Thursday, January 4, 2024

What Is The Role Of A Martial Arts Teacher?

What is the role of a martial arts teacher?

In the Japanese martial arts, the sensei?

In popular martial arts, the sensei is often seen as a teacher at best, or authority figure at worst. Certainly the sensei has to have a command of the subject matter, and a certain amount of skill- depending on the martial art, one can be authorized to teach based on different ranking levels.

Yet, with all this the primary role of the sensei is to lead.

To be able to transmit the feeling of the art in a way so students can pick up on it, while at the same time, correcting the mistakes of the student.

The sensei does not determine how far the individual will go in the martial arts, they are not a gate-keeper. The student determines how far they will go based on skill, desire, commitment, and warrior heart (mushashin).

The sensei guides the process.

Many people want to be a sensei, but if they realized the gravity of the situation and the responsibility to the student and tradition, perhaps they would think otherwise.

Consider these two points.

A person trained in the martial arts for twenty years before becoming a sensei, either by choice, or obligation. Based on where they are in movement for twenty years, what took them twenty years to achieve, they *should* be able to get any students training under them to move in a similar way in half the time.

The mistakes the sensei made along the way in training, the corrections, and adjustments, they should be aware of them, and not pass them on to the student, likewise being able to correct and eliminate these mistakes.

A second, more sobering point.

In instructing a student, and passing the transmission of the martial arts- regarding mistakes a student makes in movement.

The sensei has an obligation to point out and correct *every* mistake a student makes.

For those watching outside the dojo, for those who don’t understand budo, this can seem harsh, but rather it is a complete action of compassion.

What happens outside the dojo, the safety of the dojo, if a student makes a mistake and something happens?

If the sensei did not point it out, that responsibility falls on the sensei.

It is in matters like these that the sensei has full responsibility, so they must be perfectly-clear in all instruction.

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The aim of the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo (school of the life giving sword) is to understand nature and the movement of being zero through taijutsu- martial ways of using the body. The school exists to create and transmit this feeling and method through the experience of isshi soden.

Located in Westchester New York, the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo is a martial arts training group founded in 2005 with the aim of coming together as martial arts friends to study the Japanese martial arts of Masaaki Hatsumi through the movement lessons of the Bujinkan Dojo.

Training is supervised by Fred Feddeck who has been studying Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu since 1993.

Classes are held on Saturday Mornings from 9-11 AM at a local park in Yonkers New York easily accessible by car, train, and bus. Additional training times are held for workshops and seminars each quarter.

Questions, feedback, and inquiries may be directed to the group here:

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This mailing list is used to provide updates regarding upcoming seminars and workshops, along with meeting times for our once a month martial arts meetup to discuss and explore various topics in our training.

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