Friday, 14 September 2012

Ok...this has got to stop!

Watching Aikido Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba, Melbourne, 2006
This post is a bit of a rant (aren't they all I hear you say!), well that's as may be, but there are a few of things that I feel strongly about concerning karatedo; things I have to address whenever they show themselves. One of these has to do with how I allow people to interact with me: let me explain.

I believe that people treat you the way you allow them to. As far as I'm concerned we are all human beings so there is no need to treat others as if they are higher beings, or bestow upon them wisdom and abilities found in the gods of people's imagination. For many, there is a huge misunderstanding surrounding the respect due to your karate teachers and seniors, as well as to those junior to you.

I don't like the kind of celebrity and fan thing going on in many karate groups, with people idolising their instructors rather than simply respecting them, or by treating them as if they are all-knowing creatures who can do no wrong! Many of you reading this accommodate instructors who strut around as if they are invincible warriors, forgetting rather conveniently that they have never had a real fight in their lives, nor done half the things themselves that they ask of you. When a karate teacher talks so much during a lesson they can send a glass eye to sleep, who's responsible for allowing that, him or you?

Over the past few weeks I've received a number of emails (over a dozen), of which I have replied to only one, where the writers have addressed me as "Master". Stop it ok....just stop it!!!! There is absolutely no room in my head for the kind of mentality that brings such words to mind when corresponding with me. I know I've used the word myself in my writings in the past, but I hope sparingly, and only directed toward people who have practised karate for a very long time, and achieved a certain level of maturity: I have yet to do either of these.

I've even received an email (I don't know why), that was written to a good friend of mine in England, Garry Lever. In it, the writer addressed Garry as "Master Lever". We laughed about it of course, but in reality, this is a worrying trend in karate. Could it be that the title of Master is becoming as common place as that other useless label in karate: Black Belt? And, does this mean that mastery of karate has become as easy to obtain, in the minds of some, as it is to obtain a black belt these days?

I don't know how other people's brains work (or don't!), and I have no great interest in finding out either. I have no problem with people writing to me, it's interesting sometimes; but please, use common sense. As I said at the start of this post (it's a's a rant!), I choose how people treat me, so I won't accept inappropriate behavior. If you write to me, Mr is good, Clarke sensei if you have to, or Mike if we know each other...but nothing else. Save the title of Master for those karate instructors who believe they deserve it...there are plenty of them out there!