Our Top Five Favorite Sensei Characters in Movies

Our Top Five Favorite Sensei Characters in Movies

Let me start by saying you won’t find John Kreese on this list. He might be a notable sensei but he’s far and away from being one of the best and most favorite. If this were a list detailing the worst and most brutal sensei’s then yes, he would make an appearance. As it is the favorite sensei’s of any crowd tend to be the ones that actually teach theirs students to be tough, but also to be compassionate towards others. It is a delicate balance that any teacher must strike with their students to insure that they don’t let a trained warrior loose on an unsuspecting populace with the need to simply hurt others.

To take from Mr. Miyagi, there are no bad students, there are only bad teachers.

5. Mr. Myagi – The Karate Kid

He doesn’t always get to the point but he does teach in his own way. Daniel had to have his eyes opened to the reality of what he was really being taught, but it’s reasonable to think that Mr. Miyagi also found an innovative way to get his chores done while teaching his student. That’s the kind of sneaky and underhanded trick that might make a person think twice about selecting a person as their teacher, until they learn that everything you do in life can in some way be used for a greater purpose and sense of balance.

4. Master Shifu – Kung Fu Panda

Everyone trains in a different way. Attempting to instill the hardcore training methods that created the Furious Five is not as effective for Po, who is motivated by something much simpler than honor and pride. He likes to eat, so make food his reward. Shifu had to go through a lot of stress to figure this one out, but once he did the task of training Po to become the dragon warrior became that much simpler.

3. Pai Mei – Kill Bill vol. 2

This would be one of the most brutal examples of a sensei in the history of mankind. He might care enough to train you, but be certain that he will break you down to absolutely nothing first. Pai Mei is not a man that is forgiving, compassionate, or even mildly polite. If you say something he doesn’t like or try to impress him the chances are good that he’ll throw it right back in your face and add a few insults to go with it. But he’s a master, and has much to teach, if a person is willing to learn.

2. Master Splinter – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Master Splinter is perhaps one of the strangest teachers on the list, but definitely one of the most calm and composed. He cares for his amphibious sons a great deal, but does not hold back in matters of their training. In order to fulfill their purpose and protect themselves the turtles must be able to endure the harsh and unforgiving training methods he employs, and Splinter is no slouch when it comes unique methods of training.

1. Master Yoda – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Do, or do not. There is no try. Yoda is the epitome of a master. He’s as diminutive as they come, but his power is immense. His patience for Luke’s attitude seems immeasurable, and his mental and emotional endurance is the stuff of legend. Keep in mind this is a being that has seen the passage of nine centuries, and has withstood the type of loss that would break anyone else. He is a great master because he has compassion, but can also throw down without hesitation when he must.

A great Sensei is one that knows how to train, care for, and understand their students. They will break you, but they will also lift you up. In the movies and in real life, this is a true teacher.


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