Japanese Budo brings with it elements of Japanese culture

One aspect which establishes the hierarchy in the dojo and governs etiquette is the relationship between Sempai and Kohai. This hierarchy is important for the harmonious running of the dojo and for instilling the correct attitude among its members.

Two important points must be understood regarding the dojo:

1. The dojo is always a place of respect!
2. The welfare of the individual comes a distant second to that of the group.

Sempai translates as "Senior" and can be applied in any situation where someone is senior to you.  The Japanese term is used in school, business, the arts, and of course the martial ways.  But the meaning for those in a traditionally run martial art group is far deeper than simply "Senior."

n 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.  

Most traditional Japanese organizations and social groups depend heavily on this form of social interaction and AGKK dojo’s are no exception.
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 the Japanese class system or "Mibun Seido", which is the system of rights and responsibilities. No one can have absolute authority over another without a concomitant share of distinct responsibilities. All doka have obligations dependant on their position in the hierarchy.
We are all ”Onjin”, - one who has an obligation.

The Japanese have a saying…."life and death are light as a feather, but obligation...is as heavy as a mountain"

Kohai is expected to adhere to certain patterns of behaviour, i.e:

• Be generally respectful towards Sempai

• Seek out sempai to train

• Offer assistance to sempai

Kohai should not:

• Offer advice to Sempai

• Question Sempai’s technique /judgement The Sempai should make every effort to be at Sensei's dojo as often as possible. (In warrior history it was always - but today's modern society - not at war - often means making it to class as often as practical.)

The Sempai should always be concerned that some other student is receiving more training than him, is training harder than him, and is perhaps taking over his position without him knowing it. 

Sempai constantly looks at students with distrust - being the barrier between the students and Sensei.

The Sempai should not rush toward being a Sensei in his own dojo. 

Because all of these duties, which a correctly chosen Sempai's personality is natural for, will go away. In order to be Sensei you must re-invent yourself and become something else. 

When that day comes - a true Sempai will look back on his days as The Sempai as the "glory days", which he will sorely long for the rest of his days.

It was and IS Sempai's responsibility to immediately correct any breach in ettiquette toward Sensei, stop any threat toward Sensei, correct technical insufficiencies of the Kohai, and dominate in training.