Through the passionate study of traditional martial arts, the essence of “self discovery,” begins with the realisation and the cultivation of the relationship between the student and the Sensei.

This traditional relationship forms the foundation in which the martial art is handed down from the Sensei to the student, indeed it is essential the student be mindful not to compromise this time honoured relationship.

Knowing how to speak and respond to the Sensei is something, which the student ought to refine, as the moment in time and study are shared between the student and their Sensei is a gift. We are reminded the term “Sensei,” has a deeper meaning other than that of “teacher.” When we separate the word “Sensei” into two parts, we have the first part “Sen.,” and the second part “Sei.”

The word “Sen” relates to, “previous/proceeding,” the representation of “Sei,” indeed is the birth of life or spiritual sincerity, this sincere meaning of “Sensei,” demonstrates the depth of the oriental culture, which the traditional title is associated with. Indeed a true Sensei is the “living source of the traditional art,” which he/she represents.

Throughout the years of traditional study under the guidance of my budo masters, It was explained to me, indeed the word “Sensei,” has a deeper significance meaning that of, “ One who is spiritually born before another.”

For the student to display their traditional etiquette before their Sensei as well as in the presence of others, then the correct courteous term of title should always be made respectfully, this also demonstrates to others, the student understands the true significance of this time-honoured budo etiquette.

“The essence of self-discovery,” within the budo student is set in motion with the realisation of respect towards their Sensei, and the traditional martial art which is portrayed by the teachings and actions of their Sensei, therefore the student trains to gain a higher level of skill seeking out self-improvement by polishing and refining their budo etiquette.

Garry O'Connor Hanshi



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