In Japanese, the term is “Sensei.”
In Chinese, it is “Sifu.”
In Russian arts including Systema, it is. . . . it is. . . .what is it?
This was the question posed to my Russian friends who are long term practitioners of Systema and other arts and residents of various cities in Russia. Russians, born and raised, practicing Russian arts. In other words, I went right to the source.
Their answer to the question “Is there a title for a Russian Martial Arts instructor?” was most interesting.
To quote, “No, and what for? The Sensei in the East is the whole cult, it both culture and tradition. In Russia there is no such understanding as martial art. It is more skill, ability or tradition. It is good to be able to fight in Russia always was norm.”
In other words (filtering the translation), it is a way of life more than a separate entity. As such, titles only get in the way. They feed the ego where as training feeds the body, mind and Spirit. “No and what for?” pretty much addresses all.
I find this a very useful approach in my personal quest in Systema. I learn so much from my teachers and also volumes from my students. In fact, the line between teacher and student is non-existent. Whether expert or beginner, we are all on the same never ending, ever intriguing path.
This fascinating art of Systema just keeps getting more and more interesting.