Practicing classical Japanese karate in a safe and collegial setting.

A Vertical Society

The Sempai / Kohai Relationship

The sempai/kohai relationship can be very closely compared to the relationships between siblings. It is the older (sempai) sibling’s responsibility to guide the younger (kohai) one through the trials and tribulations of life and protect him/her to a certain extent. The younger sibling, in return, will listen and respect the older one in the hopes that more information will come his or her way.

The Japanese live in what is considered to be a vertical society. Rank and status permeate all relationships and is a very important staple of the Japanese culture. This tradition is maintained in the dojo. Junior students should not question the directions of the seniors but simply follow the instructions. Senior students must not abuse this position. To be one’s sempai is a privilege.

To be one’s sempai is a privilege.

The Charles Fink Karate Dojo aims to create an environment that is authentic to the Japanese experience. However, we must remember that we still operate in Canada. Canadian values of courtesy, respect, and civility are paramount. This cross-cultural dynamic is part of what makes studying karate so interesting – particularly when we travel abroad or have international guests visit Canada.

The Dojo accepts and respects all students regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and ability and aims to create a safe space for all.

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