Don’t even really know what happened on Tuesday night. Went to the usual drinks, BM was there but sitting by the bar. She ignored me for half the night, then jagerbombs happened. I see a pattern here.
Feel a bit meh over the whole thing.
In other news we’ve solved the problem of both myself and Sensei being called “Sensei”. Officially the senior student is known as senpai. This somewhat isn’t how it’s done in Japan, but then we are not in Japan. In Japan no one would call themselves “sensei” unless they were a totally arrogant ass, because it would be to assume a relationship between yourself and the speaker that doesn’t actually exist, but it’s standard in the west for people to do so. So long story short everyone now calls me senpai, which will take some getting used to since I tend to wince at being called sir in restaurants. Actually in the dojo I’m usually called by my surname anyway “Mr…” which is okay.
I actually had a moment tonight when a question was asked that went something like, “Sensei, when senpai was doing his training for his grading you said that there were three different ways of receiving yokomen uchi, but I can only think of two” which left me baffled as to what was going on for a second until I realised that I was being talked about.
Senpai it is then, although, the increasing levels of respect I’m accorded all of a sudden is disconcerting. I dropped something and it was duly picked up for me, which is normal; having it handed to me with a bow and a reverent “senpai!” is not. I’m sort of stuck between the fact that I haven’t asked for it, the fact that there seems to be some feeling of a need to do this on the part of the rest of the dojo, the fact that I’m actually a bit humbled that there is this feeling and don’t wish to seem ungrateful and the feeling that I now feel deeply responsible to these people and actually this is making me more mature.
I always feel immature. I find everything funny and I suppose I’m quite expressive with my emotions a lot of the time. As far as martial artists go I’m not the stoic stony-faced type. When I look up to the people I respect they’re a good deal more serious about things, and a lot less emotional, a lot less lighthearted.
Paradoxically having said this I often feel that I’m not always taken seriously, but then, I have people bowing as they pass things to me. Actually a curious thing about the way “sensei” is used in Japan is that someone who wants something might actually start calling someone “sensei” because it sort of bullies the person being so called into having an obligation to that person. I suppose the same is true of “senpai” and I actually feel that way: now that I have a title, of sorts, I have a position and positions come with obligations and responsibilities.
I’m no longer quite one of the students, or, I suppose “one of the lads”. I’m now in the position where I receive official respect and as such I am required to actually do something to maintain it. Perhaps not teaching, but mentoring, showing them how to be students since of the pair of us, I’m more hands on than Sensei is because I’m still training.