In the DOJO, Sempai/Kohai is most often based on who has been training the longest, or rather, who has the most experience.  Regardless of physical skills, the person with the most experience is always regarded as Sempai and the person with lesser experience is regarded as Kohai.  The Sempai has responsibilities for the development of the Kohai and the Kohai has responsibilities for tending to the needs of the senior members.  The Kohai always carries the Sempai's bags, for example, and the Sempai will never try to escape from the responsibility of offering advise and criticism to the Kohai.

The system of Sempai/Kohai is regulated by "Mibun", which is the system of rights and responsibilities.  No one can have absolute authority over another without a concomitant share of distinct responsibilities.

"Mibun" carries with it an implicit restriction on the ingenuity and actions of the juniors.  The junior is expected to selflessly present ingenious ideas to the senior and the senior is expected to be sure that the junior gets the credit.  A junior who creates an innovative training method, for example, humbly presents that method to his senior.  If the senior likes the idea and uses it, he will be forthright in telling others that his junior invented it.  In the way, the junior gets credit for his idea and the senior gets credit for having such a good and faithful junior.  If, on the other hand, a junior invents something new and starts using it, looking for admiration and personal praise, he will be considered "a nail sticking up", and the senior will be obligated to hammer him back down into his proper place.

In many systems, the senior color belt within the system is referred to as "Sempai".  Also, the senior color belt within a school is referred to as "Sempai".  After they receive instructor status, they lose the "Sempai" title and change to "Sensei".  The next ranking color belt, then acquires the title of "Sempai", whether it be of the system or individual class.   If you fall into either one of the above situations, you might, if your senior approves, like to wear a patch which readily informs others of your status.  We have available, just that patch for your convenience below, purchasable from PayPal.

Other similar patches available at our "Patch Sales Page".

Sempai Patch

Words:  Sempai

Size:  1" x  4"

Our own custom quality design of a yellow "Sempai" on a black background,

bordered in yellow


In Stock