I had an Aikido grading yesterday and did well enough to be awarded my brown belt. While I've never really been too concerned about what colour belt I happen to be wearing, this one is nice to get since it's the first "real" belt and so something of a milestone.
I've been working pretty hard over the past few weeks getting ready for this grading and saw things that made me realize that this is much more than just a sport I do a few times a week, the dojo much more than just a fitness centre.
I've always been fascinated with how people learn and one offshoot from that is an interest in the process of teaching. At the Shudokan, I have been able to watch some amazing teachers in action and have the privilege of knowing them off the mats. The head instructor wrote recently:
The word Sensei literally means 'born before', not deity, demi-god or priest. As one who is born before his/her students in terms of budo, a teacher has a great obligation to pass on the principles and techniques of the art and guide their charges through the journey that is budo. Not every black belt is an instructor and there is a big difference between an instructor and teacher. What makes one an instructor? What makes one a teacher?
I hear many students in many dojos call their teacher 'Sensei' with great respect and reverence but this is not reflected in the way they treat and deal with their teacher. Our words are a reflection of who we are but our actions are truly what we are.
More on all of this in the new year...