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Respecting of other dojo and Sensei

by Steven Franz, Editor

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In every dojo across the world they proclaim to teach the very foundation of respect. Respecting others property, beliefs and ideas. This is a them that resonates through out the Martial Arts community as much as the mentioning of rank in regards to skills. In reality though much of the dojo in the world have lost the true meaning of respect.

Respecting a different dojo and Sensei is sometimes very hard to do. In today's world there is this great need to downgrade anything that is outside of a person's dojo walls. I am not saying this anything new because I can remember it going on when I began training back in the 1970's, but for some reason it is quite a bit worse today. Today you will not hear arguments about how much more traditional or effective a system is but rather all kinds of libelous and slanderous statements made about everything from rank claims to system lineages. Each student that studies a martial art for any length of time comes to love and appreciate both their art and their Sensei. Many times they are very strong in their convictions and will go overboard and make rude or down right false statements about another's dojo or Sensei. What is worse is when a Sensei has to bash everyone else to make themselves look good for their students. All in all this harms the overall effect for ALL martial art school owners.

For example if Sensei A has a school in the same town as Sensei B they are in fact competing for students. Instead of focusing on what they should do to take care of their students they bash each other back and forth until people eventually just avoid the arts all together. This is very common in the area of the country I live in (Midwest) and quite honestly is very sickening to me as a Sensei, martial artist and dojo owner.

The only cure for this issue is for all parties involved to just ignore each other to the point where it goes away. Putting them in a room together could result in a great Kumite match, but even that promotes the wrong image of martial arts to the rest of society. Here are some ways that we manage these issues and I would love your feedback on this so please email me directly at kyoshi@franzkarate.com

In our dojo we do not respond to criticism by anyone. We are content in what we teach, its effectiveness and the manner in which our system is ran. If a Sensei from a competing school makes slanderous statements about us we act as if surprised to hear it...although we quite often are not. The person who is repeating the statement is asked to come in and check us out or if they are here, they are invited to join us for a class or two. We then tell them it is ok to compare us to other dojo by attending their classes. 9 out of 10 times this person has always come back to our dojo and signed up. We must have done something correctly.

When a false claim is made in regards to anything about me personally I just laugh and shrug it off. People are often shocked by this reaction and ask me why I am not bothered by it. Well first off my training is authentic and I have nothing to prove to the uneducated person just trying to get a reaction out of me. Secondly if I were to bash that Sensei right back then I would be no better than they are and not being respectful. Next it comes down to the fact that anyone who knows me, seen me teach or compete understands the real truth about my abilities and accomplishments. I see no point in dealing with ignorant people...especially other instructors who are stupid enough to make claims that are easily proven to be false.

These are just a few of the ways we deal with this frustration and I would love to hear your opinions on this matter. Please email me at the address listed above. Arigato.