When I saw this Youtube post, I know what ‘loyalty’ looks like.
What makes me said that? Look at the video, at the 2.50 mins mark, Saito sensei‘s uchideshi, Tristan Da Cunha demonstrate very strongly and visually the true spirit of loyalty. He held his sensei up, and be on his fours for his sensei, his loyalty mirrors deep respect and commitment to his sensei.
In our capitalistic and consumer centric society, we, students pay a fee, so technically speaking we are customers, and take this attitude with us when go to learn martial arts. Martial Arts schools on the other hand, clamor even more for membership so that they can keep their school alive, pay rentals, make ends meet. Poor service=unhappy students= less students= no more school. Some teachers, hope to get rich this way, some do, many doesn’t.
So many modern schools makes it friendly for students to keep paying, the last thing on my sensei’s mind is being ‘customer’ friendly. sometimes his rebuke can be harsh, (although he has toned down significantly), some of his remarks can be callous. In our ‘customer service’ centric society, Consumer is king. Why should I pay to have someone pass insensitive remarks at me and hurt my feelings?
Loyalty is not a popularity contest. Loyalty is being there day in day out. Loyalty is the ‘boring’ thing. Taking my sensei’s bad mood with his jubilation. Loyalty seems to fit uneasily with consumerism. After i watched it, there is not more question. The fee I pay for the experience i get and the lessons, is far beyond any monetary exchange. My sensei is not keen about the fees as well. His presence as the sensei and my presence as his student cuts through dollars and cents. He need me as much as i need him, that is what loyalty is about. Without the both of us, there is no Aikido. The importance of our existence is not over hyped, it’s just is.
Who can be sure that we can be with our sensei until death? Can I carry on my sensei‘s teaching and still learn from him until his last breath? Will I be there when my sensei dies? After I saw what Tristan did for Saito sensei, I know when that time comes, loyalty will not longer be a question to ask.
First published: Aug 6, 2010 5:02 PM