Mister Sempai

Uwe & Lutz
Lutz and Uwe

The “older stu­dent” is cal­led Sem­pai in Japan and Si-hing in Chi­na. Howe­ver, one should not ima­gi­ne the mea­ning here and the­re as we know it from school in Ger­ma­ny. The­re is much more behind Sempai.
In clas­si­cal mar­ti­al arts schools almost ever­yo­ne is an “older stu­dent” for a begin­ner, after all he hims­elf is still at the very begin­ning of his skills. With incre­a­sing know­ledge and skills the stu­dent slow­ly beco­mes an “older stu­dent” for the fol­lowing beginners.

Qui­te a logi­cal num­ber. But in the Asi­an cul­tu­ral cir­cles the “older” is gene­ral­ly held in immense este­em. And out of this respect the impor­t­ance of older stu­dents and tea­chers in the mar­ti­al arts is fed.

Now we live, thank God, neit­her in Asia nor in other, war­li­ke, regi­ons of this world, whe­re such a strict hier­ar­chi­cal thin­king is deman­ded. But sin­ce the occup­a­ti­on with kicking, thro­wing and pun­ching is not only a pure­ly spor­ting acti­vi­ty, but also requi­res a lot of disci­pli­ne and self-con­trol, the term “respect” is not at all wrong. A trai­ner in mar­ti­al arts can be more than a mere “coach”, i.e. a trai­ner of exer­ci­ses. He can (should) also be a bit of a role model when it comes to prac­ti­cing his art. Becau­se if such a “trai­ner” is a dubio­us bird, who “dis­tin­guis­hes” hims­elf by bad man­ners, exa­g­ge­ra­ted bru­ta­li­ty or har­sh tone, then one can be qui­te sure that also his stu­dents tend rather in this direc­tion. The­re are ple­nty of examp­les of this, you don’t have to tra­vel far for that.

With my brown belt exam I slip direct­ly into the role of a sem­pai. Becau­se after Wital­li and Roman moved to Müns­ter and Pader­born, their suc­ces­sor Flo, who is no lon­ger able to lead the trai­ning regu­lar­ly due to his edu­ca­ti­on, is also lea­ving us. And so in the future Ella, Uwe and I will be respon­si­ble for the phy­si­cal trai­ning of small and big Kempoka.
First of all, this job is fun, becau­se tea­ching is some­thing I enjoy in gene­ral. And appar­ent­ly I also have a knack for tea­ching Kem­po to men, women and children.
But on the other hand ever­ything is chan­ging: trai­ning is no lon­ger a “can” but a “must”, becau­se sud­den­ly I have stu­dents wai­t­ing for me who have a right to be taught. And to good inst­ruc­tion. And that every evening, not only as a sub­sti­tu­te. So I need trai­ning sche­du­les, plus new ide­as on how to make one and a half or two hours attrac­ti­ve. The inter­net is a gre­at help for the begin­ning, but Uwe and I have also regis­tered for a trai­ner cour­se to get more infor­ma­ti­on about training.

So, if you think that an “older stu­dent” can make a big deal and the wis­dom is alrea­dy spoon-fed, you have cut yourself. Lear­ning is only just begin­ning! By the way: Of cour­se, the own trai­ning will be neglec­ted for the time being. But I guess ever­yo­ne who is respon­si­ble for a group shares the same fate …
It’s just good that I’m not alo­ne in this respon­si­bi­li­ty, but that I’m designing the trai­ning tog­e­ther with Ella and Uwe. Sabri­na and Kim are still streng­t­he­ning our small group, so it should be pos­si­ble to bring a good trai­ning to the dojo for the next years (yes, that’s the perspective!)! 🙂

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