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"The Empty Hand"

603 Karate's blog

  • Writer's picture603karate

You Should Dump Me

“I’m just being honest.”

Now, you know when somebody utters those words, you better brace yourself.  They’re about to say something that you don’t want to hear.

Well, brace yourself…

I’m just being honest.  You can do better than me.

How do I know?  Well, just ask others and they will tell you.

Notice, I don’t have any fancy titles in front of my name.  I don’t have any self-appointed level of wisdom or rank.  

Yes, I’m “Sensei” during class.  I like to keep class fairly traditional.  And my understanding of the title of “Sensei” is “one who came before”.  Well, that is an accurate description of me to all but one of my students at the dojo.  I refer to that one student as “Mr.” or “Sir”.

And, when people call me Sensei outside of class, I welcome them to call me John.

To steal a phrase: I’m just another Bozo on the bus.

And, we pretty much all are, right?

Sure, I have tremendous respect for many people in many different areas of life.  But, my years in police work exposed me to life behind the curtain…

I went into many homes of the well-regarded when they were having a day that they much rather forget about.  Their title or status was doing nothing for them in those moments.  Because life happens.

And it happens to us all.

People are people, and I’m just one of them.  In the martial arts world, there is lots of praise (worship?) and titles thrown around.  

Master, Grandmaster, Master Instructor, and all sorts of combinations.

This probably comes as a shock to Nobody, but I can say that I will never adopt one of these titles.  Why?

Maybe it hasn’t been earned?  Maybe it isn’t deserved?  Maybe I haven’t contributed enough, given enough, or trained enough?

(Or paid enough??)

Truthfully, I have no aspirations to gain a title.  It’s simply a word that will never help me.  I’d rather keep doing what I’m doing for those who care for it.

I push myself to be better, to know more, and to expand my knowledge base so I always have something to offer.  I encourage others to do the same.


If you need an instructor with better, more impressive words in front of their name, I get it.  You won’t have trouble finding one.

Otherwise, I’m John and I’ll see you at the dojo.

Just being honest.

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