The Soma-Kai Centre
Whats in a title?
Shodai, Sensei, Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir and many more are just titles that people have. Rank is only relevant within the organization that recognizes it. We prefer no rank to inflated rank. It is the person that makes the belt, not the other way around. Personally, we pay little attention to how much rank we attain in any system - so long as we are learning and progressing. We’d just prefer to toss out all rank in the dojo and teach with shorts and a t-shirt on if we detected that rank in our school was more important than the learning process. After all, even without rank, the students all know who the Sensei (Teacher), is and who the Senpai (Students) are.
It is quite evident from the moment you enter our school "there are only two positions on the floor - that of the student and that of the teacher. We are happy to be both at different times throughout the year. We regard having rank in karate a two-way perspective;
All those that have a higher rank than we do will find us at work earning their respect. All those that have a lower rank than us, will find us hard at work to earn their respect. Since we will be at work doing our best to earn respect from our fellow martial artists, we rarely take the time to distinguish those who are either of higher or lower rank than us.
The only individual of rank that we will always respond to is our direct Sensei, our answer therefore is "OSU Sensei - we will try harder" Bear in mind that rank brings a responsibility to keep on striving, keep on moving toward the state of perfection, that by definition, continues to remain always on the horizon.
To Shodai's Kym and Peter "The true essence of Karate is not about rank, kata, style, or even who’s the best. It represents a pathway to a more fulfilling life through forging an inner peace in the blazing furnace of one's soul." .