The responsibility of the Sensei is that he shares his/her nuggets of knowledge with the hope that the students applies these nuggets of knowledge. When they are applied they become gems of wisdom. When that wisdom becomes internalized, it becomes understanding and when you understand something you know it.
The discipline, perseverance and hard work ethic necessary to excel in ones art should challenge each student to the threshold of their limits. It is the desire of every authentic teacher to want the best from each student. My Sensei, Dr. Karl W Marx Sr. founder of Keicho-Do, once told me, “A student is a reflection of his Sensei.” So each teacher is also challenged to impart knowledge that years of study and applying that knowledge, to each student that walks into ones school. Funakoshi Sensei, Founder of Shotokan, said that the purpose of karate is to develop the character of the individual practitioner.
Now the real challenge for the student is to find a quality school and teacher. Unfortunately in today's society, it is getting harder and harder to find a quality school and teachers to teach to that high standard. Most schools, unfortunately, have instructors who want to make a lot of money quickly by running after school programs. I have attended several of these well known schools and their instructors are really running glorified babysitting services for parents who work late. I actually went to a dojo where I saw an 8 year old sandan (third degree black belt). I guess he started training and practicing his maegeri (front kick) in his mother's womb.
It saddens and disgusts me to see that the martial arts have been degraded to that degree. Now don't get me wrong, there are great teachers and schools out there. So the student who wants to make the best decision needs to find a school that meets ones needs, also check out on-line the various schools in the area. Do a good search on the credentials and longevity of the teachers and the school. Go to the school that you are interested in and observe several classes. Talk to parents and students about their experiences while training.
Most important, once you commit to a school and system give it your all. Be in it to win it and never give up on yourself. The Bible reminds us, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, no for men. (Colossians 3:23)
Hanshi Michael McGann has been practicing martial arts for over fifty years. He is the headmaster of Wa No Michi Ryu and Keichu Hoshin Jitsu Ryu, and has been an active competitor for decades with numerous World Championships. He is also a leading member in our brother organization, the World Organization of Mixed Martial Arts (WOMA).