While deciding what title you want your students to refer to you by it is important to study the background of each. In addition
it is also important to select one relative to your style, for example you would not want to use a Japanese title for a style that is
not of Japanese origin.
The most commonly used seems to be Sensei as that’s universally accepted as an Instructor of any grade even amongst none
Other common ones are Kancho, which again is grade less and refers to the head of a dojo/club, or Sir/Maam and Boss in
However there are others, which historically are either grade or age specific, whose meaning has been lost in translation as the
Martial Arts have evolved over the years.
The following guide should help to clarify this when choosing a title other than those above, again please note some are age
specific as well dependant on organisation so ensure you research in more than one area before selecting the best one for you.
Sempai – Mentor/Assistant to Sensei not grade specific (Japanese although universally used)
Sensei – Instructor/Teacher of 1st Dan and above (Japanese although universally used)
Renshi – Instructor/Teacher of 5th Dan and above (Japanese)
Master – Instructor/Teacher of 5th Dan and above (Universal)
Kyoshi – Instructor/Teacher of 6th Dan and above (Japanese)
Shihan – Instructor/Teacher of 6th Dan and above (Japanese)
Hanshi – Instructor/Teacher of 8th Dan and above (Japanese)
Grand Master – 8th Dan and above (Universal)
Sifu – Male Master Teacher (Chinese)
Shimu – Female Master Teacher (Chinese)
Jo Kyo Nim – Assistant Instructor (Korean)
Kyo Sa Nim – Instructor (Korean)
Sa Bom Nim - Master Instructor (Korean)
Kwan Jang Nim – Grand Master (Korean)
Kru – Teacher (Thai)