As I was learning and exercising in karate class a few days ago, Kyoshi (karate professor) was quite humorous, resulting in the classroom/dojo being filled with laughter.  Reflecting back on the light-hearted class, I realize I was also quite verbal in response to the atmosphere of joviality.

This is my quandary.

A dojo is specifically a place of honor and respect and teaches such.  I am also by trade, a teacher.  As I inventoried my interaction in the classroom, I realized that I vocalized when I thought I had something to say, to contribute.  I do not perceive that I was disrespectful, except for my mistake of addressing the Kyoshi as Sensei in one exchange.  I was corrected by a higher-ranked student gently after the class for this oversight.

As one returning from almost a 15-year absence in karate, I only knew the term “Sensei” and it is what comes natural to me.  In the case of an instructor with advanced achievement/rank, however, it is an insult.  No harm intended.  Apologies.

As a teacher myself, in a different discipline, I also create “atmosphere” in my classes.  It does get complicated when students in the classroom are also “jockeying” for control in the classroom.  I welcome comments, thoughtful or humorous, but I realize there is a time and place for everything.

Give honor to whom honor is due.

Timing is everything.

On a more mushy, touchy-feely level, giving honor is cherished with family, friends, church members, and public authorities….all of these contexts are important venues for respect and reverence.

The challenge for me, a teacher by trade, is to accept the role-reversal as student:  Recipient learner in my karate dojo, student at my church, hearer of the wisdom of my bosses, the knowledge of fellow students and family members…..Phone etiquette.  “Hello!”  (Especially with tech support in a version of my language which I can barely understand.)

There is an order, a balanced pathway in life….and there is also a pathway of role confusion.  My job is to make the plight of the teacher easier….being part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Sometimes silence is golden.

Communication is important.

Obedience, cooperation and harmony may be the path to unity.   Pondering……

Blann’s Martial Arts

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