Taiun Michael Elliston is my Zen Zensei. Before him, his Sensei was Matsuoka Roshi.
The Japanese word sensei is composed of two characters : "sen", meaning previous or before and "sei", meaning birth or life.
A Sensei therefore is someone who has been "born before" you in the system you are studying and is therefore senior to you. This is not the same as the western idea of a coach. A Sensei can actually do what he teaches, he or she embodies the art, while a coach can teach you how to do something without necessarily being able to perform the skill him or herself.
This transcript of an Interview of Elliston Sensei provides interesting insights about our Silent Thunder Order.