In such a modern commercial world, martial arts schools survive with economic priorities. Students are not actually students but more like customers. Rightfully so, because they are paying fees which ensures the continued sustainance of the school.
‘so what martial arts do you take?’
‘Oh, BJJ.’ or ‘Oh, Aikido.’
Who is your teacher then, in this ‘me, me,me’ consumer is king society? Martial arts is cryptic because how you learn your art is exactly how your teacher teaches it. It is so personal that it is not just ‘Aikido’. It is actually a person’s personification of Aikido.’ The decades of training the sensei spent cannot be discounted. The art becomes the sensei and the sensei becomes the art. similarly, the student becomes the sensei and the sensei becomes the student. This has to happen so that the continuity of the art can be sustained at a high level of transference.
In Fuedal Japan, or even medivial times in Europe, the clan meant soemthing, the crest meant something. It is a reference and homage to the source, the greater self. not just us the me ‘self’.
Of course this still applies subtly (sometimes not) when we put on our gi, with our school badge, it meant something, and signifies a belonging to a specific style of study. I’m not urging anyone to beam with pride when they say ‘I am a karateka, and my sensei is XXX shihan, a six time world champion!’ its not the snobbishness, simply acknowledge the source of your competency, your sensei deserves it.