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Thread: What do these names mean?

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    Default What do these names mean?

    I hear a number of different names that I think all boil down to teacher. Things like Sifu, Master, Sensei, and things like that. What do they mean and where do they come from? Is it teacher or more than that..maybe variations on a theme. I am confused and would like that to end!
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Finn View Post
    I hear a number of different names that I think all boil down to teacher. Things like Sifu, Master, Sensei, and things like that. What do they mean and where do they come from?
    Sensei is Japanese for teacher.
    Sifu is Chinese for your teacher. Your teachers teacher would be his sifu and your sigung.
    Master is a little more difficult, as it means different things in different systems. In many systems it is an actual rank. Originally, in Chinese systems, it represented a level of skill and understanding, but I don't think it was a rank, per se. Today it could also denote someone who bought a belt, invented his own system and granted himself a title.

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Sifu really translates more literally to Teacher/Father
    Sigung moreso Teacher/Grandfather (Or teacher of teachers/Professor)

    Really they are all simply terms to denote a Senior in Knowledge and the titles are a means of respecting that knowledge and time served to attain it. In the end, they are all just words. The titles themselves do not confir either widom, knowledge nor ability.
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    One thing that I firmly think is rediculous are schools that have a whole bunch of "Sensei's", many of them teenagers or younger!
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook View Post
    One thing that I firmly think is rediculous are schools that have a whole bunch of "Sensei's", many of them teenagers or younger!
    I'd have to agree. That is ridiculous.
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    a friend of mine that went to my school before the Air Force would call our teacher Sensei.. he hates being called that, hes happy with the Kenpo title "Mr." and leaves it at that.. lol, i mean he'd say Sensei in total respect, like after earning a belt.. i just thought it was cute.

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    I prefer my students to refer to me as the supreme-grandmaster-royal-pooba-of the universe.

    Actually, I tell the adults to just call me by name. Kids have to put "Mr." in front of it to help them develope proper social etiquette.
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    Talking Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    I prefer my students to refer to me as the supreme-grandmaster-royal-pooba-of the universe.

    Actually, I tell the adults to just call me by name. Kids have to put "Mr." in front of it to help them develope proper social etiquette.
    I'll stick with "KenPope".

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by SifuDangeRuss View Post
    I'll stick with "KenPope".

    How about KenPotentate?

    What's in a title, really? Most of them mean "teacher" or something very similar. How does everyone feel about titles? Do you think they're important to use in class? Why?
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Every now and then I’ll call my instructor “Professor Gorham” in place of Mr. Gorham when I walk into class. That usually gets a smile from him and a confused look from all the other students.


    One day when I make it to “Instructor” I’ll just have my students call me Commander
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    For those that are interested, here are the Chinese characters for the names that we are talking about:

    先生 Sensei. Interestingly enough, these characters in ordinary Chinese dialague simply mean "Mister" or "Sir"

    師父 SiFu

    師公 SiGung

    師伯 SiBok

    老師 Lao-Shr . This is another expression for teacher, usually used by elementary school students.

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    Wink Re: What do these names mean?

    As to the importance of titles?

    Color me Informal. We tend to use them when we have visitors, but aside from that are pretty informal most of the time. I tend to still answer to, "Hey you!" as much as anything. I suppose that much of my own personal feelings, come from the fact I attained rank fairly young and was teaching adult classes at an early age. I just felt peculiar enforcing the use of titles to folks who were clearly my seniors in age. They didn't have issues with it, I did. As time progressed, I felt that if I was doing my job correctly, in terms of teaching and setting an example, then I didn't require a title to confir respect, rather it came from appreciation of knowledge and abilities. In recent years, since we have spent dramatically more time around other local schools, and it's a fairly small community, the other schools have taken to referring to me as "Sifu" (I think largely cuz they don't wanna mangle my last name). Now friends and students alike tend to use that almost interchangable with my given name. (lol...I've attained a single name statis like, Madonna!) I find I answer to that, too now. All this being said, I say again, the title doesn't on it's own confir either knowledge or ability. As such? I consider it just being courteous, just like the terms Mr or Mrs or Dr., use as appropriate.
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    Lightbulb Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    How about KenPotentate?

    What's in a title, really? Most of them mean "teacher" or something very similar. How does everyone feel about titles? Do you think they're important to use in class? Why?
    I read an article recently, about a semi-infamous kung-fu teacher, who gained infamy largely from his ridiculous late-night cornball tv spots, who now prefers his students refer to him as "His Holiness", hence where the term KenPope originated.

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by SifuDangeRuss View Post
    I read an article recently, about a semi-infamous kung-fu teacher, who gained infamy largely from his ridiculous late-night cornball tv spots, who now prefers his students refer to him as "His Holiness", hence where the term KenPope originated.

    Coming to a store near you soon...."Sifu DangeRuss' KenPope-On-A-Rope"
    That has gotta be Simon or whatever he renamed himself, I always liked the one where he was riding through the fields on his horse and the ninjas attacked. Makes me want to do martial arts....

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by seca2man View Post
    For those that are interested, here are the Chinese characters for the names that we are talking about:

    先生 Sensei. Interestingly enough, these characters in ordinary Chinese dialague simply mean "Mister" or "Sir"
    Isn't Sensei a Japanese term?

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Lear View Post
    Isn't Sensei a Japanese term?
    Yes, it is a Japanese term; the characters given are the correct kanji for the word as well. I'm not sure how it's pronounced in Chinese, or if it means the same thing in Chinese, but that is the Japanese "spelling" for sensei.
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    How about KenPotentate?

    What's in a title, really? Most of them mean "teacher" or something very similar. How does everyone feel about titles? Do you think they're important to use in class? Why?
    Personally, my preference is to use Mr. [last name]. I think proper respect is important, but I see no reason to use foreign titles when we're in America, and we don't use Japanese/Chinese for anything else (I'm not bashing those who do though!). I also extend this respect to my adult/older teenage students by referring to them as Mr./Mrs./Ms. [last name].
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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Our school is very informal. We usually address our instructors by name. We do have to be very careful that our people know proper titles and
    traditionan because we have a lot of friends from very traditional Japanese
    schools that visit us often. We want them addressed properly. When one of them is visiting then our students are formal with us as well as them. Just a metter of respect to both our and their traditions. I visit the Shotokan school regularly. If i walked in and the first one to see me didn't stop the class to ackowledge and bow to me, the class would be doing push ups until next week.
    Not because we want them to but their instructor has a high degree of respect for us. We wish to respond to them with the same respect.. It is always a good idea to know about the traditions of other styles so not to offend.

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    I loved what Professor Chow said.

    “Anyone can call themselves a ‘professor’ but if they did, my black belts would ‘visit’ them the next day. And if that wasn’t enough, I’d visit them the day after”.

    I know of this one skinny black belt that used to work for a Kenpo Karate grand master, and actually ran his studio.

    One day he told his teacher that he had to quit because he had a bad back.

    The next month the skinny black belt had his own studio up about 1 mile away from his teacher’s studio.

    The teacher went to look for the non-compete contract, and the skinny BB had stole it from the file cabinet.

    The skinny black belt started being visited by hairy people with tattoos and pushy attitudes. He got beat up a few times and scared a bunch more times. He went out of business and became totally paranoid within 6 months. He disappeared.

    I think that a thief deserves what he gets.

    On the other hand I know of one really tough MF that promoted himself to black belt (Kirby Barker) and then went and fought all he could fight. Then he went full contact.

    His rules structure is something else.

    Of course it has caused him major legal problems.

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    Default Re: What do these names mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by John M. La Tourrette View Post
    I loved what Professor Chow said.

    “Anyone can call themselves a ‘professor’ but if they did, my black belts would ‘visit’ them the next day. And if that wasn’t enough, I’d visit them the day after”.



    I think that a thief deserves what he gets.
    I remember a Kung Fu master coming into the Kung Fu school I used to train at and questioning my former instructor on his rank and lineage by stating it was illegitimate. My instructor simply told him to "strap on the gear and let's find out who has REAL lineage".

    What's my point? I think that anyone that walks into someone else's school to try to threaten them because of rank have their own issues of insecurity.

    About your thoughts on thieves. The bottom line is that we all screw up, and there is not a person on the face of the earth who don't have a "past". Yes, choices have consequences, but one has to turn from their past and correct the mistakes he/she has made.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
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