19 Oct

 Within the context of the traditional Martial Arts of Okinawa and Japan, the term Sensei is a title steeped in honor and is bestowed upon one who is commonly known in the western world as a “Teacher”. When the term Sensei is parsed into its two root words, a more distinctive interpretation is revealed. The root word “Sen” means “Before.” The root word “Sei” means “Being“, as in a physical presence. Thus, Sensei literally means (a) “Before-Being“, or, one who came before me. Thus, a martial arts teacher (Sensei) came into his martial knowledge before the student. (See Endnote #1). 

In terms of familial relationships, a parent is, in effect, a Sensei of their child.
For Sensei Bob and me, in addition to being a chronological Sensei to our children, we were also Goshin-Do Karate Sensei to our children. Each of our children, to varying degrees studied Goshin-Do Karate. Sensei and I are also fishing Sensei as we introduced our children to the pleasure of fishing. This is the story of our recent fishing adventures.    


 Sensei Bob and his two sons, Trevor and Devon recently undertook a Salmon fishing adventure in upstate New York. As every parent knows, as your children grow older, the demands of work, education and their own desire for independence result in less time spent together. Sensei Bob and his boys enjoyed each others company during a nice weekend of fly fishing on the Salmon River in New York.

Sensei Bob displays one of the many trophy sized salmon.

 All three are accomplished fly fisherman and anticipated stalking the large salmon known to inhabit this river. By the end of the weekend, father and sons had many new fish tales to remember.

Devon displays another trophy lured to a fly.

It is such moments of sharing, bonding and enjoying each other’s company that are retold countless times in years to come. I am sure that when Sensei’s boys have children of their own, they will tell them their tales of stalking large salmon; of a time spent with a grandpa, who is a fisherman and a Sensei. On Sensei’s part, not only will he recount the tales of the mighty salmon with a future grandchild, inevitably he will also bestow upon his child’s child the secret knowledge of Goshin-Do Karate. Goshin-Do Karate and fly fishing, secret arts, passed from Sensei to son to son’s son.

In a photo from days long past, Trevor displays another trophy.


In mid-October, I was elated by an extended weekend visit from my youngest daughter, Sensei Kim. As with her sister, Jessica, Kim not only fished with me, but also studied Goshin-Do Karate. Kim spent 16 years studying Goshin-Do. When I relocated to Arizona, she assumed the day-to-day operations of the Issho Dojo.

Sensei Kim made a point that, in addition to visiting and Karate training, she wanted to fish in the Arizona desert. We were able to visit many of my favorite fishing locations, including Veteran’s Oasis Lake, Dog Park, Discovery Lake, and the “big” lakes, Apache Lake and Canyon Lake.

A family night spent fishing.

Although Kim, Jess and I have many fishing tales in our collection, including, falling out of boats, a seashell being dropped on Kim by a flying seagull and cutting her, fishing poles disappearing into the depths of water, mishaps with car doors and the inevitable “one that got away”, we added a few more this weekend. With the hotter than normal temperatures the primary catches (and subsequent releases) were bluegill, largemouth bass and catfish. The effect of these catches were memorable smiles, laughs, and a special, heretofore unknown “dance of joy” displayed by Sensei Kim as she landed a nice largemouth in the dark of evening. One to tell the grand-kids.

As she was reeling in this bass, Sensei Kim erupted into the infamous “dance of joy.”

Until the next article, may you all be fly fishing Sensei to your children,

Sensei John


1. In the dedication to my book, Sanchin Kata: The Gateway To The Plateau Of Human Serenity, I propose the following more embellished definition of “Sensei”:

The Honored One who came into mysterious, secret, knowledge before me and grudgingly bestows his mysterious teachings upon, a yet unworthy, me.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.



  1. lida dai dai hua bestellen November 12, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds

    • senseijohn November 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

      Thank-you for your compliment. I hope you will continue to enjoy following this weblog. You may also find my martial ideology weblog of interest. It is http://WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com. Thanks again — Sensei John

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