Senpai - Kohai Relationship

In a traditional Japanese dojo like Bushido Karate Club, there is a special relationship of respect known as the Senpai (Senior) and Kohai (Junior) system. When you begin your training in the club, some are above you in grade; these are your sempai. Those students that joined after you are your Kohai, your juniors. The Senpai assumes a tremendous responsibility by being your senior, helping you, and acting as an advisor, coach, and confidant. The Kohai who has been tutored and taken care of by his Senpai becomes an ONJIN, a person under obligation, and as the old Japanese adage goes, "Life and death are light as a feather, but an obligation, is heavy as a mountain.".

Based upon the deep respect for loyalty and obligation that characterised old Japan, the Senpai-Kohai relationship often extends throughout the lives of those involved. It is a convention that allows a Kohai to begin developing the attitudes of helpfulness and leadership necessary for mastery. 

At times, the Senpai-Kohai system may seem difficult. For the junior, it may seem that his movements are criticised. Even outside the dojo, they find their behaviour under the watchful eye of a senior who is quick to correct them. Despite its apparent drawbacks, it works rather well.

If you are a beginner in martial arts, remember that and listen carefully to the advice of your Senpai. Their experience is hard won. If you are a more advanced student, keep in mind that training is only a part of your purpose in the dojo. There are Kohai in need of your guidance, and it is up to you to set an example by training hard and helping one another.

You must, at all times, show respect to your Senpai. If you are given advice, you listen carefully and bow and say "Oss!" as a sign of your understanding and character. If you do not understand, bow and say, "Oss! I do not understand Sensei". The instructors of Bushido Karate Club are here to teach you, and there is nothing wrong with not understanding. We will happily explain it further so that you can better your Karate. If you need to ask a question about a technique or any aspect of Karate-Do, feel free to approach any club instructor before or after training, and they will be happy to answer your questions. But always remember to "Bow" when you approach an instructor.

The Senpai-Kohai relationship does not only apply to Karate-Do but life in general. Karate-Do is one family, and we are here to help. If something is on your mind and you need help, you can always rely on your Senpai. If you are being bullied at school, work or college, talk to us; we are there to advise you on what to do or any other problem you may face in life. Your Sensei can give you advice on how to tackle it.

Renshi Aaron Kenneally

Training Times in Bushido Karate Branches

Bushido Carrigtwohill

Tullagreen, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, T45 XR40, Ireland

Training Times

Monday & Thursday
19:00-20:00 - All Grades
20:00-21:00 - Advanced Class

Bushido Douglas

ICA Hall, Church Road, Douglas, Co. Cork, T12 KP79, Ireland

Training Times

Wednesday & Friday
19:00-20:00 - All Grades
20:00-21:00 - Advanced Class