The Fifth Proverb

Watak’shi no tomodachi, my friends, today we come to the fifth Shorei-Kan saying: Be courteous in mind and heart, respect the teachers who taught you, and be grateful.

There is much in this saying. Courtesy and respect are at the heart of Shorei-Kan. To be courteous in your mind is to know you should be courteous and to conduct yourself accordingly. But to be courteous in your heart is to internalize the philosophy and to believe in it.  As we believe, so will we do. This aligns perfectly with proverb number one, Harmonize body, mind, and spirit. The internalization of what you know in your mind to do produces harmony between your mind and spirit, and when you perform what you have thus internalized, you have harmonized your body with your mind and spirit.

Courtesy is one way to show respect to your teachers, but it is not the only way. When your sensei instructs you to perform a technique or exercise, obey immediately, and without question.  When appropriate, accompany your actions with a shout of “Hai, sensei!” or, “Yes, teacher!”  At other times, be silent in the dojo, or classroom, and listen carefully to the commands given by your sensei.  Never carry on a conversation with another seito, or student, during class time.  Doing so not only shows disrespect to your sensei, it shows disrespect to other students by distracting them from their practice and robbing them of precious class time.

Come to class to learn. The sensei has knowledge you do not have, and even if your sensei becomes old and is no longer able to perform all the techniques, he will still have much knowledge and wisdom to impart to you.  Be grateful for anything your teacher has to give to you. Also respect your teacher by sharing what you have learned with other students.  This completes the cycle, and also fulfills the third proverb, Help one another learn the techniques.

Master Chojun Miyagi said, “Continue training with patience and humbleness.”

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