Japanese/martial arts culture question

I have a relationship with a shihan for my futures trading practice–he relates zen and samurai disciplines to the discipline necessary to trade successfully.

Today I got an email from him in which he referred to me as “Kelly Sempai.” It’s my understanding that a junior person would call a senior person Sempai. So why would he call his student that?

Is there a meaning I’m missing?



Is your teacher Japanese? Or is he some western poseur?

If it’s the latter (which I stongly suspect), then he’s unclear on the concept of “sempai” (and probably “kohai” as well), and you can just smile and ignore him.

If it’s the former… Hmmm. I’d say that your teacher is having a bit of gentle fun with you. Nothing to worry about particularly. :slight_smile:

Hope this helps.

Either hes being ironic or maybe he took the abbreviated zen course to become a “shihan” - they leave out the vocab lessons in that.

Thank you for the replies…He’s legit, so I’m pretty sure he’s funnin’ with me.

he may be “funnin you” but if he is a good teacher then there will be a bit of truth to it also. a good intsructor knows that they can learn much from their students. a big part of their training is pointing out mistakes in their students and understanding why something is wrong, how to fix it and then to explain it satisfactorily. so in that sense they are learning from the students.
it’s a good sign of humility and hints towards some wisdom.