Shorei-Kan Proverb Number Eight

Mina-san, ogenki desu ka?  How is everyone?  Well, I hope.  Today I wish to present you with the eighth Shorei-Kan Proverb: Treat a person with respect and you will gain respect.

By this time, you may think this should be understood without having to be said.  Shorei-Kan is all about respect and courtesy. Since everyone should be respectful, it would seem that everyone will be gaining respect; therefore, gaining respect is not conditional upon giving respect.  Keredomo, however, this does not speak about every situation. We are all students, but we have not all studied for equal lengths of time.  A beginning student may not understand the proper way to give respect to the sensei and the other students.  Naturally, the sensei is due the most respect in the dojo, and, as a rule of thumb, respect should be given in proportion to the rank of the student, but everyone should give respect to everyone else.

One way to show respect to a student of a lesser rank is to help that student understand ways to show respect.  Sometimes, it is just a matter of going through the motions—understanding comes later.  We bow when we enter or leave the practice floor, we bow to each other at the beginning and ending of class, and we bow before we begin sparring.  If a student does not show proper respect, it may become appropriate for consequences to be applied to correct the student. 

The manner of consequence will depend on the level of the offense. It can be a verbal correction either during or after class, and, if after, then there will typically be a word of encouragement to go with it.  It may be extra exercise, which may come in the form of having to work with a more advanced student who will challenge the lower student in a more taxing physical manner during two-person techniques.  For extreme cases of disrespect, the student may be expelled from class, but I have seldom seen this happen.

The higher-ranked students have worked long and hard to attain their kyu, or rank, and they are due a measure of respect.  This is one of the first lessons the new student must learn. But the higher-ranked students must still show respect to the beginners, who typically are committing their offenses out of ignorance, not with malice.  Give them time to learn.  Give them this time in order to give them respect.  In time, you will gain their respect.

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