Let me explain something to you…

About your Sensei. The person you refer to as Sensei is in that position for a valid reason. It seems today I hear a lot of former students or ex-black belts disrespecting their Sensei for a myriad of reasons. In order to better help you understand why a Sensei deserves, or let me put it a better way, demands your respect let me lay it out for you.

The Sensei is the one who has dedicated their life to the art they teach you. You will never have as many years of dedication in because you came after them.

The Sensei is the one who spent many days and nights opening their dojo, cleaning it, making it better…for YOU.

The Sensei is the one who has made sacrifices you will never understand just so you have a place to train, to learn and gain in your art.

The Sensei is the one who, often at great costs, has given up their free time, their family time…time they could be out doing many other things just so you can learn and train.

The Sensei is the one who has invested thousands of dollars in their own training just to learn how to teach you properly.

The Sensei is the one who has often broken bones, but still showed up to teach class. Torqued muscles, tendons and had strains but still showed up to teach class. Had a migraine, was sick, had a bad day…but still showed up to teach class. All these things are excuses why you miss class.

The Sensei often goes without so that the dojo and students will be taken care of. This means they give up having nice things at times, vacations, going out to dinner, hanging out with friends and family…all so you can learn Karate.

The Sensei has spent more time in a dojo than most of you that train with them have been alive.

The Sensei is the one who is always there for your training…

The Sensei quite often sees a need and fills a need for their students. They see that poor kid who has little of anything and needs sparring gear and they just go ahead and get it for them. They see the student who is struggling to come up with funds to buy their own weapons for Kobudo and just buys extras so they can participate. They see their adult students losing their jobs and says “Don’t worry about paying til you’re caught up”. This is the role the Sensei plays and it demands respect.

I can sit here and think of a thousand more reasons why you should never, ever disrespect your Sensei too…but, in all honesty, I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have had to even write this blog…but, then again, people live in a shallow world these days. Perhaps we should step out of it, be bigger and better, and then the world will change. Respect your Sensei, take care of your Sensei, honor your Sensei…because, one day, your Sensei will no longer be around.

By Steven M Franz, Rokudan
Shorin Ryu Shorinkan
Franz Karate


28 thoughts on “Let me explain something to you…

    1. Thank you Kim Reid. I have often wondered what I would do if you didn’t provide a space for us to train. This is part of the reason why I have returned to training. Cheers mate, Youre a legend


  1. Well writen..Well put!
    You just described my Senseis before me to the exact key.
    Thank You.
    Arigato Gozaimazu.


  2. I “took” judo for about 4 months when I was in grade 7 (about 1973) and to this day I still remember my Sensei and the things…other than Judo that he taught us….. important lessons that have helped shaped my life….. I can only imagine how my life would have been influenced if I had, had the opportunity to study and train under a Sensei for years upon years…, to those who have….consider yourself lucky….to those who have dedicated themselves to the giving and teaching and are/ been a Sensei, i hope the words this man has written bring you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction knowing that the role you play in the live of so many are indeed important, relevant, special, honourable, and a true sacrifice that I hope and pray brings each of abundant blessings through your life and beyond.


  3. Respect is a two way street.It must be earned. Being humble and respectful are both important as well as not disrespecting yourself as a person. If you cannot respect a Sensei, you have no business being there asking to learn the art.


  4. Couldnt have said it better and after knowing my sensei this well and being one for others now…from experience wvery word is true.
    I am only dissappointed in one of his students completley disregarding all that he gave over the years without even one thought of the sacrifices made in his behalf. I hope he experiences all of the challenges his sensei did and will someday understand how he turned his back without even a thank you.


  5. This is very true,I first commenced in 1964,have experienced all above and more including not applying for employment which would have been to my personal advantage but would not as it would interfere with my martial arts,


  6. Zen Proverb
    To cross the bridge will bring you to the other side.
    Without the bridge you must then build one !


  7. Well worded and very true. We wake up one day and realize that our Sifu has left this world an we will never again receive instruction or be honored to ask advise of them.
    R. I.P. to my Sfu Keith Cullors.


  8. Sensei/Sifu, Karate/Kung Fu…this lesson applies to us all as Martial Artists. The only exception: Fake Sensei/Video Sifu. This painful phenomenon is becoming way too common these days. Too bad they can’t be shut down properly in the U.S… Thank you for addressing this issue.


  9. My sons Sensai master Chris is one of the greatest. Make no mistake about it all that is written is true, love and. Respect


  10. Well written… sensei deserves respect for the work done through years of patience and tireless teaching the way of martial and student must learn to understand that in life if one wants to become successful in martial art and world beyond.


  11. This should be obvious to anyone. And not only that, someone who is teaching you a Martial Art is trusting you with deadly skills. One should take that into consideration every time entering a dojo.


  12. Sensei! You my good man are absolutely correct, Shouldn’t have even had to post this blog. Any student active or former who disrespects a person who teaches period. Has learned nothing! Thanks for all you did, done, and are about to do. I’m sure you have made many people better than they were! A wise Sensei once told me,” There is Karate in everything you do! And the only time you look down on someone, is to give them a hand up! God Bless!


  13. This so true. I lost my Sensei in Feb 2018. I still find it hard not knowing that he is no there to train with and to speak to. R.I.P Dave Rowe.


  14. Osu and amen! At this stage in my journey I’m actively preparing to be a sensei. As my responsibilities increase I appreciate more and more those who have gone before. Because I help out at both a rec center and a community college, from time to time I do see those who hold the opinion that the relationships are those of service providers and customers, that because they pay they are entitled to X, Y, and Z. My job is to gently open their eyes 🙂


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