When asked by someone who is your teacher, we most automatically answer so and so is my “fit in area of study”. For me Toyoda sensei, then Yamada sensei. I was once told “everyone needs a teacher” for many years I took that to understand my Aikido path. As of late my perspective has changed. For anyone who is open to receive, learn and grow, life lessons from teachers of all forms abounds….
It is not just about learning a particular skill. When one thinks it is to learn a new skill or improve in an endeavor that is narrow thinking. We must all keep learning so we grow and do not stagnate in life. That is where the thought of a teacher can really be different.
Most of us remember our first teachers were our parents, teaching right from wrong, how to be safe outside, habits of hygiene and to maybe how to save some money. Then came our academic teachers proving us skills in math, science, history, athletics, etc. Along with academic schooling came religion of some sorts, then on the job training at your place of employment. So many teachers to learn so many skills from. Also, let us not forget the piano, dance, or soccer lessons from those teachers.
All of them gave us so much of their time and effort so we could master the many skills we now have as adults. Does that mean we are done learning? I have come to understand life is vast and never ending like the powerful river flowing from somewhere vague and going somewhere vague, but never ending. So should be our view of a teacher too. If one is open to learning or improving, everyone and many incidents can provide deep teaching moments to grow from. Even then that moment of learning may not reveal itself to someone until much later. It may be years before you realize the life lesson and then understand who the teacher was.
So yes, we all have a main teacher we identify with but sometimes the most valuable real-life lessons come from ordinary interactions by someone you do not label as a “teacher”. Do not let those opportunities pass any more than missing a formal class hour.
Andrew M. Sato August 2023
Chief Instructor ~ AWA