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saha
02-25-2008, 12:53 PM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.

odudog
02-25-2008, 01:07 PM
Bowing has a lot to do about manners. You bow before you practice a technique to show that you are ready to begin. You bow after finishing the technique to say thank you for your time, help, and patience. Other arts have their own way of doing this as well. While watching a BJJ class, I noticed that they always slapped hands as their sign of showing that they are ready to roll. No matter which art you practice, there will be some form bowing going on.

crbateman
02-25-2008, 01:28 PM
I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.Each teacher conducts his/her classes as he/she sees fit. Some prefer more bowing, some less. How it affects each student is up to them. Some people benefit more from being reminded about respect than others. Perhaps your objections reflect as much on your own ego as that of your instructor. And he has worked hard for, and earned, the priviledge. Aikido is an art that has its roots in Japan. To try and practice without some influence of that culture is taking things out of context.

saha
02-25-2008, 03:43 PM
In one dojo, the senior trainers/practitioners with black trousers removed their trousers in front of the students who then sat down and folded/wrapped up the trousers for the seniors. This I think takes the system of respect too far.

Ron Tisdale
02-25-2008, 04:02 PM
Yikes...I think you mean hakama, and students folding hakama for seniors is considered one way to learn to fold your own when you get one. Personally never got into that one (my teacher's wife usually folds his).

It's not like these guys took off their pants and proceded to strut around in their underwear while people ironed them for them. :D

Lighten up a bit...if the Japanese reigi is too much for you, perhaps Japanese arts aren't for you. Nothing wrong with that...move on.

Best,
Ron

Walter Martindale
02-25-2008, 04:05 PM
Wrestlers shake hands, some cultures think that's un-hygenic. It's cultural - we're in a Japanese martial art, that has been brought out of Japan by Japanese along with many of their traditions.

It's possible to go overboard - I've been in dojo where we were expected to watch in seiza if the shihan came over to help and was demonstrating with our partner, and then to do a bow in seiza. Others it's less formal. Something I've noticed, I think, is that the longer a shihan has been out of Japan, the more old-fashioned the reigi. Once, when in my friend's house in Tokyo, I did a bow from seiza when introduced to my friend's father - (I was early 20s at the time) - I finished, and afterwards his father asked the son to explain that he was a modern man and that sort of reigi wasn't necessary - handshakes were sufficient (and THAT was in 1977)

Dojo seem to me to be enclaves of old-fashioned-ness. Accept it or not, it's part of the "game" we play when we "play" Aikido. When (if) you're running your own dojo some time, you can do away with the reigi in normal practice, but it's a good idea to educate your students about what's considered proper if they happen to visit more conventional dojo.
Cheers,
Walter

SeiserL
02-25-2008, 04:25 PM
When in Rome ...

Ketsan
02-25-2008, 05:11 PM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.

You are learning a culture though. It's dressed up as Japanese culture but really it goes deeper than that, what you're learning is Budo, martial ways, warrior ways if you like.
A big part of that is picking up a desire to use good manners and developing and being able to demonstrate respect for other people. For one thing it keeps you safe, on the mat and off.

There's a chinese proverb that says that you're safe when polite but in danger when you're not.

I don't see how reigi builds an ego, if anything it does the opposite because bowing by defintion is an act of humility and is meaningless unless it's done in a spirit of humility and respect.
In fact if you're not feeling it then it'll show up in your reigi, you will be physically announcing to everyone who can see that you have no respect. Loose the idea that it induces anything, you, through your own hard work and deep thought develop understanding and respect which will then be reflected in the quaility of your reigi. Just like in normal life polite respectful people naturally have good manners.

Unless you mean that someone else is getting an ego from you bowing.
In which case you should bear in mind that reigi is simply a physical expression of how you feel, if I bow to someone and they get off on it, that's their problem not mine, I can't do anything about their ego. In fact, it's not my place to sort out their ego, I'm training to sort out my ego.

Hakama folding, though, I'm right their with you. Handing someone a sweaty garment to fold up...............yeah.

dps
02-25-2008, 07:01 PM
1. Discipline.
It shows that you are willing to do things you do not yet understand but is necessary to learning Aikido. If you think that a bow is not necessary or foolish then what other part of Aikido will you not want to do because you don't understand why.

2. Harmony.
Showing gratitude and thanks to others, is part of the harmony we are suppose to learn in Aikido?

David

mathewjgano
02-25-2008, 10:35 PM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido?
Ritual practice can help enstill a mindset. As has been said by other folks, respect and appreciation are often the reason we have ettiquette.

Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.
Need isn't the point. There are plenty of things we don't need in training, but they're there for a variety of reasons. Why do you think bowing produces ego instead of respect?

Joe McParland
02-25-2008, 11:46 PM
My thoughts are these:

Aikido transcends rituals, symbols, and cultural decorations.

An instructor may skillfully use rituals, symbols, and decorations---such as bowing, testing, wearing gi and hakama, folding a senior's hakama, clapping, ringing bells, burning incense, and so forth---to help students find Aikido, to point to Aikido.

When the student achieves a certain understanding, though, the student sees Aikido's principles everywhere. Consider this passage from the Art of Peace: "Do not fail to learn from the pure voice of an ever-flowing mountain stream splashing over the rocks." What sees the principles in the stream at that moment is not concerned with whether or not the attached body is wearing a hakama.

With that understanding, though, the student should neither desire nor have an aversion to bowing---or to any other of the rituals, symbols, or cultural decorations. If a student begins with this understanding, even if incomplete, he or she can learn the techniques of the physical practice from anyone, even those who have not attained the same understanding.

boyana
02-25-2008, 11:55 PM
I do not mind
Harmony and Dicipline,plus good manners!

batemanb
02-26-2008, 01:54 AM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.

You need to take a look in the mirror there Manos. Very often the things we don't like in others are a reflection from within.

In one dojo, the senior trainers/practitioners with black trousers removed their trousers in front of the students who then sat down and folded/wrapped up the trousers for the seniors. This I think takes the system of respect too far.

Folding one's hakama is part of learning the art, looking after and treating your own items with respect, the same respect you give to everyone else in the dojo. Whilst living in Japan it was not uncommon to see students requesting to fold the hakama for an "erai sensei" or in some cases the dojo cho. As with other cultural aspects within the art, this may transfer to dojo's outside of Japan. If that's the way they choose to do it in that particular dojo, learn to accept it, embrace it and become part of it, after all, that's what doing aikido is about. If you really can't get on with it, find another dojo or find another art. Aikido is for everyone, except for those who don't want it;) .

Walker
02-26-2008, 02:03 AM
When in Rome ...

evileyes LOOT AND PILLAGE!!! :D

DonMagee
02-26-2008, 07:29 AM
Honestly, if it didn't have funny clothes and exotic culture, how many of us would be doing it?

I've been to bjj schools that bowed on the mats and to each other. On the last fight quest, the krav maga classes were bowing to each other. That's one I can't figure out, as far as I know bowing is not part of that culture.

At my judo and bjj schools, we do not bow on the mat. We just walk on. I've offended a few people when I visited their schools by forgetting that most places do bow on the mat. I even once offended a judo black belt by referring to a the brown cord around my waist as a belt and not a obe.

Some people try to hard, but what ya gonna do.

ramenboy
02-26-2008, 07:42 AM
hey manos, what drew you to aikido then? cool flips and throws? a good steven seagal movie (truthfully, that's what did it for me)?

any martial arts school, dojo, dojang you visit will have some sort of ritual bowing and set uniform. you can[t get away from it.

westerners shake hands. people from the east bow. europeans kiss. its all a sign of respect...dogs sniff each other's butts.

SeiserL
02-26-2008, 07:53 AM
evileyes LOOT AND PILLAGE!!! :D
Yep, its my Viking heritage too.

CarrieP
02-26-2008, 08:52 AM
A question and a comment.

One, can you explain what you mean when you say that you think bowing gives ego? I don't want to make an assumption on what you mean by that statement.

Two, I recently asked my Sensei a bowing question, and in the process of answering, he also talked about bowing being an active process of the training--not just for historical purposes, but for developing a sense of the center/hara. Which is something I'd not thought about before, but it made a lot of sense, and has gotten me to really try to work on my bowing, to make it more deliberate rather than a quick shrug of the shoulders.

Fred Little
02-26-2008, 09:34 AM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.

To steal....I mean creatively appropriate... a trope from Ellis, this is one more example of a secret of core physical competencies (http://www.healthline.com/blogs/exercise_fitness/2007/06/calories-burned-in-prayer.html) Hidden in Plain Sight.

Why people or culture initially adopt a practice is one question. When people or cultures retain particular practices for long periods of time, there are probably multiple reasons.

The efficacy of bowing in the maintenance of the full range of function of the back, hips, quads, knees, ankles, and toes is a basic physical explanation that has a good bit of utility beyond the merely sociological justifications that are often cited.

Best,

FL

mari
02-26-2008, 12:11 PM
Are you sure this guy isn't pulling our leg?:rolleyes: I can't take his questions and comments seriously. Seriously!

odudog
02-26-2008, 12:38 PM
In one dojo, the senior trainers/practitioners with black trousers removed their trousers in front of the students who then sat down and folded/wrapped up the trousers for the seniors. This I think takes the system of respect too far.

This is only done for Shihans. It is a sign of respect and is an honor to be the person folding the hakama for him or her.

"...It's possible to go overboard - I've been in dojo where we were expected to watch in seiza if the shihan came over to help and was demonstrating with our partner, and then to do a bow in seiza..."

This is how things are done at Aikikai Honbu dojo. I would assume that they know the proper etiquette.

Fred Little
02-26-2008, 01:39 PM
This is only done for Shihans. It is a sign of respect and is an honor to be the person folding the hakama for him or her.

Certainly, in some groups, this is only done for Shihan.

There is one group in my immediate geographical area that I have observed on multiple occasions in which senior kyu ranked students are apparently expected to fold hakama for yudansha, and to regard the act as "a sign of respect and....an honor."

With regard for Shihan, Visiting Instructors, and the like, it has always seemed to me that there are always half-a-dozen people or more hoping to ask a question or express their thanks for the class, and the point is to free up the Shihan/Visiting Instructor/What-Have-You to deal with that as expeditiously as possible.

Reinforcement of social distinctions through provision of personal services is not a value we particularly need to import. At least, that's my view. YMMV.

Best,

FL

saha
02-26-2008, 01:40 PM
The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art. This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism. Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing. Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan. You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following primitive Japanese rituals? Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!

ramenboy
02-26-2008, 01:51 PM
Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!

AAAAAAAAAAAH! the master has spoken. N0W M0RE B0WING!!!! ITS A PAIN IN THE NECK! AND TAKE Y0UR TR0USERS T0 THE DRY CLEANER LIKE EVERY0NE ELSE!!!!


manos,

what country are you from? what do you do to show respect for someone in your country?

Marie Noelle Fequiere
02-26-2008, 02:14 PM
Discipline is necessary in martial arts training for the same reason it's necessary in the army. Somebody who cannot tolerate it will not be able to refrain from using the lethal skills they have learned in the dojo when circumstances do not call for it. Not to mention the fact that you just cannot teach a group of people who are rowdy and unfocussed. And when you think of your instructor as just a nice dude, you will be more tempted not to pay attention to his teaching.
In our school, we have to bow from seiza every time Sensei is done demonstrating a technique, and to say: Arigato! Then, we can get on our feet and start practicing.
This doesn't seem to get into Sensei's head, and he is always pleased to exchange a few jokes after class before leaving.
If you want to learn something, bowing seems to be only a very minor inconvenience to deal with.

Ron Tisdale
02-26-2008, 02:40 PM
More Attachment below:

The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art. This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism. Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing. Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan. You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following primitive Japanese rituals? Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!

odudog
02-26-2008, 04:02 PM
The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art. This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism. Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing. Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan. You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following primitive Japanese rituals? Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!

Bowing is done by everyone in Japan even to this day. It is their form of shaking hands. It was never just a geisha thing. Besides, it's much easier to just bow to someone across the street in a way of saying hello than it is to try and stretch your arm across the street to shake the other person's hand.

Keith Larman
02-26-2008, 04:05 PM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.

When I see an American friend while out I'll smile, walk over, say "hello" and grab their hand and move it up and down. I'll not get too close, I'll not let my face get too close to their face, and I'll be very sure not to spittle on them when I say it.

With my stepmother, well, she's French. Cheek kisses all around.

With most of my family it is a good hearty hug.

With some of my wife's relatives who are still more Japanese than American, there is more bowing and less hugging and kissing -- that kind of touching just isn't done, at least in public. There we might see a small bow or two. With the Japanese side that is more Americanized (like my wife -- fourth generation -- I'm more Norwegian than she is Japanese) it's no different than my family. Although her parents are a bit more standoffish with the hugging thing. But I'm bringing them around...

When I'm talking with the wife of the founder of my style of Aikido, well, I bow a lot. And I listen. She is older than me, knows more than me, and deserves a great deal of respect. I show that by listening, not intruding on her space without invitation, and by bowing a lot.

On the mat we have certain conventions as well. In most dojo I've trained in the bowing has nothing to do with ego. The only ones who've ever said it does were visiting Muslims who were prohibited from bowing to another person. In their upbringing the act of bowing carried connotations of submission.

Bowing with Japanese people or in Japanese context *can* be about expressing hierarchy. But in most cases in the dojo bowing is more just basic reflexive conventions. Like shaking hands. Or kissing on the cheek. Or hugging. Or thumbs up. Or clapping. Or whatever cultural method is used to signal simple good manners.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Too often people read way too much into certain things. At that point you have to ask if the meaning is there in the act or is it you importing that meaning yourself.

The thought in my mind when bowing to my sensei is "thank you for sharing and thank you for training with me". When I'm teaching the thought in my mind when bowing is "thank you for giving me the chance to teach and thank you for training with me". In other words it has nothing to do with hierarchy or ego. I'm equally annoyed when someone who outranks me won't bow at a relevant time as I am with someone who I outrank does the same.

lbb
02-26-2008, 05:09 PM
This is a real "blind men and the elephant" of a thread, I'm thinking. Plenty of people disagreeing with OP, and yet more than a few of them make their own assertions about the way it's supposed to be, or whether a certain practice is "going overboard" or not respectful enough. I say you can't look at a behavior out of context and say that you know what it signifies.

(...and yeah, I fold sensei's hakama after class, as often as not. It ain't no big deal, ya know?)

mathewjgano
02-26-2008, 06:08 PM
The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art.
Sure but this begs the question of what one is doing if they aren't too concerned with the rituals, yet still practice them. Perhaps for some the ritual is just a good reminder to practice humility.

This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism.
This can happen in any institution, but it doesn't mean it's worthless like you assert.

Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing.
One doesn't bow to feel humble. One bows in the expression of humility. No, simply bowing means nothing, you're right. However, simply removing it will not make people any more likely to be humble.

Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan.
Primitive is perhaps not the best choice in words, in my opinion. Besides, I personally don't care how it was used. I care about how I use it now. It's only as meaningless as the individual doing it makes it.

You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following...Japanese rituals?
You can; just as you can be a Christian and learn Yoga by following Hindu tenets. It's out there. The reason it's so common is the same reason most arts tend to carry cultural affectations. When one person visits anothers's personal space to learn something, you learn the way they teach. Tradition has been around for a long time...it's kind of traditional. Certainly, traditions change (hence the places that use their own traditions in lieu of those of the arts motherland), but they are not automatically good or bad and to say they are seems a bit rash to me.

Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!
Well then you're bowing from the wrong part of the spine:D . I agree though, if you can't quit bowing, you definately have a problem.
Take care,
Matt

Angela Dunn
02-27-2008, 06:01 AM
The explanation we got for the Bows in our dojo is it's a sign of trust and respect. It signifies that you are not going to intentionally hurt each other. I like that explanation a lot, I mean if your bowing to someone your leaving your neck vunerable for attack so I fugure thats where the trust part comes in.

Its just something I do almost automatically now but then I have come from a long background of understanding how people show respect. I figure its now no diffrent from school where we stood up when a teacher walked into the room, the salute we done to superiours when I was in cadets or wippping your feet on the doormat when you enter another persons house. Or Calling your Sensei well Sensei.

If The OP, does not like to bow then I wonder why. I know some people have religious reasons for not bowing and thats fair enough but to say its old fashioned etc (as an example) then , well its just part of aikido and if you don't like it then maybe its not the art for you.

Keith Larman
02-27-2008, 08:58 AM
Wow. With all the good stuff I get out of training in Aikido I never thought someone would have a problem with the bowing. It is a Japanese art with a Japanese lineage. And depending on where you go the Japanese etiquette tends to come along with it in varied degrees.

In our dojo we bow in, bow when we start and finish training with a partner, bow to each other when someone takes time to explain something, then bow out. We don't line up by rank when we line up (which sometimes throws visitors). I have routinely found myself sitting between two shichidan which can be kinda weird if you're tuned into that kind of thing. But it is how we train.

And frankly if we didn't bow and didn't wear hakama it would make no difference to me whatsoever. I can easily imagine a group that doesn't do either doing really good training as well. Maybe a handshake. Maybe a "what's up?" with a raised eyebrow when you walk in. Whatever.

Who cares? The bowing doesn't cause ego. Wearing a hakama doesn't cause ego. Someone with ego problems causes ego. And blowhard buffoons exist everywhere.

I suppose you could argue that groups with tons of etiquette and symbols become attractive to those with issues of ego -- here's a place where they can feed the ego more easily I suppose. but again, that's the disease of that person and not the etiquette itself.

Or to go back to a saying a group of us had made for t-shirts at a seminar... Damatte keikoshiro. "Close your mouth and train".

Or as a friend of mine says, more mat, less chat.

If the training is good, who cares about the costume? If the group you're in has folk who fall into the trap of ego, avoid them. Or go somewhere else. I've seen great training in highly traditional settings and I've seen great training in a garage dojo with t-shirt and shorts. And I've seen garbage fully dressed up and garbage fully dressed down.

Hang around long enough and you learn what's good. The packaging makes little difference. I don't mind tying on my hakama and bowing a lot. I've learned enough Japanese to not embarass myself (much). I know enough of the etiquette to be reasonably able to work in most groups. That's not the difficult part. I just want more time to train...

Again, the etiquette doesn't "cause" ego. It may attract more people with ego problems, but it isn't the reason they have it. Having it won't "give" a normal person a gigantic ego -- they had a propensity for it to begin with. And quite frankly there are a few folk who find problems of ego everywhere in part because of a lack of confidence in themselves. It's an easy to way to dismiss those who've gone before them and put in the training. If you have a problem with understanding that others might have something good to show you, that you might not know it all, that you might actually need to be helped, well, it's a lot easier to just write them off as an elitist airhead...

Ignore the trappings. They're incidental to the reason you're there. Train.

Funny how this thread seems to center on the same themes as the one on wearing hakama...

Brett Charvat
02-27-2008, 10:00 AM
I'm surprised by how many posters here relegate bowing to a mere exercise in reigi. I'm of the opinion that it is in every sense of the word, waza.

ramenboy
02-27-2008, 10:01 AM
...Funny how this thread seems to center on the same themes as the one on wearing hakama...

touché, keith! i've felt the same way reading through them the last couple days.

kind of reminds me of the someone who wants to learn to fly a plane, but doesn't care about take off or landing. well...not so much... :P


More Attachment...

hahahahahaha

Bronson
02-27-2008, 01:18 PM
More Attachment below:

Hey Ron,

Can you repost? I couldn't open the attachment ;)

Bronson

Jack M.
02-27-2008, 01:19 PM
When I took tae kwon do classes, we bowed to the sensei as well as to each other. To me, it was a reminder that all people, myself included, are to be respected and treated with consideration. We are all the same.

Ron Tisdale
02-27-2008, 01:24 PM
I would, but the OP beat me to it... :D

B,
R

Bronson
02-27-2008, 01:48 PM
I figure that in almost all situations that I can think of you really only have two options.

1) Accept the situation as it is.

2) Change the situation.

Since the Original Poster isn't going to change the way the Aikido masses practice their art he's going to have to look for another way. He's pretty much left with accepting it as it is, or changing something in himself (possibly changing arts).

Either way there should be less complaining and more training :D

Bronson

Jennifer Yabut
02-27-2008, 02:19 PM
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.

Just wondering...how long have you been studying Aikido, and have you studied any other martial arts? Because as others said, you'll be hard-pressed to find one that does *not* have some form of bowing.

saha
02-27-2008, 02:31 PM
I am not against bowing. Just a bow or prayer at the beginning and end of the training session suffices. How many times do you need to bow or say thank you, I respect you? Respect is understood, not acted. In love, there is no thank you. If you love your master, there is no need to say thank you every time.
The hakama folding I think teaches servitude rather than anything else. Its disgusting to fold someone's sweaty hakama but maybe its a gay thing.

Ron Tisdale
02-27-2008, 02:41 PM
I see...you have something against homosexuals?

I think someone else who suggested you are having us on is correct.

Good one,
Ron

akiy
02-27-2008, 02:46 PM
Thread closed due to trolling behavior.

-- Jun