Sensei or Mentor?


Sensei Steve and Sensei Sarah with our Karate Family. Thank you for teaching us good karate!

Sempi Glen here writing as I am preparing in earnest for my sensei test.

One of my morning routines is to listen to Daren Daily. It is 5 minutes of help and inspiration for my day or week. This week one of the talks was called Minding your Mentor. In this talk Daren indicated the three most important attributes were to 1. Show up 2. Ask questions 3. Do what the mentor asked you to do. And as a tip—tell them how it worked out. Wow. I think about our karate journey. Our Sensei is a mentor to us giving us direction daily in class on how to handles ourselves in different situations.

The easiest of the three parts of the minding our Sensei as a mentor is to show up for class. Okay, you might say, “I have done that this week.”

The second part asks us to do more than show up. I have shown up for class and walked through the drills. I have also shown up for class with questions. Which one are you most often at the Dojo?

Sensei Mae talked about The Importance of Taking Notes in an earlier blog. It makes reference to writing down the wisdom from Sensei after class and then asking questions to clarify understanding. Just participating in class I know that I am looking for a teaching or technique that I can incorporate into my style and my teaching. I really enjoy the class where we are challenged to polish just a little bit of technique. Last Monday we took some of the Green and higher belts and worked on spinning. Sensei was looking at the starting and ending stances and how the foot was moved. I wrote that down in my notebook and worked on practicing it during the week. What a great teaching. Were you there for a class like that? Do you want to share your experience?

The most difficult of the three parts may be putting the drill or exercise into practice after you leave class. My Application of Technique blog was about putting into practice what Sensei said to do. The lesson I learned was about practicing skills. If we practice them they become ingrained in our neuromuscular memories. Once there, we do not have to think about them when needed.  As a white belt I had to think long and hard about a down block. Now I just perform a down block as I have done a lot of down blocks. Thank you Sensei Steve for teaching me and my family how to perform a down block and how to fall!

Here are the three action plan steps for you to contemplate (again adapted from Daren Daily). Answer these three questions in your journal:


  1. How can you show up more during class?


  1. Where can you ask more questions?


  1. What drills or advice have you been given that you still have yet to practice?


I know that after I am done writing this blog I will go to class with questions for Sensei and trust I will come back with actions from today’s class to work on during the week. What about you? See you in class soon.




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