would have more significance in our culture.

Well if you want to mix cultures that's fine. For some of us it's just as much a literary study as well as practical. A study of Kanji based on Confucian precepts and Buddhist meaning of a text to try and explore what are teachers are really trying to tell us to do. My Soke used to have us sit down in front of a whiteboard after practice for an hour.

It's just too easy to mix in what we do know in both culture and practice with what we have yet to learn and make it something it's not.http://www.martialtalk.com/threads/the-sir-aspect-of-taekwondo.125256/reply?quote=1857379
 

Hyoho

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A theme I notice when people have problems addressing others by their title is I think many times they confuse respect with subservience. Respect and subservience are not one in the same. Not at all.

You hit the nail on the head there. Humility trying to overcome ego is hard for some. You can never bow down as low as a respectful old lady in Japan who thinks she is beholden to everybody. Bowing means 'thank you' in Japan.
 

Andrew Green

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One thing japanese dont s


Well if you want to mix cultures that's fine. For some of us it's just as much a literary study as well as practical. A study of Kanji based on Confucian precepts and Buddhist meaning of a text to try and explore what are teachers are really trying to tell us to do. My Soke used to have us sit down in front of a whiteboard after practice for an hour.

It's just too easy to mix in what we do know in both culture and practice with what we have yet to learn and make it something it's not.

Soke? I assume then that you are with a koryo style and a long lineage tree? Otherwise I would doubt his claims on language study. Maybe you are, and that's awesome, but Soke seems to be one of those terms tossed around by those that wanted to have a bigger, better title then just going with sensei and more authentic sounding then master in the west.

Again, why I personally don't like injecting a language I and my students do not speak natively. To easy to misuse and that takes away from those that do understand and use those terms correct in the the correct context.
 

Hyoho

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Soke? I assume then that you are with a koryo style and a long lineage tree? Otherwise I would doubt his claims on language study. Maybe you are, and that's awesome, but Soke seems to be one of those terms tossed around by those that wanted to have a bigger, better title then just going with sensei and more authentic sounding then master in the west.

Again, why I personally don't like injecting a language I and my students do not speak natively. To easy to misuse and that takes away from those that do understand and use those terms correct in the the correct context.

I don't live in the West. A Japanese resident. Licence holder of one rather old Ryu and Shihan of another with a quite a few association dan grades. But nothing special there to anyone who gives up their lives to devote themselves to something.

Yes, the title Soke is tossed around to a ridiculous level. Soke: Historical Incarnations of a Title and its Entitlements

I think the words 'lineage tree' also seem to be tossed around too much as well.
 

Bill Mattocks

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This is something I've been meaning to ask. Is "shihan" a title or an honorific?

I think part of the problem with "master" is that the English word maps to so many different concepts. I've seen it used similar to "sensei", and I'm comfortable with that. I've also seen it used to refer to someone who is a surpassing expert at something (including a specific MA), and I'm comfortable with that, in context. But they are very different things.

In Isshinryu, Shihan is a title. As is Kyoshi, Renshi, Hanshi, and Soke. Not used much, and never by people to describe themselves.

In my particular lineage of Isshinryu, the only titles I hear other than Sensei are Hanshi and Soke.

But my lineage is short - from our founder, Shimabuku Tatsuo Soke, to his direct American students (Mitchum Sensei and Harrill Sensei) to my Sensei, who is a 9th Dan Hanshi, to me. Hanshi was a term that simply means examplar, the model of the style, one whom others should pattern themselves after, an exemplary person.

In some styles of karate and some lineages of Isshinryu, the titles come with the rank. Meaning if a person is 5th Dan, they are also Kyoshi (or whatever, I'm not clear on them, since we don't follow them). In others, including our own lineage, titles are extremely rare, and are given at any rank, separately from Dan rank, and only by the head of the organization. One can be a 9th Dan and not be a Hanshi, or be a Hanshi and not be a 9th Dan.

I don't get too wrapped around the axle about any of it. As previously mentioned, I use the honorific 'sir' when I speak to my Sensei, and I address him as Sensei, although by some rules of other organizations, he should be addressed as 'Grand Master'. He does not want to be called that, so we do not call him that. Me, I'm none of the above. Just a karateka, and I'm fine with that.
 

JR 137

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We had a guy come into our academic school to do an after school TKD program for the kids. He was an interesting fellow. He introduced himself as "Master Dave" to everyone - prospective students, parents, teachers; everyone. It was quite comical.

Fellow teachers started asking me in my teacher introduces himself like that. I started laughing and said "No. He's a normal human being who introduces himself by his name."

Every Monday and Wednesday when he'd walk in, I'd jokingly say to my colleagues who were in earshot of me "Master Bates is here." One person asked me if that's really his last name. "No, but I really wish it was."

Another thing...

Is 4th dan a master level in TKD? The lowest dan rank I've seen that title is 5th dan. Both karate organizations I've been in didn't use that title until 6th dan.
 

Rough Rider

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Is 4th dan a master level in TKD? The lowest dan rank I've seen that title is 5th dan. Both karate organizations I've been in didn't use that title until 6th dan.

In some organizations, yes. At my school, 4th Dan is the minimum for Master, but it's not automatic. When I started, there were two 4th Dan instructors who were called Master. They've both been promoted to 5th Dan since then. We had another instructor who was a 3rd Dan when I started. When he was promoted to 4th, he was still called Instructor. I asked him about that, and he told me that there were other requirements to be met. Four years later, he was promoted to 5th Dan and Master at the same time.
 

gpseymour

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I'm still trying to get my students to call me "Papa Smurf" but so far it has been a non starter....
You are recruiting the wrong kind of students.

By the way, I see you're in Casper. My dad lives there - I hope you managed to get out and see the eclipse today, as I know you guys were in the path of totality.
 

lklawson

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But then their are things like the BJJ crowd using the term "Professor", which in Portuguese is, as I understand it, the right term. But in our culture that term has a very specific meaning.
It was not unheard for boxing coaches in North America during the late 19th Century and early 20th to be called "Professor," particularly when teaching in a official or semi-official position at a college club. IMS, Savatte uses the term as well.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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We had a guy come into our academic school to do an after school TKD program for the kids. He was an interesting fellow. He introduced himself as "Master Dave" to everyone - prospective students, parents, teachers; everyone. It was quite comical.

Fellow teachers started asking me in my teacher introduces himself like that. I started laughing and said "No. He's a normal human being who introduces himself by his name."

Every Monday and Wednesday when he'd walk in, I'd jokingly say to my colleagues who were in earshot of me "Master Bates is here." One person asked me if that's really his last name. "No, but I really wish it was."
Ages ago I stopped in a Tang Soo Do school in Vandalia, OH, just to see. (TSD was my "first" art as a teen.) Class wasn't in session but the Dojang was open. After a few min. a man came out from the back. I stuck my hand out, smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Kirk." He took my hand and said, "I'm Sabum."

I thought to my self, "You're not MY teacher." Then I politely looked at a few of the photos on his wall, one or two of the people I know (Master Steve Wall from Michigan last I heard), while completely ignoring anything else he was saying.

Completely soured me on his school. If I ever considered getting back into TSD (unlikely) it wouldn't be his school. I wish him luck, but first impressions count.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

shihansmurf

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You are recruiting the wrong kind of students.

By the way, I see you're in Casper. My dad lives there - I hope you managed to get out and see the eclipse today, as I know you guys were in the path of totality.

I did and it was awe inspiring. Feel free to stop in and check out our class if you make it up here to visit you dad.
 

lklawson

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Doing things without questioning is not a way to learn.
Actually, for now, yes it is. Look, I'm not trying to offend so bear with me please. You say that you are a new student, new to the martial arts, right? You're a beginning student; metaphorically a "child." You have not yet gotten enough experience and training to understand the reason why some things are done some ways some of the times. Just as parents of young children often have to answer the question of "but why?" with "because I say so," so too do you, as a new martial arts student, sometimes have to accept that your instructor may have a perfectly good reason for why something is done a certain way and you are not yet prepared to question it.

Some things in any physical skill, similar to any intellectual skill, require a foundation before you can understand the reason. But because you don't yet understand the foundation doesn't mean that the elements built upon that foundation are not true. Learn addition before algebra. Learn algebra before trig.

If you force your instructor to answer "but why?" all the time during class, then class time will be wasted and the other students won't be getting their fair time. Once you have developed the appropriate base of knowledge and skill, then you will have the base to understand the answers, if you haven't already figured them out by that time for yourself (which is a strong possibility).

If you insist on the "but why?" do so after class. If your instructor won't give you his time for free after class to answer your "but why?" in depth, then either accept that, pay for his time, or find a different school more to your liking. But, in the end, YES, there are times, particularly for you, the new student, when "doing things without questioning" IS the way to learn.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

JR 137

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Ages ago I stopped in a Tang Soo Do school in Vandalia, OH, just to see. (TSD was my "first" art as a teen.) Class wasn't in session but the Dojang was open. After a few min. a man came out from the back. I stuck my hand out, smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Kirk." He took my hand and said, "I'm Sabum."

I thought to my self, "You're not MY teacher." Then I politely looked at a few of the photos on his wall, one or two of the people I know (Master Steve Wall from Michigan last I heard), while completely ignoring anything else he was saying.

Completely soured me on his school. If I ever considered getting back into TSD (unlikely) it wouldn't be his school. I wish him luck, but first impressions count.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
Both CIs I've studied under introduced themselves to me by their given name; no title. Everyone in both dojos who had a title did the same. Except for one at my first dojo. Funny thing was, she was easily on the biggest power trip and worthy of the least respect. Last I heard, two dojos have shown her the door (including my previous dojo). Same m.o. both times - she's a great student when she starts, a great assistant instructor when she's initially promoted to that position, then she starts to get comfortable and slowly starts showing her true colors. It's too bad, she's a very good person on a one on one basis when there's no pressure to be "in charge" and a very knowledgeable and skilled practitioner.
 

Rough Rider

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He took my hand and said, "I'm Sabum."

It could have been worse. At least he didn't say "I'm Sabum Nim". "Nim" should only be used when referring to somebody else, not yourself. I learned this as I've been studying Korean outside of the dojang. The instructors at my school make this mistake. At the beginning of class, after bowing to the flag, the following commands are given: Face the front; Chareut; Sabum Nim Kke; Kyong-nye. On the few occaisions that I'm asked to lead warm-ups, I go with: Face the front; Chareut; Kyong-nye.
 

JR 137

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It could have been worse. At least he didn't say "I'm Sabum Nim". "Nim" should only be used when referring to somebody else, not yourself. I learned this as I've been studying Korean outside of the dojang. The instructors at my school make this mistake. At the beginning of class, after bowing to the flag, the following commands are given: Face the front; Chareut; Sabum Nim Kke; Kyong-nye. On the few occaisions that I'm asked to lead warm-ups, I go with: Face the front; Chareut; Kyong-nye.
Your post just made me realize something...

To start class, the person teaching has us kneel in seiza, then says:
Shinzen ni rei (bow to the front)
Kaicho ni rei (bow to the picture of our founder/chairman)
Nidaime ni rei (bow to the picture of his named successor/son)

Then the senior most student without a title will say:
Mokuso (meditate)
Mokuso yame (stop)
Shuseki shihan ni rei (bow to our CI)
Etc.

The person will NEVER say their own title. When we bow out informally to start or end, if the person running class leads it all the way through, they always say "bow here" (reference to them self).

One of the little things that just clicked.

And everyone in the dojo I met for the first time, I had to ask them what their title was, if any. No one introduced them self as "sensei x" "shihan y" etc. They all shook my hand and said "I'm Joe Smith" or whatever their name is.
 

Hyoho

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Your post just made me realize something...

To start class, the person teaching has us kneel in seiza, then says:
Shinzen ni rei (bow to the front)
Kaicho ni rei (bow to the picture of our founder/chairman)
Nidaime ni rei (bow to the picture of his named successor/son)

Then the senior most student without a title will say:
Mokuso (meditate)
Mokuso yame (stop)
Shuseki shihan ni rei (bow to our CI)
Etc.

The person will NEVER say their own title. When we bow out informally to start or end, if the person running class leads it all the way through, they always say "bow here" (reference to them self).

One of the little things that just clicked.

And everyone in the dojo I met for the first time, I had to ask them what their title was, if any. No one introduced them self as "sensei x" "shihan y" etc. They all shook my hand and said "I'm Joe Smith" or whatever their name is.

I have never heard kaicho used in a dojo. It usually refers to a company president. Could be association president but you never refer to them as such. Photographs/pictures of people in dojo are of dead ones. They are printed in black and white. One does not put up pictures of live ones These photographs are hung or placed in what we would call shinzen. It is now called "shinden" as it has a religious implication of honouring the dead (like a shrine). So now we say "shinden ni rei", clap the hands twice and bow.

I did visit a dojo once and see a photograph of a living person. I bowed to offer my condolences.
 
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