I was surfing on the web the other day and stumbled on a karate video on you tube where the teacher referred to himself as “zokucho”. I almost fell out of my seat laughing. It was an absolutely brilliant display of using a Japanese term in a completely wrong context – almost as good as “空手に先手なし.”
Anyway back to Mr. Zokucho who I am assuming is using the romanization of the kanji 族長. I find this funny because zokucho is a bit archaic and can refer to a tribe or clan chief. Kind of reminds me of my ancient Celtic ancestors (^_-). But then again maybe his dojo or association is run this way. LOL.
In all seriousness I wish teachers and their students would stop using all these ridiculous terms – the list is endless: hanshi, kyoshi, renshi, shihan, tasshi, soke, doshu, saiko-shihan, and now zokucho. I have only ever referred to my instructors as sensei – that’s it. No extra bells and whistles and I know that I would get an angry look or a smack upside the head if I (and I don’t want to) tried to call them some other grandiose title.
Karate is grounded in respect, simplicity, and humility. When you use absurd titles after your name you’ve missed the point and it’s time to go home.