In Japan, the relationship between teacher and student is a strong one. It is akin to a parent and child with responsibilities that reach beyond the dojo. The primary duty of a teacher is to aide in developing the student, passing on crucial information, initiating the student in the methods and skills, and ensure the student can lead a righteous life. The student also has responsibilities to the teacher, to use these passed-on skills in a moral manner, to behave in a manner that doesn’t paint the teacher in a negative light, and to earnestly study and improve.
The teacher teaches via examples not by mere rules or regulations; they teach in a natural manner. If students have negative tendencies, the teacher leads them away from those tendencies towards something positive instead. A teacher encourages the student when they fail, and delights in the student’s successes. A teacher acknowledges their strengths and further develop those strengths and acknowledges their weaknesses and provides a path to overcome them. A teacher is a lantern that lights the way and provides the general direction, each student holds their own compass; it is up to them to determine the which path will lead towards the destination. Both teachers and students put forth effort to ensure knowledge and skills are passed on and developed.
We respect our teachers and teachers respect their students, teachers care for the students’ development and aren’t repressive, although teachers might push their students towards excellence, and push students beyond their self-imposed limitations; teachers care about the overall well-being of their students. Students merely must respect and assist teachers when possible and refrain from doing or saying certain negative things. Teachers and Students are family, friends, and mentors; a relationship that is built on trust and respect, by choice, not by blood or obligation. Obligation only exists, if a student and teacher agree to the relationship or bond.
Over time a student might leave a teacher, seek out new teachers, or lose contact with a teacher. However, that teacher is still your teacher, you can never undue the connection you made, the quality of the relationship may change, but a teacher and student bond endure despite the quality it may have over time. Your teachers helped you get to where you are now, respect that connection. Teachers also may have many students, each one of those connections endure as well, delight in their successes after they left you, delight in being a part of their individual journey. Even if students turn towards the perverse or unethical, learn from your mistakes to prevent another turn in other students. Life is about choices; choose both your teachers and students wisely. There is always a trial period before being accepted in the dojo by a teacher and a student accepting a teacher. It is a mutual agreement of trust and respect that both students and teachers are giving and earned.