PDA

View Full Version : To bow or not to bow


Pages : [1] 2

Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


torbjornsaw
09-25-2010, 01:33 AM
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.
We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?

WilliB
09-25-2010, 02:42 AM
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.
We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?

We have a had Moroccon, Turkish, and Tunesian visitors here, all muslims, and none of them had any problems bowing to either the shomen, the teacher, or to each other.

You can remind him that he is bowing to show respect, not to pray to any deity. If he still wants to make an issue out of it, I think you ask him to find another place.

torbjornsaw
09-25-2010, 03:15 AM
Thank you,

Yes I've had several other Muslim students that do not find it a problem. He does understand the reasons for our etiquette and its tradition of respect but his faith only allow a full bow during formal prayers.

I had a Jewish student that could not bow to O Sensei's picture but had no problems to bow to my little Kamidana (the small wooden shrine on the wall), so I just moved O Sensei's picture a little to the side.

In Iwama O Sensei did not bow to his own picture or of that of another but he bowed to the Kamidana (Spirit altar). So I often say we bow in respect to the Spirit (or God if you prefer).

There are many differing understandings to what that refers to but I subscribe to a full spiritual understanding based on personal experience that is possible to convey to another of its significance and relatedness to normal human matters.

We bow and do not pray. We can pray in front of the kamidana but then we enter a new field of practice. Bowing is a practice in itself that I find worth doing regardless of beliefs.

I asked the man to explain his reasons to the students he bow to in order not to cause any undo confusion. It's a little strange if one person bows the whole way to the floor and the other only nods. I see Aikido to be a meeting point and as such we also meet in the bow to each other. With that in mind my students would honor his way and nod in a similar way to make a balanced greeting. But then his ways has overtaken the ways of the dojo and all alike would have to change their conduct his. And even then, maybe most of us liberal minded westerners wouldn't mind to comply without any concern; -Just let's us get on with training will you!

What to do?

shakou
09-25-2010, 06:31 AM
I think in this instance it has to be a majority rule. After all he has chose to come to the dojo. He surely should know what practicing martial arts entails; both practice and etiquette and by buying in this he is therefore commiting himself to dojo practices. If he is no comfortable with that then he may well have to find another place to practice.

We bow in a slightly more raised manner to what you describe and one ex karate guy still has his old habbit of bowing to the floor which is highlighted, more for the mirth really than to actually have a go at him but it is the same thing. Sensei states our dojo do not bow overly formalally so we don't. In iaido however we go through the full forehead to the ground bowing practice and we all accept this.

I think when you look at it, a majority of people practicing in the west would consider themselves Christian with Christian beliefs and a Christian God ( personally I am Athiest) and find no issue bowing to a foreign spirit or idolising a picture of the founder, it is just what we do and the way it is and this is tradition which cannot really be tampered with because of someone elses beliefs.

I think the pragmatic answer would be to like it or lump it :D

Hellis
09-25-2010, 08:35 AM
This is a problem that has been raised before. I would imagine that many dojos have shared your problem, as I have. I have other students that are of the Muslim faith who have no issue with bowing.
I did have one visitor that was not so understanding. I did the explaining necessary, he was most adamant that he would bow to no man.. I told him there was no place in my dojo for him. I was threatened with being reported to various tree hugging organisations..I teach the way I was taught over fifty years ago, Like it or lump it.

Henry Ellis
http://kenshiroabbe.blogspot.com

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 08:58 AM
We have a had Moroccon, Turkish, and Tunesian visitors here, all muslims, and none of them had any problems bowing to either the shomen, the teacher, or to each other.

You can remind him that he is bowing to show respect, not to pray to any deity. If he still wants to make an issue out of it, I think you ask him to find another place.

Islam, like any other religion, is hardly monolithic, so the fact that some Muslims have no problem with bowing isn't really relevant to the fact that other Muslims feel that it violates a principle of their faith.

If Aikido is a way to reconcile the world then it will have to adapt to other people and cultures, not kick them out when they refuse to comply with a physical ritual that really has nothing to do with Aikido practice.

Best,

Chris

WilliB
09-25-2010, 09:50 AM
If Aikido is a way to reconcile the world then it will have to adapt to other people and cultures, not kick them out when they refuse to comply with a physical ritual that really has nothing to do with Aikido practice.
Chris

But if Aikido wants to adapt to everybody to suit their tastes, then what is it? If you are all things to everybody, you are nothing.

In case of the visitor in question, I am sure he can find plenty of sports where he does not have to bow to anything.

Gorgeous George
09-25-2010, 11:13 AM
If Aikido is a way to reconcile the world then it will have to adapt to other people and cultures, not kick them out when they refuse to comply with a physical ritual that really has nothing to do with Aikido practice.

Best,

Chris

I thought that yielding, showing respect for others, and humility, had something to do with aikido.

Nick P.
09-25-2010, 11:57 AM
I can only control my actions and beliefs, not those of others; until such time as someones actions (or absence of action, in this case) puts me or someone else at bodily risk, I care little what they do or do not do. I carry on with my training and following dojo etiquette to the best of my ability.

I might not like what they do or do not do, but in the end, it matters little, if at all, to my travelling my path.

Rob Watson
09-25-2010, 12:13 PM
I've found that folks that are insistent on their way are soon on their way.

Brett Charvat
09-25-2010, 12:37 PM
"If Aikido is a way to reconcile the world then it will have to adapt to other people and cultures, not kick them out when they refuse to comply with a physical ritual that really has nothing to do with Aikido practice."

--That's interesting. I always thought of reiho as one of the more important lessons within Aikido practice.

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 01:05 PM
"If Aikido is a way to reconcile the world then it will have to adapt to other people and cultures, not kick them out when they refuse to comply with a physical ritual that really has nothing to do with Aikido practice."

--That's interesting. I always thought of reiho as one of the more important lessons within Aikido practice.

And reiho is confined to the specific physical act of bowing? There's plenty of reiho around the world that involves none of that.

I respect that the founder was born in Japan, but I wasn't, and I don't live there anymore.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 01:09 PM
But if Aikido wants to adapt to everybody to suit their tastes, then what is it? If you are all things to everybody, you are nothing.

In case of the visitor in question, I am sure he can find plenty of sports where he does not have to bow to anything.

So any change means complete change? That's a specious argument if I ever heard one.

There are any number of things that you would experience if you trained in the Founder's dojo that most people never experience now - but Aikido doesn't seem to have devolved all that far quite yet.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 01:28 PM
I thought that yielding, showing respect for others, and humility, had something to do with aikido.

And they're never going to learn about those things if they're kept out of the dojo...

Best,

Chris

Janet Rosen
09-25-2010, 01:44 PM
If I were running a dojo (which I never expect to do) I would probably not insist on the bow, but I also respect the decisions of dojochos to do so in their dojos.

To me personally, refusing to train w/ another member of the dojo on gender or any basis other than personal safety concerns is outside the pale, because it directly effects the other dojo members. But the bow need not do so. YMMV.

Brett Charvat
09-25-2010, 02:01 PM
"And reiho is confined to the specific physical act of bowing?"

--Did I say that? I view bowing to be an expression of reiho, yes. To say that I view reiho as only expressable through bowing seems more than a bit spurious.

"There's plenty of reiho around the world that involves none of that."

--Agreed, but I thought we were discussing a specific situation involving a specific aikidojo in which bowing was considered a part of their reiho. To refuse to do so in the context of that specific aikidojo, whatever the reason, is in my opinion poor manners.

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 03:51 PM
"And reiho is confined to the specific physical act of bowing?"

--Did I say that? I view bowing to be an expression of reiho, yes. To say that I view reiho as only expressable through bowing seems more than a bit spurious.

"There's plenty of reiho around the world that involves none of that."

--Agreed, but I thought we were discussing a specific situation involving a specific aikidojo in which bowing was considered a part of their reiho. To refuse to do so in the context of that specific aikidojo, whatever the reason, is in my opinion poor manners.

Well, they'll never learn better manners (if they are better) if you turn them away. Just how important is bowing in relation to the opportunity to teach one more person Aikido?

Maybe 20 years ago I had a student who was an Orthodox Jew and wouldn't bow. I didn't care one way or the other, but we had a seminar with another instructor (Japanese, and a long time student of the Founder) so I checked with them first to make sure that there wouldn't be any problems. The instructor just looked at me like I was stupid even for considering that it might be a problem.

Really, in the grand scheme of things, is whether or not somebody bows really that important?

Best,

Chris

Brett Charvat
09-25-2010, 05:37 PM
"Well, they'll never learn better manners (if they are better) if you turn them away."

--Sure they will; they just won't learn it in the context of aikido at my dojo. And I'm not turning them away; they are turning them away through refusal to practice as the rest of us do.

"Really, in the grand scheme of things, is whether or not somebody bows really that important?"

--I guess not to some folks, and that's their business. But for me it seems to be an indication that the person in question only wants to take advantage of aikido by picking and choosing what parts of it they will do. I have trouble with that mentality. If someone really, truly wants to study aikido with me, they are welcome to come and abide by the rules of the dojo. If they do not wish to abide by the rules of the dojo, they are welcome to do something else with their time.

Of course, my opinion has probably been reinforced by my small amount of training in a koryu art. Refusing to bow there would be what might be referred to as a serious problem.

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 06:05 PM
"Well, they'll never learn better manners (if they are better) if you turn them away."

--Sure they will; they just won't learn it in the context of aikido at my dojo. And I'm not turning them away; they are turning them away through refusal to practice as the rest of us do.

"Really, in the grand scheme of things, is whether or not somebody bows really that important?"

--I guess not to some folks, and that's their business. But for me it seems to be an indication that the person in question only wants to take advantage of aikido by picking and choosing what parts of it they will do. I have trouble with that mentality. If someone really, truly wants to study aikido with me, they are welcome to come and abide by the rules of the dojo. If they do not wish to abide by the rules of the dojo, they are welcome to do something else with their time.

Of course, my opinion has probably been reinforced by my small amount of training in a koryu art. Refusing to bow there would be what might be referred to as a serious problem.

I've trained in two different koryu arts - but they aren't Aikido and the customs and purposes are different.

Best,

Chris

BWells
09-25-2010, 06:07 PM
I 100% agree with Janet. In our dojo, if a student does not want to bow it is no big deal. If they refused to train with others because of gender, religion, race we not want them as a student. The issue on the bowing is how are they as far as respect and sincerity otherwise. If they are respectful of the teacher, students, dojo and art otherwise, then the bowing thing is just a belief that has no impact on the rest of us.

torbjornsaw
09-25-2010, 06:23 PM
Thank you for all the replies. I want to add a response from a friend of mine living in Florida:

"You have a sort of post modern liberation theology in a world that is mostly literal in religious interpretation. However, you are taking a literal stance on this bowing issue in aikido etiquette. I can see why this is such a problem for you. I can only give you my own anecdote and hope it helps.

Now I'm an American rational agnostic/integral novice doing a Japanese art. I bow and claps hands every other day before class along side a Chinese Jamaican American that is a Muslim. She does not bow but she claps hands and is always more than respectful and far more committed to aikido than I am at the moment. She shows up for every class no matter what and that says a lot more to me than one thousand bows. My point is is that consistency and commitment hold far more weight in shedding ego than performing a social norm that exists thousands of miles away.

You aren't crazy for wanting your dojo to be about spiritual discipline along side learning a martial art. But it seems that if you apply such strict rules you may run the risk of making your aikido tent smaller than it could be.

According to O Sensei: Daily training in the Art of Peace allows your inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter. Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts, or shackles anything. It embraces all and purifies everything."

lbb
09-25-2010, 06:33 PM
I thought that yielding, showing respect for others, and humility, had something to do with aikido.

Right! So, let's all insist that the other person yield and show respect and humility first, and if they don't, we'll screech that they're not showing the spirit of aikido! :rolleyes:

Marc Abrams
09-25-2010, 07:26 PM
Right! So, let's all insist that the other person yield and show respect and humility first, and if they don't, we'll screech that they're not showing the spirit of aikido! :rolleyes:

I not only concur with Mary's position but would like add my observations. It seems that the very religious people seem to have no problem demanding that others respect all aspects of their observations of their religious traditions, while being so resistant to allowing people from other traditions to do the same.

The Aikido dojo is a place where a Japanese tradition is being practiced and observed. Part of that tradition is some bowing. Respect for that tradition on my part means that I bow when appropriate. It is the free choice a person to train or not train in an Aikido dojo. If that person exercises that free choice, then that person should also be responsible for carrying out the traditions that are entailed in that training. If a person makes the decision not to engage in training in a respectful manner of a Japanese martial art, then they can look for a dojo other than mine to train in. If I can show that degree of respect for traditions and actions of a culture other than mine, than I do not see why I should allow other people to do less than that.

Marc Abrams

WilliB
09-25-2010, 09:01 PM
I not only concur with Mary's position but would like add my observations. It seems that the very religious people seem to have no problem demanding that others respect all aspects of their observations of their religious traditions, while being so resistant to allowing people from other traditions to do the same.

The Aikido dojo is a place where a Japanese tradition is being practiced and observed. Part of that tradition is some bowing. Respect for that tradition on my part means that I bow when appropriate. It is the free choice a person to train or not train in an Aikido dojo. If that person exercises that free choice, then that person should also be responsible for carrying out the traditions that are entailed in that training. If a person makes the decision not to engage in training in a respectful manner of a Japanese martial art, then they can look for a dojo other than mine to train in. If I can show that degree of respect for traditions and actions of a culture other than mine, than I do not see why I should allow other people to do less than that.

Marc Abrams

I think you are spot on. One more aspect to this: One of the things that holds Aikido together is a common set of rules, including Japanese etiquette. That is why I can visit dojos all over the world and fit in. If you make an exception for this guy, he will have to re-explain his position everywhere he goes, and in particular in Japan it will be really awkward. So, is he promising to only have your dojo adapt to his rule, or do you want to have his future problems reflect on you? Consider that too.

Chris Li
09-25-2010, 09:59 PM
I think you are spot on. One more aspect to this: One of the things that holds Aikido together is a common set of rules, including Japanese etiquette. That is why I can visit dojos all over the world and fit in. If you make an exception for this guy, he will have to re-explain his position everywhere he goes, and in particular in Japan it will be really awkward. So, is he promising to only have your dojo adapt to his rule, or do you want to have his future problems reflect on you? Consider that too.

Well, he's not demanding that anybody else adapt to his rule and stop bowing, just asking if it would be alright for him to do so. If he needs to explain it, than he needs to explain it - it's not that big a deal. I lived and trained in Japan for a number of years (more than 10), and nowhere that I trained Aikido would have any particular problem with someone not bowing.

Best,

Chris

aikishihan
09-25-2010, 10:10 PM
Etiquette is a most useful tool to assist people of independent thinking, different cultural and ethnic origins, and for life tested individuals to suspend for the moment, their particular biases, beliefs and boundaries, for the good of harmonious and respectful social interaction with one another. The human species is the only one I am aware of that finds this to be useful and important.

Nonetheless, such standards of etiquette are at best, arbitrarily determined, culturally specific, and never intended to be an all inclusive invitation for anyone to join without condition or consequence. In other words, they are primarily designed to discriminate amongst potential participants in a specified social function or activity. You either comply with such standards, willingly or not, or be potentially ostracized and banished from further involvement with the specific privileges and activities defined by such arbitrary and inherently unfair boundaries of applied etiquette.

From what I know or think of the Founder of Aikido, he would probably dismiss the entire conversation of “bowing” as a silly distraction to the goal of his Aikido, which is to create and maintain an environment where anyone who is honest and willing to work through differences of style, experience, preferences and misunderstandings, can find common ground in the generous capacity for tolerance and compassion expressly to be found in his Aikido.

When we make such a “big deal” over a singular point of required etiquette, we face the real risk of ignoring and perhaps losing the very essence of why we gather together to train. It is not for the reason of reinforcing mandatory standards of behavior, as much as allowing ourselves to remain open to new and sometimes challenging points of reference different from ours. We are in effect taking our eyes off the goal of growing together in Aiki through the medium of respectful, and open hearted as well as open minded training. It is perhaps in this way of reaching out to one another through such training that we are open to finding common ground on matters not necessarily tied to training, but to the essence of how we agree to go along to get along.

I have had several instances of earnest and well meaning people share with me their reservations of bowing to the shomen, who in every other way, were respectful, considerate of each other, and committed to training in good faith with the rest of the group. If I had capriciously terminated their membership, it would be my dojo, myself and my sense of the Founder’s Aikido that would have suffered an irreparable loss. The fact that I did not yield to such an arbitrary and short sided reaction has resulted in excellent students of Aikido, and the maintenance of mutual respect and harmony in my dojo.

Perhaps a frank and quiet discussion of the reasons for the traditional trappings of common dojo etiquette would be the first order of business with such a troubled member, and agree on some alternative means acceptable to all, that would take the place of bowing to a shomen or kamiza, which never has guaranteed the true heart and intention of the individual anyway.

The late Shoji Nishio Sensei wrote of “Yurusu Budo”, which I take to be “acceptance” of a temporarily unsatisfactory situation, while a universally fair and acceptable solution is being honestly and compassionately worked out through genuine Aikido training and synergistic interaction.

Gorgeous George
09-25-2010, 11:23 PM
Right! So, let's all insist that the other person yield and show respect and humility first, and if they don't, we'll screech that they're not showing the spirit of aikido! :rolleyes:

I don't understand...are you under the impression that I have conveyed it to be the case that my opinion is that I should show respect and humility anterior to somebody else?

If you are: you are completely wrong.

WilliB
09-26-2010, 02:55 AM
I lived and trained in Japan for a number of years (more than 10), and nowhere that I trained Aikido would have any particular problem with someone not bowing.


Really? So did you actually meet people here who refuse to bow?
I have been living here longer than that, and I have never seen the issue come up, simply because I have never met a foreigner who refused to follow the etiquette.

Marc Abrams
09-26-2010, 06:55 AM
Etiquette is a most useful tool to assist people of independent thinking, different cultural and ethnic origins, and for life tested individuals to suspend for the moment, their particular biases, beliefs and boundaries, for the good of harmonious and respectful social interaction with one another. The human species is the only one I am aware of that finds this to be useful and important.

Nonetheless, such standards of etiquette are at best, arbitrarily determined, culturally specific, and never intended to be an all inclusive invitation for anyone to join without condition or consequence. In other words, they are primarily designed to discriminate amongst potential participants in a specified social function or activity. You either comply with such standards, willingly or not, or be potentially ostracized and banished from further involvement with the specific privileges and activities defined by such arbitrary and inherently unfair boundaries of applied etiquette.

From what I know or think of the Founder of Aikido, he would probably dismiss the entire conversation of “bowing” as a silly distraction to the goal of his Aikido, which is to create and maintain an environment where anyone who is honest and willing to work through differences of style, experience, preferences and misunderstandings, can find common ground in the generous capacity for tolerance and compassion expressly to be found in his Aikido.

When we make such a “big deal” over a singular point of required etiquette, we face the real risk of ignoring and perhaps losing the very essence of why we gather together to train. It is not for the reason of reinforcing mandatory standards of behavior, as much as allowing ourselves to remain open to new and sometimes challenging points of reference different from ours. We are in effect taking our eyes off the goal of growing together in Aiki through the medium of respectful, and open hearted as well as open minded training. It is perhaps in this way of reaching out to one another through such training that we are open to finding common ground on matters not necessarily tied to training, but to the essence of how we agree to go along to get along.

I have had several instances of earnest and well meaning people share with me their reservations of bowing to the shomen, who in every other way, were respectful, considerate of each other, and committed to training in good faith with the rest of the group. If I had capriciously terminated their membership, it would be my dojo, myself and my sense of the Founder’s Aikido that would have suffered an irreparable loss. The fact that I did not yield to such an arbitrary and short sided reaction has resulted in excellent students of Aikido, and the maintenance of mutual respect and harmony in my dojo.

Perhaps a frank and quiet discussion of the reasons for the traditional trappings of common dojo etiquette would be the first order of business with such a troubled member, and agree on some alternative means acceptable to all, that would take the place of bowing to a shomen or kamiza, which never has guaranteed the true heart and intention of the individual anyway.

The late Shoji Nishio Sensei wrote of “Yurusu Budo”, which I take to be “acceptance” of a temporarily unsatisfactory situation, while a universally fair and acceptable solution is being honestly and compassionately worked out through genuine Aikido training and synergistic interaction.

Takahashi Sensei:

I agree with the overall context of your message, but disagree to the point to which our openness is not matched by the openness of others to experience and take part in the traditions of another culture. This refusal is based upon their unwillingness to consider that an action within the context and milieu of another culture/tradition is not the same and does not have the same meaning, obligation..... as the one from which they are viewing it from.

If religion is suppose to be about enlightenment, why does it so often times get interpreted as the narrowing of perspective and inability to think beyond how people are told to think?

Marc Abrams

WilliB
09-26-2010, 08:18 AM
If religion is suppose to be about enlightenment, why does it so often times get interpreted as the narrowing of perspective and inability to think beyond how people are told to think?


Religion is not "about enlightenment". Religion is about faith in unprovable dogmas.

The age of enlightenment is something that happened in the West, liberating the people from religious thought suppression. However, there are other religions which have never been faced with an age of enlightenment.

Gorgeous George
09-26-2010, 08:55 AM
Religion is not "about enlightenment". Religion is about faith in unprovable dogmas.

The age of enlightenment is something that happened in the West, liberating the people from religious thought suppression. However, there are other religions which have never been faced with an age of enlightenment.

Hear hear.

When you have a god's command about what is right (backed by the threat of an eternal bath in sulphur), there is no question of contemplating other viewpoints: they're simply wrong, and hellworthy - hence the whole 'unending religious violence' thing.

aikishihan
09-26-2010, 09:40 AM
Hello Abrams Sensei,

May I say that I enjoy and appreciate your thoughts on the human perspectives people bring to their discussions and to actual training in Aikido. Your frank, and at times passionate perspectives on the expressed attitudes and positions of others are both informative and interesting. Thank you for responding to my thoughts.

You are correct in that we should not compel or otherwise coerce others to comply or to adopt any of the tenets of traditions we happen to hold dear and inviolate. As Americans, we remain free to choose, and to vote with our feet.

Nevertheless, I have found that students with significant martial arts experience other than Aikido, are quite often challenged to readily adopt or otherwise adjust to the different environment and guidelines for training in new dojos. It should be expected that they need time to let go of deeply held beliefs and habits that they may not know that they still have, even as they sincerely attempt to understand and incorporate the nuances of a new culture and style of behavior.

As long as these people remain sincere and diligent in their efforts to conform, isn’t it worth our time, patience and a wee bit of tolerance, to afford them a chance to assimilate this new culture? I have found this to be worthwhile, and while not always successful, the overall results verify applying Aiki compassion to and acceptance of people’s natural foibles and resistance to change.

Yes, Aikido is not a religion, yet we are able to judiciously apply Aiki Principles to broaden our own perspectives, and to perhaps help others to think beyond and outside of whatever box they find themselves in.

Even hermit crabs accept that they will need to change their “homes” to survive and to grow

Russ Q
09-26-2010, 10:51 AM
I don't get the issue here....if the student is sincere, respectful and committed (which in the OP's case, the student may be too new to tell...) then why not have him show respect via another gesture? That would speak to the spirit of the bow. Maybe a big smile would suffice in the meantime. This fellow may end up getting it and allow the practice of aikido (all of it) to transform him....or, he may not and decide to leave. Either way, as Takahashi sensei says, as dojocho it is worth a bit of patience and tolerance to give a sincere person the chance to adapt in some fashion and be transformed by this art.

WilliB
09-26-2010, 11:01 AM
I don't get the issue here....if the student is sincere, respectful and committed (which in the OP's case, the student may be too new to tell...) then why not have him show respect via another gesture? That would speak to the spirit of the bow. Maybe a big smile would suffice in the meantime.

A big smile?? You have to be kidding.

I don´t understand the issue either -- if he doesnt want to follow Japanese etiquette, why doesnt he go to kickboxing or something.

And no, it is not only a personal issue. If the teacher allows this, he has changed the dynamic from "this is what we do" to "this is optional". Not the same at all.

lbb
09-26-2010, 02:20 PM
I don't understand...are you under the impression that I have conveyed it to be the case that my opinion is that I should show respect and humility anterior to somebody else?

If you are: you are completely wrong.

I'm not sure how to parse that first sentence. "are you under the impression that I have conveyed it to be the case that my opinion is that"...wow. Can we just reduce all that to, "Do you think that my opinion is that..."? Yes?

So, do I think that your opinion is that you should show respect and humility anterior to somebody else...again, I'm lost. Call it the fault of biology classes, but "anterior" to me refers to something towards an animal's head end. If "anterior" is the word you meant to use, then I may or may not be "completely wrong", as you say, but I'm definitely completely confused.

Marc Abrams
09-26-2010, 02:45 PM
Hello Abrams Sensei,

May I say that I enjoy and appreciate your thoughts on the human perspectives people bring to their discussions and to actual training in Aikido. Your frank, and at times passionate perspectives on the expressed attitudes and positions of others are both informative and interesting. Thank you for responding to my thoughts.

You are correct in that we should not compel or otherwise coerce others to comply or to adopt any of the tenets of traditions we happen to hold dear and inviolate. As Americans, we remain free to choose, and to vote with our feet.

Nevertheless, I have found that students with significant martial arts experience other than Aikido, are quite often challenged to readily adopt or otherwise adjust to the different environment and guidelines for training in new dojos. It should be expected that they need time to let go of deeply held beliefs and habits that they may not know that they still have, even as they sincerely attempt to understand and incorporate the nuances of a new culture and style of behavior.

As long as these people remain sincere and diligent in their efforts to conform, isn't it worth our time, patience and a wee bit of tolerance, to afford them a chance to assimilate this new culture? I have found this to be worthwhile, and while not always successful, the overall results verify applying Aiki compassion to and acceptance of people's natural foibles and resistance to change.

Yes, Aikido is not a religion, yet we are able to judiciously apply Aiki Principles to broaden our own perspectives, and to perhaps help others to think beyond and outside of whatever box they find themselves in.

Even hermit crabs accept that they will need to change their "homes" to survive and to grow

Takahashi Sensei:

I absolutely agree with you about giving people time to assimilate. I have been, am and am always willing to work with people to assimilate to a new perspective (as I have done, am doing, and hope to do in the future). My experience has also been that most very religious people are not willing to assimilate. They simply cannot "wrap their heads" around the idea that a bow in an Aikido dojo has nothing to do with subservience to another deity/higher authority...... So if the person is not open to assimilate to the new environment of the dojo, then what? I have trained harmoniously with people from most walks of life. I have found deeply spiritual and religious people who have opened themselves up to new experiences and in engaging in behaviors in a different milieu with them recognizing that the same behavior within their culture is not appropriate for them to engage in. Ultimately, it ends up as an individual decision. I respect their decision to give something new a try. I also respect their decision to not do so. I simply ask that they respect my decisions as well as to what constitutes appropriate and respectful behavior while training in my dojo.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Flintstone
09-26-2010, 02:51 PM
I thought that yielding, showing respect for others, and humility, had something to do with aikido.
So yield, show respect for the man, learn some of your own humility and let him train with no bowing. Just a nod will cut it for all japanese I know. But we want to know better, isn't it.

Gorgeous George
09-26-2010, 03:05 PM
I'm not sure how to parse that first sentence. "are you under the impression that I have conveyed it to be the case that my opinion is that"...wow. Can we just reduce all that to, "Do you think that my opinion is that..."? Yes?

So, do I think that your opinion is that you should show respect and humility anterior to somebody else...again, I'm lost. Call it the fault of biology classes, but "anterior" to me refers to something towards an animal's head end. If "anterior" is the word you meant to use, then I may or may not be "completely wrong", as you say, but I'm definitely completely confused.

You can parse sentences in whatever way helps you to understand them - it is fine by me; indeed, I encourage understanding wherever it is not at the expense of the rights of another - if we can all understand each other, I think we can get along a lot better.
Parse away!

If you are in doubt about the meaning of a word, there is always recourse to a dictionary, Ms Malmros.
But just this one time I will take on the role of teacher and apprise you of the definition:

'Anterior - coming before in time'.
I hope that helps.

Gorgeous George
09-26-2010, 03:16 PM
So yield, show respect for the man, learn some of your own humility and let him train with no bowing. Just a nod will cut it for all japanese I know. But we want to know better, isn't it.

This is certainly a very interesting question...
I'm all for being humble, and understanding of others - they are among the key features of aikido, for me; the question for me is whether a disparity between two people can - or should be - tolerated: you accommodate them, they do not accommodate you - the relationship is thus asymmetrical.
I regard bowing to one another - regardless of rank - as an act which symbolises equality (as well as gratitude): if one person refuses to bow to another, therefore, there is the implication that they are superior to them.

I think we've become quite abstract in this discussino, because we do not know what the individual's views are: does he object to bowing because he will only bow to his divine being? Does he just need to be told of the cultural significance of bowing in Japan - i.e., it is to show respect, rather than supernatural reverence...? etc.

lbb
09-26-2010, 03:26 PM
You can parse sentences in whatever way helps you to understand them - it is fine by me; indeed, I encourage understanding wherever it is not at the expense of the rights of another - if we can all understand each other, I think we can get along a lot better.
Parse away!

If you are in doubt about the meaning of a word, there is always recourse to a dictionary, Ms Malmros.
But just this one time I will take on the role of teacher and apprise you of the definition:

'Anterior - coming before in time'.
I hope that helps.

Well, that's news to me, but apparently it is indeed a secondary meaning of the term. I would have said "before", but as you like it. So. Do I think that you believe that you should show respect and humility before someone else should do so? Is that the question? If so, this sounds rather like saying "I'm not going to give in unless HE gives in first." That's not my personal view about how politeness or etiquette or reigi should work. YMMV.

Marc Abrams
09-26-2010, 03:29 PM
Religion is not "about enlightenment". Religion is about faith in unprovable dogmas.

The age of enlightenment is something that happened in the West, liberating the people from religious thought suppression. However, there are other religions which have never been faced with an age of enlightenment.

Willi:

I do not think that it is fair to say that religion is not about enlightenment. Religions truly believe that they provide enlightenment to others. I cannot say that I have never derived enlightenment from religion because I have. It has not always been from my own previous practice of my religion (I am a non-practicing Jew). How you define enlightenment is an important component in this discussion.

We were in Jamaica over the Christmas/New Years 09/10 and were invited to attend a combined evangelical Christian & ancient Congo religion ceremony. This took place in a part of Kingston that no tourist would ever think to go (they are warned to stay away). Drum circles, trance states, goat sacrifice were all aspects of their observations. It was a powerful and enlightening experience for my wife and I. I learned a lot and would never have been as enlightened as I was about the people, the cultures and belief systems if I had not been part of that experience.

Sometimes faith is important. Sometimes dogmas that others profess are not as closed as we believe them to be. I think that we need to keep an open mind even when we believe others minds may be closed. I believe that we need to hold firm to what we believe is right and to acknowledge that we may be wrong and change our opinions at a later date. If I can try and hold myself to those standards, then those who train in my dojo are asked to do the same. Religious faith has been a blessing in some instances for societies and a curse at other times. If we simply write them off as faith in an unprovable dogma, then we can easily imitate that closed-minds that we seek to criticize. My criticism of the person in question was in the inability to move beyond a particular way of viewing a situation that was directly related to how that person interpreted living a religious life. I noted that this is not uncommon among very religious people. I do not believe that it is a universal truth of very religious people.

Marc Abrams

Gorgeous George
09-26-2010, 04:05 PM
Well, that's news to me, but apparently it is indeed a secondary meaning of the term. I would have said "before", but as you like it. So. Do I think that you believe that you should show respect and humility before someone else should do so? Is that the question? If so, this sounds rather like saying "I'm not going to give in unless HE gives in first." That's not my personal view about how politeness or etiquette or reigi should work. YMMV.

It might not be a word in common usage nowadays, but I read a lot of classics, and where posible, I like to show deference to great men such as Aristotle; the particular work/s of his in which he uses that term frequently eludes me right now.
Plus: it's Shakespeare's language, and all that...

I was asking whether you were under the impression that I have a strongly held belief: namely, that other people should yield before I do so - because you responded to something I said with a very forcefully worded castigation: chiding me with a sarcastic manner - which I think is wrong, because I am not of the opinion that others should show respect to me before I will show any to them, and I never said otherwise.

All the best

- Graham

David Partington
09-26-2010, 05:38 PM
I emailed the Muslim Council of Britain, which is a national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools, to provide some guidance on this issue. Their reply was:-

Thank you for visiting our website and contacting us for the said issue. Islam values and respects different faiths as well as customs of various civilisations. It is important to know the difference between bowing and prostration. There are different schools of thoughts in such matters but a large number of Islamic scholars wouldn’t consider bowing in front of a person during a specific situation similar to prostration to Allah (swt).

Our acts as well as intentions are known to Almighty and you may ask the gentleman to contact me to discuss and clarify it further.

lbb
09-26-2010, 05:58 PM
It might not be a word in common usage nowadays, but I read a lot of classics, and where posible, I like to show deference to great men such as Aristotle; the particular work/s of his in which he uses that term frequently eludes me right now.
Plus: it's Shakespeare's language, and all that...

I was asking whether you were under the impression that I have a strongly held belief: namely, that other people should yield before I do so - because you responded to something I said with a very forcefully worded castigation: chiding me with a sarcastic manner - which I think is wrong, because I am not of the opinion that others should show respect to me before I will show any to them, and I never said otherwise.

All the best

- Graham

I'd say that was hardly "a very forcefully worded castigation", but have it as you will. My point was different from what you suppose. One of the things I dislike about aikido is the tendency of some practitioners to use aikido's tenets (or the tenets as they interpret them) as a selectively applied bully club. You had said, "I thought that yielding, showing respect for others, and humility, had something to do with aikido." in response to Christopher's remarks about aikido being more accepting of differences among people. That's all well and good, but you need to be careful how you use terms like that. Yielding, showing respect and humility are meaningless if they are a coerced response, and unfortunately, sometimes in aikido they are just that.

grant.traynor
09-26-2010, 05:59 PM
It is important to know the difference between bowing and prostration.

That's a fantastically clear deliniation. Thanks for following up and posting the results.

Chris Li
09-26-2010, 06:03 PM
I emailed the Muslim Council of Britain, which is a national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools, to provide some guidance on this issue. Their reply was:-

Thank you for visiting our website and contacting us for the said issue. Islam values and respects different faiths as well as customs of various civilisations. It is important to know the difference between bowing and prostration. There are different schools of thoughts in such matters but a large number of Islamic scholars wouldnft consider bowing in front of a person during a specific situation similar to prostration to Allah (swt).

Our acts as well as intentions are known to Almighty and you may ask the gentleman to contact me to discuss and clarify it further.

As in most things, it depends upon who you ask. See this example of Islamic reasoning for prohibitions against bowing, even for a simple greeting:

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/20198

or

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=3484&CATE=142

Of course, there are Islamic opinions to the contrary floating around the net as well.

Best,

Chris

Russ Q
09-26-2010, 07:04 PM
I absolutely agree with you about giving people time to assimilate. I have been, am and am always willing to work with people to assimilate to a new perspective (as I have done, am doing, and hope to do in the future).

Hi Marc, so I am reading into this that you will give someone who has issues with bowing a chance to assimilate into your dojo environment. If you were faced, or if you have been faced, with the issue the OP brings up what would be / has been your solution? How did things work out?

Cheers,

Russ

Gorgeous George
09-26-2010, 08:15 PM
a large number of Islamic scholars wouldn’t consider bowing in front of a person during a specific situation similar to prostration to Allah.


That's what I meant.
So that's what the bowing in islam is: 'prostration'; it makes sense now - you probably get a death sentence for prostrating to someone other than muhammad or whatever, so the dude's reluctance probably makes sense.

WilliB
09-26-2010, 10:24 PM
Willi:

I do not think that it is fair to say that religion is not about enlightenment. Religions truly believe that they provide enlightenment to others.

I was referring to "enlightenment" in the sense of the term in the historical description "age of enlightenment". Which happened in Europe and which meant enlightenment away from religious practises (such as burning witches, buying indulgences, Spanish inquisition etc.).
As I pointed out, not all religions have gone through such a modernization.

You seem to use the term as a personal experience. That is different. But here too, the same applies: Not all religions believe in individuals experiening "enlightenment". In case of your non-bowing gentlemen, you can read islamic scriptures to the gazoo, but you won´t find anything about enlightenment -- his religion is about *submitting* under a god (islam means submission), following the ancient rules, and hoping for a lenient judgement after death.

So please do not make simplistic assumptions like that. Just because A and B both call themselves religions, that does not make A = B.

torbjornsaw
09-27-2010, 12:35 AM
I will ask my new student if he will be willing to extend the same courtesy to Aikido etiquette as he would expect from someone joining and embracing his faith and practice.

It is to me a spiritual/human element in this understanding as it calls into question ones values as they come into contact with real life. Are they just a set of beliefs held above human interaction or are they applicable in our day to day activity? When the rubber hits the road, so to speak.

torbjornsaw
09-27-2010, 01:03 AM
I emailed the Muslim Council of Britain, which is a national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools, to provide some guidance on this issue. Their reply was:-

Thank you for visiting our website and contacting us for the said issue. Islam values and respects different faiths as well as customs of various civilisations. It is important to know the difference between bowing and prostration. There are different schools of thoughts in such matters but a large number of Islamic scholars wouldn’t consider bowing in front of a person during a specific situation similar to prostration to Allah (swt).

Our acts as well as intentions are known to Almighty and you may ask the gentleman to contact me to discuss and clarify it further.

Thank you David,

This is really good. I will relay this to my student. Thank you all for your views, it certainly brings more light to the whole situation.
I'm finding myself understanding different viewpoints and agreeing with much, allowing myself to have a wider understanding as I'm looking forward speaking with my student about it.

This is what I enjoy; bringing into question our spiritual and human values to see if they correspond to our actual daily living, and to be able to deepen ones understanding of them through the process of inquiry together with others knowing very well that I have to be able to expand my mind and maybe change some set ideas.

For me this is what spiritual inquiry is all about; to go so deep that we touch a common ground beyond anyone's private thoughts about any particular topic. I value personal preferences as long as they make sense but always prefer a deeper perspective that goes way beyond the personal into what we could call universal or unitary, common or spiritual.

Religion, to me, always starts of as spiritual revelation, brings communion and shares a teaching. The core of which is enlightenment, revelation of God, awakening, Satori, Nirvana, complete submission and surrender to the ultimate and absolute Truth, universal and one. So we can come to live as normal human/spiritual beings with a good understanding of our make-up.

Marc Abrams
09-27-2010, 05:50 AM
Hi Marc, so I am reading into this that you will give someone who has issues with bowing a chance to assimilate into your dojo environment. If you were faced, or if you have been faced, with the issue the OP brings up what would be / has been your solution? How did things work out?

Cheers,

Russ

Russ:

We have had the issue arise on more than one occasion in the NYC dojo and I had something similar happen at mine. In all instances, I have spoken to people at what ever length is necessary to highlight the differences between the meanings of certain behaviors that are contained within cultural millieus. I let people know that within the cultural milleu of that particular dojo, there are a set of expected behaviors based within that particular cultural milleu. A person can have as much time as they would like to decide whether or not they can function within the milleu of that particular dojo. For many dojos, bowing to shomen, to the teacher and to each other is a requisite behavior that is appropriate within that milleu. I would not give somebody an artificial time frame to "change" or decide upon a course of action. That must be done before somebody starts training with certain requisite actions.

If that is policy is considered "closed-minded" by some then it fits with "you can please some of the people some of the time...."

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Abasan
09-27-2010, 06:50 AM
If I can make an analogy that my Sensei has kindly given quite sometime ago...

The knowledge and practice of Islam confers on the instructions of God. Imagine that He is in a castle fortress surrounded by the first layer. These first layer are those courtesans, nobles and aristocrats of gentle persuasion and cultured upbringing. They will greet those who come upon them with politeness and courtesy. They politely ignore your deficiencies and seek not to embarrass you and will accept your better qualities as a representative of yourself.

The second layer would be the servants, where through their daily contact with the first layer has adopted similar politeness and courtesy albeit with some rough edges. They greet visitors with respect which is circumspect as well. They are not above telling you off if you do not meet to their expectations.

The 3rd layer will be the fortress guards who are highly disciplined and usually very rough and ready. The usually abide by strict rules, some have foundation on the teachings of the Ruler but some created to establish uniformity of understanding for the masses who do not have the luxury of time to debate the nuances of law. They will turn most visitors to their Ruler away based on their training, typically to save time and eliminate the need to think for themselves. Occasionally they will call upon their sergeant for the more difficult cases who may only improve the situation only slightly, having grown into that position from the rank and file himself.

Typically you will meet muslims who are on the 3rd layer. They have some passing knowledge of religion from the school years, and perhaps some books. Most of their time has been spent growing up with other things like normal education, sports and hobbies. Part of what they consider religion is in fact cultural influence or superstition. A lot of what they consider is the Only way is in fact an ill known assumption of their forefathers.

What I'm getting at is that, at the core of it Islam is a religion of compassion and accessibility. Most men find it their calling to make religion a difficult and arduous thing probably in an attempt to distinguish their level of piousness amongst peers. So from that simple fact and the fact that hadeeth on its own is not without contradiction (even Al-Muslim and Al-Bukhari have hundreds of contradictions to each other despite both being treated as sahih), the interpretation to how Bowing is in fact similar to an act of genuflection is open to debate.

Respect others, without losing your Identity or religion.
But hard lining anyone would not endear you or your religion to anyone. The muslims who are so keen to fight for their rights or 'transgressions' by others, where is your Peace, your Salam?

In the beginning, Aikido is to Harmonise with yourself and then to others. I think that would be lesson to us all.

Mark Uttech
09-27-2010, 07:00 AM
Onegaishimasu. For what it is worth, bowing is simply acknowledging that there is something besides yourself. Everything you see is already besides yourself.

In gassho,

Mark

Patrick Hutchinson
09-27-2010, 07:28 AM
As far as I know Aristotle spoke ancient Greek, not English, so you're talking about a translator's choice.
And the word "anterior" doesn't occur in any of the works of Shakespeare.

Marc Abrams
09-27-2010, 07:57 AM
If I can make an analogy that my Sensei has kindly given quite sometime ago...

The knowledge and practice of Islam confers on the instructions of God. Imagine that He is in a castle fortress surrounded by the first layer. These first layer are those courtesans, nobles and aristocrats of gentle persuasion and cultured upbringing. They will greet those who come upon them with politeness and courtesy. They politely ignore your deficiencies and seek not to embarrass you and will accept your better qualities as a representative of yourself.

The second layer would be the servants, where through their daily contact with the first layer has adopted similar politeness and courtesy albeit with some rough edges. They greet visitors with respect which is circumspect as well. They are not above telling you off if you do not meet to their expectations.

The 3rd layer will be the fortress guards who are highly disciplined and usually very rough and ready. The usually abide by strict rules, some have foundation on the teachings of the Ruler but some created to establish uniformity of understanding for the masses who do not have the luxury of time to debate the nuances of law. They will turn most visitors to their Ruler away based on their training, typically to save time and eliminate the need to think for themselves. Occasionally they will call upon their sergeant for the more difficult cases who may only improve the situation only slightly, having grown into that position from the rank and file himself.

Typically you will meet muslims who are on the 3rd layer. They have some passing knowledge of religion from the school years, and perhaps some books. Most of their time has been spent growing up with other things like normal education, sports and hobbies. Part of what they consider religion is in fact cultural influence or superstition. A lot of what they consider is the Only way is in fact an ill known assumption of their forefathers.

What I'm getting at is that, at the core of it Islam is a religion of compassion and accessibility. Most men find it their calling to make religion a difficult and arduous thing probably in an attempt to distinguish their level of piousness amongst peers. So from that simple fact and the fact that hadeeth on its own is not without contradiction (even Al-Muslim and Al-Bukhari have hundreds of contradictions to each other despite both being treated as sahih), the interpretation to how Bowing is in fact similar to an act of genuflection is open to debate.

Respect others, without losing your Identity or religion.
But hard lining anyone would not endear you or your religion to anyone. The muslims who are so keen to fight for their rights or 'transgressions' by others, where is your Peace, your Salam?

In the beginning, Aikido is to Harmonise with yourself and then to others. I think that would be lesson to us all.

Ahmad:

Thank you for sharing that deep understanding with us. That description is one that can pretty much fit in with any description of religious observation. It is a shame that the enlightenment and transcendent experience to the hallow which many religions seek to provide fall short in their implementation- They (religions) are representations of humans-> imperfect.

Marc Abrams

Shadowfax
09-27-2010, 08:31 AM
Amad, I really enjoyed your post as well. Great insight and as Marc said it can be seen in many religions not just Islam. In fact I saw it myself in the religion I left behind. It would not have allowed me to take up aikido much less bow to the shomen and to O'Sensei.

My teachers never insisted that I do so but once I was in the dojo and I understood the real meaning of the bow it no longer seemed to me something of great concern.Now I find myself wanting to bow respectfully to people outside of the dojo as well. There was a time that in polite society the bow was a custom of courtesy for all and not considered only a religious behavior.

Gorgeous George
09-27-2010, 08:35 AM
As far as I know Aristotle spoke ancient Greek, not English, so you're talking about a translator's choice.
And the word "anterior" doesn't occur in any of the works of Shakespeare.

Indeed he did, and indeed I am! However, a very large percentage of the English language is derived from ancient Greek - as well as its alphabet.
A translator's job (when translating from ancient Greek into English) is to provide an appropriate English equivalent for the Greek, where possible - in the case of words such as 'Eudaimonia', this is not possible, hence the word tends to remain unchanged in translation, much like certain French phrases like laissez faire, deja vu, etc.

So I think that although Aristotle never wrote anterior (or 'Plato', or 'the', or 'and'...), if he had written in English he perhaps would have - and if I had replied in this thread in ancient Greek, I would have used the ancient Greek word for the English 'anterior' (or a synonym: the 'translator's choice' did not include the words catapult; ostrich; television; or motorway - probably because none of them are appropriate translations of what Aristotle wrote; hence the 'translator's choice' is confined to words which reflect what Aristotle meant).

1. It's quite an obscure bit of knowledge: 'Shakespeare's works don't include the word "anterior"' - that must be quite tough to find out.

2. I never claimed it did, so that's moot.

All the best

- Graham

lbb
09-27-2010, 08:39 AM
Ahmad, thanks for that. It seems to me that that metaphor applies not just to Islam, or to religion, but to just about anything that is profound (by which I mean, it has depths and they are not casually or easily apprehended). Islam has its "fortress keepers"; so does aikido, as this thread has demonstrated.

The point that I've been trying to (ineptly) make in this thread is that there's a great deal of eagerness to hold others to a higher standard than that to which we hold ourselves, combined with an unwillingness to be the first one to yield, to compromise, or to extend oneself. Let the other person do it first to prove his bona fides. If he doesn't do it? Well, then he's just a stupid, stubborn...um...uh...never mind.

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" - King James Bible, Matthew 7:3

Rabih Shanshiry
09-27-2010, 09:01 AM
Wonderful post Mary. From Andre Noquet's essay in Aikido Journal: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=405

<start>

O-Sensei On Religion

[One day] I said to Ueshiba Sensei, “You are always praying, Ueshiba Sensei. Then aikido is a religion.”

“No, that’s not true. Aikido is never a religion, but if you are a Christian, you will be a better Christian because of aikido. If you are a Buddhist, you will be a better Buddhist.”

I thought it was an amazing response. I really liked his answer. Since he was a Japanese I was afraid he would say that Christianity was nothing. Ueshiba Sensei had a great deal of respect for Christ. I was living in a four-mat room in the dojo and he would knock on the door and enter. He would sit down beside me and there was a portrait of Jesus Christ. He would place his hands together in a gesture of respect.

I asked him one day if there wasn’t a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, “Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn’t. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian.”

Then I asked, “Sensei should I remain a Christian?” He replied, “Yes, absolutely. You were raised as a Christian in France. Remain a Christian.” If he had told me to stop being a Christian and become a Buddhist, I would have been lost. My heart was full of Ueshiba Sensei because he had a vision of the entire world and that we were all his children. He called me his son.

<end>

I'd like to think that settles the issue but I know better.

torbjornsaw
09-27-2010, 09:06 AM
Don't be a skeptic :-)

Thank you all.

WilliB
09-27-2010, 09:15 AM
Then I asked, “Sensei should I remain a Christian?” He replied, “Yes, absolutely. You were raised as a Christian in France. Remain a Christian.” If he had told me to stop being a Christian and become a Buddhist, I would have been lost. My heart was full of Ueshiba Sensei because he had a vision of the entire world and that we were all his children. He called me his son.


Why should he do that, anyway? I thought he was a follower of the Omoto religion.
Where does Buddhism get into the picture?

Marc Abrams
09-27-2010, 09:39 AM
Don't be a skeptic :-)

Thank you all.

Bjorn:

You were on a roll. People were with you on this one and there you go. Why don't you just start that statement as a new thread that people could disagree with in amazement!

Being open-minded and skeptical and very important in order develop knowledge.

Marc Abrams

torbjornsaw
09-27-2010, 09:49 AM
Marc, never short of a reply and handy wisdom, you'll start that thread. I have another one in store.

Cheers,

DonMagee
09-27-2010, 12:09 PM
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.
We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?

I am very pragmatic about this.

I have a friend who is jewish, he invited me to a dinner his group (not sure what they call a congregation of jewish people for worship and dinner) was having. Now did I go, refuse to partake in their beliefs, expect to eat their food and leave when I had what I wanted?

No, I found out what would be expected of me and then decided if this was something I could do without infringing on my beliefs and culture.

I make no concessions for my class. I'm not going to create special rules and circumstances for one person because of faith, ability, or desire. To me it's no different then going a boxing club without arms and insisting they teach them how to kick or a person who hates running wanting to change a marathon down to 5 miles so they can say they ran a marathon.

I know my view is not popular, but to me having a belief means it is up to you to find activities that fit into that structure, not change the structure to fit into your beliefs. There are many things I choose not to do because my beliefs do not mesh with what they are doing. To insist otherwise is arrogance.

jonreading
09-27-2010, 12:19 PM
As Dojo cho, you answer will set precedent. The underlying question surrounding all of this as the issue applies to the dojo is what position to take on the issue and how defensible will that position be as a point of precedent.

1. I tend to agree with many of the early comments specifically related to bowing. Bowing is not central to the practice of aikido. I have made exceptions to Muslims and Christians alike on this issue. Whatever your decision, you need to enforce it universally - what's good for the goose is good for the gander. This is the tricky part because you want some freedom to subjectively enforce this rule (i.e. we want to ignore it when its someone we like, but enforce it when the student is a jerk...). I understand both sides of the argument, but the side I don't like is when I see this rule selectively enforced.
2. The rule leads down a slippery slope depending on how you choose to interpret the action. Aikido is Japanese and contains cultural components, language and ideology of that culture. If your student chooses not to bow because of [Japanese] cultural beliefs, where do you draw the line in your defense of cultural immersion? What is your defense when a student chose not to recognize Japanese language? What about the courtesies exchanged during training? If your student chooses not to bow because of religious beliefs, where do you draw that line?
3. This is your dojo. No where is it written that you have to allow anyone to do anything that is not under your authority. The actions of this student will reflect on your decision. Are you willing to say to the dojo, "I stand behind this student's actions"?

First, I choose to view these kinds of etiquette questions from an educational standpoint. New students sometimes do not understand our training and I give the same leniency to questions about bowing as I do using Japanese terminology (terrible dojo Japanese by the way), following etiquette during class, and showing respect to those with whom you train. I would not expect a new student to know aikido terminology and so I also grant that leniency for cultural education as well. However, I do expect that as students train they learn terminology and etiquette, I also expect students to learn the significance of the cultural influences as well.
Second, I do not make rules in the dojo that are specific to religion, but rather to the safety and sanctity of the dojo. "Your religious convictions do not trample my right to train." Sometimes you have to say, "I'm sorry, I don't think you will find what you are looking for here." Third, my students reflect my instruction and their activities reflect upon the sanctity and well-being of the dojo. I am selective in what actions I allow in my dojo by asking myself. "Would I accept that behavior if someone did that to me? Golden rule baby.

Let new students show you who they are, but you also need to show them what you expect of them.

Marc Abrams
09-27-2010, 02:19 PM
Marc, never short of a reply and handy wisdom, you'll start that thread. I have another one in store.

Cheers,

Great Response!!! I just love it when people can debate and have fun doing so. Don't know how handy my wisdom is because post-hoc reasoning is always 20:20.

You are obviously deeply committed to what you do and are willing to put it out there. I have a lot of respect for people who can do that.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

David Partington
09-27-2010, 02:34 PM
As in most things, it depends upon who you ask. See this example of Islamic reasoning for prohibitions against bowing, even for a simple greeting:

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/20198

or

http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=3484&CATE=142

Of course, there are Islamic opinions to the contrary floating around the net as well.

Best,

Chris

I too initially turned to the internet in search of some answers and found just like you a few opinions for and against bowing. The difficulty with information available on the internet is trying to establish the credibility of the source, the accuracy of the information and sometimes whether or not there is an agenda behind it. (I'm not talking specifically about religious information but rather ANY information.)

As my club is in the UK it made more sense to me to contact the MCB rather than quote any of the opinions I had found on Google.

For the record, the organisation I belong to insists on a bow.

Hellis
09-27-2010, 03:17 PM
I don't really have an issue with this problem, when I started Judo in 1956 and Aikido in 1957, I was handed a rough copy of the club rules, I accepted them as they stood, it never occured to me to ask the instructor ( K William Sensei - the first student of Aikido in the UK ) to change the rules to suit me. I can imagine what the reaction would have been. That is the way I still see it. Take it or leave it...
Just imagine trying to run a dojo with students training with their own selective agenda..

Henry Ellis
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/

WilliB
09-28-2010, 12:15 AM
I too initially turned to the internet in search of some answers and found just like you a few opinions for and against bowing. The difficulty with information available on the internet is trying to establish the credibility of the source, the accuracy of the information and sometimes whether or not there is an agenda behind it.

Well, usually you can get an idea about the orientation of site by reading more of it. In case of Shayk Muhammad Al-Munajids "Islam Q&A" site referenced by Christopher, they come from an extremely fundamentalist position. For example, they also declare that Western democracy unacceptable for islam, so one wonders what exactly short of the medieval Caliphate is.

Anyway, I got a giggle out of the sentence after the anti-bowing advice:
"‘O Messenger of Allaah, when one of us meets his friend, can he bow to him?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can he hug him and kiss him?’ He said, ‘No.’"

Now Youtube for something like "Arafat + Kiss", and enjoy. The entire Middle Eastern political leadershipmust be boiling in sulphur...

Chris Li
09-28-2010, 01:07 AM
Well, usually you can get an idea about the orientation of site by reading more of it. In case of Shayk Muhammad Al-Munajids "Islam Q&A" site referenced by Christopher, they come from an extremely fundamentalist position. For example, they also declare that Western democracy unacceptable for islam, so one wonders what exactly short of the medieval Caliphate is.

Anyway, I got a giggle out of the sentence after the anti-bowing advice:
"‘O Messenger of Allaah, when one of us meets his friend, can he bow to him?' The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘No.' He said, ‘Can he hug him and kiss him?' He said, ‘No.'"

Now Youtube for something like "Arafat + Kiss", and enjoy. The entire Middle Eastern political leadershipmust be boiling in sulphur...

Well, this has happened in related threads as well. Somehow the discussion of whether or not bowing is important to Aikido practice devolves into ridicule of particular religious views.

Anyway, my intent wasn't to say that any particular view is more legitimate, but to point out that Islam is not monolithic, and that the fact that some Muslims don't care about bowing doesn't eliminate the fact that other Muslims do.

Best,

Chris

WilliB
09-28-2010, 01:41 AM
Well, this has happened in related threads as well. Somehow the discussion of whether or not bowing is important to Aikido practice devolves into ridicule of particular religious views.

No. Nobody ridiculed any particular religious view. I simply read the link that YOU posted in support of accommodating the non-bower and pointed out some background.

What is ridiculous imho is the idea that every demand has to be accommodated when it is accompanied by the claim that it is "religious".

Flintstone
09-28-2010, 02:44 AM
NWhat is ridiculous imho is the idea that every demand has to be accommodated when it is accompanied by the claim that it is "religious".
And then this is the right way to segregation and apartheid.

Amir Krause
09-28-2010, 03:02 AM
No. Nobody ridiculed any particular religious view. I simply read the link that YOU posted in support of accommodating the non-bower and pointed out some background.

What is ridiculous imho is the idea that every demand has to be accommodated when it is accompanied by the claim that it is "religious".

Willi

I suggest you re-read Ahmad great response (quoted below) . You will find that Islam is not a single culture, and has many differing sub-groups, each adhering to it's own rules. The same holds true to other religions and cultural groups (I know there are dozens of Hasidi Jew courts, each following slightly different rules).

Further, for your information, most Arab country rulers are secular or mostly secular. Muslims rule in this region is mostly in the non-Arab countries: Iran has a Shiite rule, and Turkey is ruled by Islamic party (who won the democratic elections). Sausdi-Arabia rulers are also among the Muslim side, but they follow a very specific sect - Wahabi.

If I can make an analogy that my Sensei has kindly given quite sometime ago...

The knowledge and practice of Islam confers on the instructions of God. Imagine that He is in a castle fortress surrounded by the first layer. These first layer are those courtesans, nobles and aristocrats of gentle persuasion and cultured upbringing. They will greet those who come upon them with politeness and courtesy. They politely ignore your deficiencies and seek not to embarrass you and will accept your better qualities as a representative of yourself.

The second layer would be the servants, where through their daily contact with the first layer has adopted similar politeness and courtesy albeit with some rough edges. They greet visitors with respect which is circumspect as well. They are not above telling you off if you do not meet to their expectations.

The 3rd layer will be the fortress guards who are highly disciplined and usually very rough and ready. The usually abide by strict rules, some have foundation on the teachings of the Ruler but some created to establish uniformity of understanding for the masses who do not have the luxury of time to debate the nuances of law. They will turn most visitors to their Ruler away based on their training, typically to save time and eliminate the need to think for themselves. Occasionally they will call upon their sergeant for the more difficult cases who may only improve the situation only slightly, having grown into that position from the rank and file himself.

Typically you will meet muslims who are on the 3rd layer. They have some passing knowledge of religion from the school years, and perhaps some books. Most of their time has been spent growing up with other things like normal education, sports and hobbies. Part of what they consider religion is in fact cultural influence or superstition. A lot of what they consider is the Only way is in fact an ill known assumption of their forefathers.

What I'm getting at is that, at the core of it Islam is a religion of compassion and accessibility. Most men find it their calling to make religion a difficult and arduous thing probably in an attempt to distinguish their level of piousness amongst peers. So from that simple fact and the fact that hadeeth on its own is not without contradiction (even Al-Muslim and Al-Bukhari have hundreds of contradictions to each other despite both being treated as sahih), the interpretation to how Bowing is in fact similar to an act of genuflection is open to debate.

Respect others, without losing your Identity or religion.
But hard lining anyone would not endear you or your religion to anyone. The muslims who are so keen to fight for their rights or 'transgressions' by others, where is your Peace, your Salam?

In the beginning, Aikido is to Harmonise with yourself and then to others. I think that would be lesson to us all.

Ahmed

From my own experience and secular vantage point, I consider your post as excellent. Yey I think it underestimates the importance of the "external beliefs: religions tend to slowly internalize those. Customs that were made for convenience a century ago slowly become inseparable part of tradition and must be followed (a lovely example of this is the clothing of most orthodox Jews which was the height of fashion in 18th century Poland and immigrated to Israel).

It seems that for a religion to prosper, it needs much more then the basic tenets, and it has to catch the 3rd layer and build rules those will follow, this implies both ceremony and restrictions, as well as providing a feeling of uniqueness and "being chosen by God" (I use the Jewish term but hope you can find another suitable one).

BR
Amir

lbb
09-28-2010, 06:48 AM
No. Nobody ridiculed any particular religious view.

I'm afraid I must say that I had the same impression as Christopher. If using one's mighty google-fu to pick out differences in the beliefs and practices in the 1 billion followers of a religion, and then posting them and saying that you "got a giggle" out of it, is not ridicule, then I don't know what is.

C. David Henderson
09-28-2010, 08:36 AM
To bow shows respect; to giggle, not so much.... So we should insist someone bow, in all seriousness, while we giggle at what that person holds holy?

Lyle Laizure
09-29-2010, 08:40 AM
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.
We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?

So where do you draw the line? A different set of rules for this person for this reason and a different set of rules for this person for this reason. It is your house you must decide. Goo ni itte wa, goo ni shitagae. (Follow the rules of the village you are in.)

WilliB
09-29-2010, 09:03 AM
I'm afraid I must say that I had the same impression as Christopher. If using one's mighty google-fu to pick out differences in the beliefs and practices in the 1 billion followers of a religion, and then posting them and saying that you "got a giggle" out of it, is not ridicule, then I don't know what is.

Mary,
I simply went to the link that Christopher posted to illustrate the muslim "no bowing" rule.

I guess you did not, so I need to explain. Right after the the "no-bowing" rule, the same Sheikh also explained that there is a "no kissing" rule.

The giggling part comes when you google for muslim Arab leaders slobbering over each other. If you giggle or not, is up to you, but clearly this speaks to the relevance of Christophers link to the "no bowing" rule.

Clearer now?

Of course, the larger question is if the OP wants to go down the road to make his dojo islamically correct. If he wants to go down that road, where does he want to stop? Separate classes for females would be an obvious next demand. I say don´t go down that road, but that is just me...

tarik
09-29-2010, 01:50 PM
Speaking as someone who was raised Muslim, this furor on both sides is just too damned funny.

At least it shows that people care [about something].

torbjornsaw
09-30-2010, 12:28 AM
Thank you, I'd love to hear from more Muslim aikidoka's.

I will speak with my new friend again to see if we can come to an understanding. I love the word "understanding", to stand under, which points to a humility needed.

Goo ni itte wa, goo ni shitagae (Follow the rules of the village you are in). I like this phrase but I also love the questioning of it.

lbb
09-30-2010, 05:01 AM
The giggling part comes when you google for muslim Arab leaders slobbering over each other. If you giggle or not, is up to you, but clearly this speaks to the relevance of Christophers link to the "no bowing" rule.

Clearer now?

I understood what you said the first time. I don't agree that your actions don't constitute ridicule. You establish a double standard, then use the "failure" to meet this impossible standard as a justification for ridicule and fault-finding.

Of course, the larger question is if the OP wants to go down the road to make his dojo islamically correct.

I don't think it is. I don't think that this is even close to the question posed by OP. I think you are creating a strawman argument using a deliberately inflammatory term. Sorry, but there it is.

jonreading
09-30-2010, 02:51 PM
Wow, only 85 posts and we have the 2010 politically popular rhetoric of "Islamophobia." I guess calling other posters racist didn't fit the bill because we're talking religion. Of course, claiming someone is afraid of Islam "Islam-phobia" is also pretty ridiculous since clearly no one on any of these posts is claiming to be afraid of Islam.

If anything, I think some posters have raised the question that a post (or more) was insensitive of Islam; prove it. Cite the post, air the facts, and tell that person why you believe their comments were insensitive. As my marriage counselor says, start with "I feel" instead of "you did." Jun will kick the poster's butt and we'll all move on (sorry Jun).

It has somehow become popular of late to use personal prejudice as a valid retort in the course of an argument, let alone the correct prejudicial label. It's a shame to see yet another thread go down the tubes because we resort to personal attacks.

To quote a section of the original post:
He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you).
Additionally:
Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not?

I think the very nature of the question is how much leniency should a dojo demonstrate towards religious doctrine and the expression of religious beliefs within the dojo. A broad question like that should solicit many responses, some more conservative in application and some more liberal. The responses may not be valid, but I think the poster is trying to figure out how to balance the dojo's environment against this student's religious needs. And from there, establish a defensible position to preserve that balance.

I would expect some of our Muslin-country friends should respond with "Our dojo is predominantly Muslim and here's what we do..." on the other hand, some of our little town America friends should respond with something like, "Actually, we see more Christians that have difficulty balancing their faith with class than Muslims, but here's how we handled those situations."

Sorry, I'll climb down now.

Janet Rosen
09-30-2010, 05:41 PM
. I think the very nature of the question is how much leniency should a dojo demonstrate towards religious doctrine and the expression of religious beliefs within the dojo. A broad question like that should solicit many responses, some more conservative in application and some more liberal. The responses may not be valid, but I think the poster is trying to figure out how to balance the dojo's environment against this student's religious needs. And from there, establish a defensible position to preserve that balance.

Yep to that too.... what some of us tried to do in our original early replies.... I'll retirerate: personally I wouldn't make that big a deal about a bow , since to me - who doesn't kneel due to physical constraints - it doesn't really affect the overall training. But I would totally draw the line at a refusal to train with another student on anything other than physical safety issues. Having said that, I would also respect any dojocho's considered decision regarding the bow pro or con.

lbb
09-30-2010, 08:43 PM
Wow, only 85 posts and we have the 2010 politically popular rhetoric of "Islamophobia." I guess calling other posters racist didn't fit the bill because we're talking religion. Of course, claiming someone is afraid of Islam "Islam-phobia" is also pretty ridiculous since clearly no one on any of these posts is claiming to be afraid of Islam.


Context is everything.

torbjornsaw
09-30-2010, 10:24 PM
Context is everything.

Do you see now how this was the context for my earlier post "Breaking the will of the ego"?

Flintstone
10-01-2010, 04:20 AM
Listen. The man will not bow. That's it. A blind man won't see, and a deaf one won't hear. A religious Muslim will not bow. I fail to understand how that will affect both his training and the training of his partners. Or the respectful atmosphere of the dojo.

It's oh so easy...

torbjornsaw
10-01-2010, 04:46 AM
Good, I like that. It can be that simple can't it?

Flintstone
10-01-2010, 09:32 AM
Good, I like that. It can be that simple can't it?
It is. Indeed! :)

RED
10-01-2010, 02:00 PM
Listen. The man will not bow. That's it. A blind man won't see, and a deaf one won't hear. A religious Muslim will not bow. I fail to understand how that will affect both his training and the training of his partners. Or the respectful atmosphere of the dojo.

It's oh so easy...

Being Muslim isn't a handi-cap.:uch:

But I agree he will never bow. However, to join any organization is an acknowledgment of that organization's rules, procedures and by-laws. Being a Muslim is an acknowledgment to Muhammad's law. And choosing to become a member of a dojo is a choice to adhere to that organization's procedures.
In that respect I find the situation complicated.

Janet Rosen
10-01-2010, 02:39 PM
But I agree he will never bow. However, to join any organization is an acknowledgment of that organization's rules, procedures and by-laws. Being a Muslim is an acknowledgment to Muhammad's law. And choosing to become a member of a dojo is a choice to adhere to that organization's procedures.
In that respect I find the situation complicated.

Only if the organization decides that bowing is mandatory - so, again, it is down to the dojocho to decide what constitutes unbreakable ettiquette.

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 02:50 PM
Funny, this thread reminded me of talking with my 9-year-old this morning. She wanted to play with a puzzle program on the computer. She also wanted to be able to leave early enough to walk to school. She couldn't do both. So she whined and carried on about wanting to play with the computer for so long we were too late to walk to school... So neither happened.

You can't make everyone happy. Sometimes something has to be sacrificed. What gets sacrificed is up to those who are in the position to make that decision. And honestly I would think each situation would be different and the context/history/attitudes/etc. will play into the decisions made.

Lots of energy being expended on what strikes me as a "make a decision and deal with it regardless" kind of situation.

Walk it off.

Next topic? :D

Flintstone
10-01-2010, 03:20 PM
Being Muslim isn't a handi-cap.:uch:
Did I say that?

But I agree he will never bow. However, to join any organization is an acknowledgment of that organization's rules, procedures and by-laws. Being a Muslim is an acknowledgment to Muhammad's law. And choosing to become a member of a dojo is a choice to adhere to that organization's procedures.
In that respect I find the situation complicated.
So ok, you do need to bow to do Aikido. Count me out from now on. Let me call what I do Flintstone Ryu, ok. Won't change a thing, only remove accesory mechanical movements from the art. Because... that's what they are.

After all, not being able to bow is not a handicap.

Flintstone
10-01-2010, 03:28 PM
Funny, this thread reminded me of talking with my 9-year-old this morning. She wanted to play with a puzzle program on the computer. She also wanted to be able to leave early enough to walk to school. She couldn't do both. So she whined and carried on about wanting to play with the computer for so long we were too late to walk to school... So neither happened.
Except you're talking about physical laws, not about the necessity of traditional Japanese etiquete when practiced by non-traditional westerners. It's like requiring that I wear a toga if I wanted to join classical latin class.

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 03:49 PM
Yeah, but if they're your laws, your problem.

My wife is of Japanese descent. Some family absolutely requires you remove your shoes before entering their house. You will get yelled at and you'll be seen as an uncouth, nasty person if you disregard their rules about their house. Others aren't so worried about it but they'd *prefer* it if you removed your shoes. Others still couldn't possibly care less.

Their house, their rules.

If someone doesn't want to come in because they don't want to remove their shoes, well, I'll say "that's a shame, however, have a lovely day regardless. See you later."

No one is telling anyone they have to change their behavior. Some do seem to take it much too lightly. I most certainly don't having Islamic friends who are very serious about their religious practice. Nothing but respect for them and their beliefs/practices.

I have been in houses of worship of all types. When I come in I try my best to be respectful. But I fully understand if someone feels their religion prohibits certain behavior that they can ask if the behavior is truly necessary. Hopefully people will make an honest decision on that sort of question. But I don't have a "right" answer. No one really does in any sort of absolute way.

When I walk into some peoples' houses I take off my shoes first. If I don't want to take my shoes off, well, it is their house so I don't go in.

Sometimes beliefs/needs/whatever conflict. Sometimes there is no solution. It may appear to be a minor thing (bowing in a dojo for instance). But some take it very seriously. I do not think bowing is critical to Aikido (personal opinion). However, I also don't believe that someone's religion's prohibition on bowing to someone else entitles them to anything more than a polite "thank you, but no thanks -- train elsewhere."

Honestly I don't see the problem. My house, my rules. Even if you think I'm being small and petty.

Personally I have no problem with no bowing. But I know that some in my organization (born in Japan and very serious about etiquette) might.

My desires to do or not do something are mine. I cannot expect everyone else to accommodate everything I want. Even if *I* think it is a minor thing. No entitlement here.

People are free to believe what they wish. They are free to worship whatever they'd like. Doesn't mean I have to accommodate everyone's requirements if I don't choose to. Doors let you in and doors let you out. They work both ways.

Flintstone
10-01-2010, 04:31 PM
You're comparing religion to not wanting the dirt attached at your soles to come into someone's house. Yes, I think that's a poor comparassion. Anyway, you're right, your house your rules. If I was required to bow in my Aikido class, I would laugh at them and leave as if I was required to write Arabic with a kalamos when in Arabic 101.

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 04:57 PM
You're comparing religion to not wanting the dirt attached at your soles to come into someone's house. Yes, I think that's a poor comparassion. Anyway, you're right, your house your rules. If I was required to bow in my Aikido class, I would laugh at them and leave as if I was required to write Arabic with a kalamos when in Arabic 101.

Just realize that not everyone takes religion very seriously. I'm an atheist with a strong science background and to be quite frank I find most religious behavior to be quite odd. Shrug. I also think that requiring "etiquette" to be expressed by only certain physical acts vs. others to be kinda odd.

But that cuts both ways in this discussion as well. Requiring bowing (in the sense of showing respect in a Japanese cultural environment) vs. prohibiting bowing (in a sense of showing submission/inferiority in another environment). The act of bending at the waist takes on meaning due to context and expectation of each person. The physical action isn't the problem, it is the intent expressed behind it. And I find it odd (to be honest) that some do not see them as distinct. So it all strikes me as odd in the extreme that this is an issue for either side.

And why the heck do people slap their hands together at the end of a movie making that awful racket? Clapping seems to odd...

Honestly I'm not arguing with you. You may see the comparison as totally out of whack. I don't hold religion in such high regard and as such I see little difference. But I do respect other peoples' beliefs and personally will accommodate a lot of things as a result. But that is accommodation. A choice I make. There is no categorical imperative here. Just a clash of culture/ideals. And to be honest I see little difference between those who take the etiquette *really* seriously and those who take their religious acts *really* seriously. Whatever. But I've been ruined by my parents, apparently. Shrug.

And in the end... I see little value in discussing it. There is little to debate. If both sides feel strongly, well, they ain't gonna be working out together. If one side will bend a bit, great. If not, well, that's the way it goes.

Flintstone
10-01-2010, 05:21 PM
Keith, you're right. Honest.

But, aren't we just doing that all of the time? Accomodating?

I don't have any problem with bowing. I bow, that's all. I'm not a strict Jew, Muslim, Christian, whatever. Neither am I Japanese. My background is science as well and I see bowing just as a way to show respect. But just as much as a simple nod.

Because I don't have any problem with bowing, I also don't have a problem with not bowing. Your religion won't allow you to bow to no man. It's cool to me. I accomodate you.

My problem is with intolerance. That Muslim guy won't force you not to bow; why should you force him to. Just because you're using a foreign tradition (foreign to both you and him) and forcing it into him. If I was that guy, I just would leave, that's all. No fuss. No arguments. But you would be discriminating against religion. It's your house, ok. You have the "civil" right to do, ok. But "morally" reprehensible. Just my POW.

Will you go to a Japanese restaurant and be required to use the chopsticks? Won't you find it weird for them to do so?

Seriously, not arguing with you, but it's just train and let train. O Sensei would not care less about all this bowing or not. We're not talking about go praying to a Shinto shrine and not being able to pray because you're... well... a muslim. What's training in a martial way has to do with religion. That's snobbery to my. Maybe a koryu wannabe syndrome or something.

I'm affraid you must pardon my bad English, but it's late and it's foreign to me anyway. See, you're accomodating me ;) Just please do the same when at dojo.

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 05:44 PM
My problem is with intolerance. That Muslim guy won't force you not to bow; why should you force him to. Just because you're using a foreign tradition (foreign to both you and him) and forcing it into him. If I was that guy, I just would leave, that's all. No fuss. No arguments. But you would be discriminating against religion. It's your house, ok. You have the "civil" right to do, ok. But "morally" reprehensible. Just my POW.

This is where I disagree. There can of course be times when it is an issue of intolerance thinly disguised as requiring the visitor to "do what we do". However, that is not automatically the case. I have sat in on classes at places that had extensive formal "bowing in" routines. And some of those people those were significant and an integral part of the totality of their art. It is not up to me to decide that it isn't important to *their* art any more than it is up to me to decide that bowing isn't a prohibited behavior within some religion. I would do neither. The muslim is not being "forced" to bow. That is really an unfair characterization. How the art is taught, what the teachers feel is significant, etc. is up to those teachers to decide. If the teachers do not wish to alter their teaching and style, well, there you go.

Of course if the person making the decision is requiring the bowing for the wrong reasons, well, sure, that's just terrible. That is intolerance and is despicable. But if those in charge at a dojo sincerely believes that bowing is necessary or an integral part of the history of their practice of their version of their art in *their* dojo, well, that's how it is. Everyone has to bow. Period. In that case the issue is not with the person being Muslim but simply with a prospective student refusing to do what is expected to train at this place.

WilliB
10-02-2010, 04:13 AM
So ok, you do need to bow to do Aikido. Count me out from now on. Let me call what I do Flintstone Ryu, ok.

I would agree. Call it Flintstone Ryu or whatever. But if you claim to practise an existing Japanese art, you have accept the rules of that art.

Likewise, if you open a gay bar, you should not call it a "mosque". I am use the problem customer of the OP agrees.

Flintstone
10-02-2010, 04:51 AM
I would agree. Call it Flintstone Ryu or whatever. But if you claim to practise an existing Japanese art, you have accept the rules of that art.
And which are exactly the rules of Aikido? Now that's a mouthful!

Flintstone
10-02-2010, 04:53 AM
Likewise, if you open a gay bar, you should not call it a "mosque". I am use the problem customer of the OP agrees.
Tasteles and disrespectful comparation.

WilliB
10-02-2010, 06:06 AM
And which are exactly the rules of Aikido? Now that's a mouthful!

I don´t think it is "pick and chose" situation. Please stick to Flintstone Ryu and use an existing name for something that you made up. That is disrespectful.

RED
10-02-2010, 07:38 AM
Did I say that?

So ok, you do need to bow to do Aikido. Count me out from now on. Let me call what I do Flintstone Ryu, ok. Won't change a thing, only remove accesory mechanical movements from the art. Because... that's what they are.

After all, not being able to bow is not a handicap.

It is mandatory in some dojo. Higher level Japanese instruction might be offended if you refuse to bow. I've never neglected to bow to my shihan, but I've heard stories of people who refused to bow to some of O'sensei's Deshi... it is an awkward situation for all. It is a cultural issue. I do not bow in my every day life...but I will bow to O'Sensei's deshi, it is a privilege to be in training with that 1st generation.(what is left of them.....Plug: everyone should please seek their instruction while their knowledge is still with us.)

LOL you wouldn't be the first person to create his own non-affiliate art because they couldn't get along with O'Sensie's Deshi :p

I'm just saying it can become a tenuous situation, especially if one intends to progress in Aikido beyond the hobbyist/weekend Samurai.

Flintstone
10-02-2010, 08:43 AM
I don´t think it is "pick and chose" situation. Please stick to Flintstone Ryu and use an existing name for something that you made up. That is disrespectful.
What the hell are you talking about? You claim to know better than nobody what are those "rules of aikido" and imply that bowing is one of them. Who are you anyway? The one and only secrets keeper of the art?

Flintstone
10-02-2010, 08:50 AM
Maggie, I didn't realize Bjorn was one of O Sensei's first generation Japanese student. If it's so, forgive my ignorance.

But even if that was the case, what exactly does bowing have to do with a gendai martial art; maybe your effectivenes applying techniques will improve, or will it be that your inner self will get closer to enlightment.

Of course, your O Sensei's deshi, his rules. You won't see me training with them, there are many many fishes in the water.

RED
10-02-2010, 09:31 AM
Maggie, I didn't realize Bjorn was one of O Sensei's first generation Japanese student. If it's so, forgive my ignorance.

But even if that was the case, what exactly does bowing have to do with a gendai martial art; maybe your effectivenes applying techniques will improve, or will it be that your inner self will get closer to enlightment.

Of course, your O Sensei's deshi, his rules. You won't see me training with them, there are many many fishes in the water.

I'm not talking about Bjorn. I'm talking about advancing in Aikido beyond the weekend hobbyist. Anyone who is serious in Aikido, will at one point seek out O'Sensei Deshi, whenever they can. When it comes to that point, bowing might be in order for the sake of social politeness.
If you are just a weekend Aikidoka, and being half way decent for your local dojo is good enough for you, then it doesn't matter. Bow or don't bow. But don't show up for Chiba's, or Yamada's, or what have you's class and be disrespectful.

Adam Huss
10-02-2010, 11:13 AM
...which brings up a good point Maggie. Some look at etiquette in the martial arts as self-serving and borderline deification. I look at it as awareness training. "Fitting in" to certain formalities, paying attention to the why, when, and how helps in my awareness training. While not everyone has the same etiquette as Japanese culture and/or Japanese budoka, it helps me to identify other forms of etiquette and appropriate behavior in other cultures...or at least to look out for it and use my knowledge of reishiki as a base from which to be sensitive and recognize other culture's intricacies. I may not like it or I may think its a waste of time and meaningless gestures, but the ability to put that aside and be proper in a seminar with Chiba or Yamada (as was Maggie's example), then that shows an ability to put aside one's self, and Way of Doing Things, for another person/group/idea. Doing this correctly, and with sincerity, to me, this signifies inner strength, awareness, and a step toward personal growth...growth being the purpose of budo (vice bujutsu).

Brett Charvat
10-02-2010, 12:17 PM
"My problem is with intolerance. That Muslim guy won't force you not to bow; why should you force him to. Just because you're using a foreign tradition (foreign to both you and him) and forcing it into him. If I was that guy, I just would leave, that's all. No fuss. No arguments. But you would be discriminating against religion. It's your house, ok. You have the "civil" right to do, ok. But "morally" reprehensible."

--Wow, so I'm discriminating against religion because I require bowing at the dojo? Interesting; I had no idea I was such an asshole.

Your post here seems to stretch the definition of "intolerance" and "discrimination" pretty thin. You say I'm forcing the theoretical Muslim in question to bow. Did I enter his house and make him do aikido? No, in this hypothetical situation he sought out training at my dojo. How is my requiring all students to bow discriminating against him? I always thought discrimination had something to do with treating people differently. If I'm treating every one of my students the same regarding bowing, how is that discriminatory?

Dave Plaza
10-02-2010, 03:51 PM
I bow when I enter my dojo, but I couldn't care less about it. I just do it because that's whats done, not out of respect. I don't feel like a charlatan or cheat, I attach nothing to the bow, it means nothing to me, I just play the game.

It's more important to me that you train with good spirit and respect and care for your fellow people.

Why don't you meditate on it and ask yourself what Ueshiba would do in this position?

Or better still, what do you feel deep down about it regardless of dogma? I find that deep down we can find the right answers when we cut away the traffic of everyday life and get in touch with our higher self, these things resonate with us, just like you instinctively know when you've done right or wrong.

I guess it's a matter of spirituality too. I would never want anybody to bow to me, what's the point! We are all equal.

RED
10-02-2010, 06:49 PM
The bow forces a moment of pause which I personally like. It forces me to pause when I thank some one, it forces me to pause as I accept instruction, forces me to pause as I enter and leave. I like the pauses. Pausing forces you to be active, contemplative and aware in the things you do. I like the bow for my own personal reasons. It forces me to do things with a sense of presence and mindfulness.
I couldn't care less if anyone else bows...though I stand by my statement that we must be respectful in the presence of our shihan if we wish to make Aikido more than a weekend hobby.

Chris Li
10-02-2010, 09:28 PM
I couldn't care less if anyone else bows...though I stand by my statement that we must be respectful in the presence of our shihan if we wish to make Aikido more than a weekend hobby.

But does being respectful require a bow? If I meet Yamada in the United States and he bows instead of shaking hands should I be offended? After all this is the United States, not Japan.

Best,

Chris

WilliB
10-02-2010, 09:35 PM
But does being respectful require a bow? If I meet Yamada in the United States and he bows instead of shaking hands should I be offended? After all this is the United States, not Japan.


To point out the obvious, "in the States" is not the same as "in his dojo".

Chris Li
10-03-2010, 12:05 AM
To point out the obvious, "in the States" is not the same as "in his dojo".

And what if he is in my dojo? Anyway, we were talking about showing respect, in it's many forms.

For that matter, "respect" will vary from dojo to dojo, even within the Aikikai. The reiho at Iwama isn't the same as the reiho at Shingu, and neither is the same as the reiho at hombu. So much for the chaos that results from changing the "rules", I guess...

Chris

torbjornsaw
10-03-2010, 12:35 AM
In the introduction to Rumi - bridge to the soul (transl. Coleman Barks); a collection of Sufi poetry from the 13th century, it mentions Shams (Rumi's friend and teacher) saying:

"If the Kaaba (the cube-shaped building in Mecca) were suddenly lifted up out of the world, we would see that each person is really bowing (five times a day) to every other person".

Respect!

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 02:53 AM
--Wow, so I'm discriminating against religion because I require bowing at the dojo? Interesting; I had no idea I was such an asshole.
Sorry it took you so many years to notice.

Your post here seems to stretch the definition of "intolerance" and "discrimination" pretty thin. You say I'm forcing the theoretical Muslim in question to bow. Did I enter his house and make him do aikido?
Again, what does Aikido have to do with bowing? Maybe that's Charvat Ryu instead of Aikido or what?

No, in this hypothetical situation he sought out training at my dojo. How is my requiring all students to bow discriminating against him?
No. Most probably he shought out training Aikido, not training at you dojo specifically. Big difference. Aikido, not bowing. Bowing is not Aikido and Aikido is not bowing. They do not come together in a pack, you know.

I always thought discrimination had something to do with treating people differently. If I'm treating every one of my students the same regarding bowing, how is that discriminatory?
That's flawed. Discrimination is saying strict Muslims cannot practice Aikido because they won't bow. You're counting them out and that's discrimination. Do you require elders with bad knees to do suwariwaza too? Or won't they allowed in the dojo?

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 03:04 AM
In the introduction to Rumi - bridge to the soul (transl. Coleman Barks); a collection of Sufi poetry from the 13th century, it mentions Shams (Rumi's friend and teacher) saying:

"If the Kaaba (the cube-shaped building in Mecca) were suddenly lifted up out of the world, we would see that each person is really bowing (five times a day) to every other person".

Respect!
Yes, Bjorn. But we are not discussing the different interpretations different imans do of the Al Quran. If that guy was taught by his iman not to bow to no one, that that's the law for him, and neither you or I would change that fact ;) .

aikilouis
10-03-2010, 04:17 AM
So if I follow you correctly, you chose to take into account the strictest (most extreme) interpretation possible of a religion's scriptures, and you tell us that an aikido teacher who would not accomodate such a behaviour would commit discrimination against that religion. Did I understand right ?

Another argument of yours is that the changes would only affect minor or insignificant elements of aikido practise. You contend for example that bowing is not part of aikido (even though most of the aikido manuals I consulted include a part on proper bowing and its significance). A few months ago you already used that argument trying to defend the acceptance of someone who would not touch anyone of the opposite sex. Now I am asking you : what are the core elements of aikido whose modification would make a practise NOT aikido ?

lbb
10-03-2010, 05:18 AM
I don´t think it is "pick and chose" situation.

If it isn't a "pick and choose" situation, you should be able to answer the question and state the rules. What rules does one have to follow in order to be practicing "aikido" and not "Flintstone ryu"?

Carsten Möllering
10-03-2010, 05:31 AM
...
Bowing is not Aikido and Aikido is not bowing. They do not come together in a pack, you know.
They do.

What rules does one have to follow in order to be practicing "aikido" ...?
rei.

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 07:18 AM
They do.
Not in my book.

rei.
How do you define "rei" as "bowing"? Uh? Do you mean Muslims do not know "rei" as "courtesy"?

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 07:20 AM
Now I am asking you : what are the core elements of aikido whose modification would make a practise NOT aikido ?
It's core principals, of course. None of them being "bowing". But let Willi Brix define them, as he surely knows better.

Carsten Möllering
10-03-2010, 09:07 AM
Not in my book.
May I ask you, who is your shihan?

How do you define "rei" as "bowing"? Isn't it - besides other meanings - just the Japanese word for bowing?
Isn't it the Japanese word for etiquette? (Which again means bowing a lot?)

Do you mean Muslims do not know "rei" as "courtesy"?The muslims I know do so.

But in a dojo rei is not defined by muslim or christian interpretations, but by the Japanese (= aikido) meanings of words.

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 09:42 AM
May I ask you, who is your shihan?
My shihan? Funny question. Like who's my brother. If you meant who's the Shihan we follow, it is (was) Mochizuki Minoru Shihan.

Isn't it - besides other meanings - just the Japanese word for bowing?
Yes. Among many other meanings, like salute, courtesy, ceremony, thanks and remuneration...

Other terms for "bowing":

頷く 【うなずく】 (v5k) (uk) to nod, to bow one's head in assent, (P)
靡く 【なびく】 (v5k,vi) to bend, to flutter, to wave, to bow to, to yield to, to obey, to be swayed by, (P)
お辞儀 【おじぎ】 (n,vs) bow, (P)
会釈 【えしゃく】 (n,vs) nod, salutation, greeting, recognition, bow, (P)
一礼 【いちれい】 (n) bow (salute, greeting)
破魔弓 【はまゆみ】 (n) (ceremonial) bow used to drive off evil, toy bow and arrow
叩頭 【こうとう】 (n) bow deeply, kowtow
臥す 【がす】 (v5s) to bend down, to bow down, to lie prostrate
俯す 【ふす】 (v5s) to bend down, to bow down, to prostrate oneself
伏す 【ふす】 (v5s) to bend down, to bow down, to prostrate oneself
弓師 【ゆみし】 (n) bow maker
肯く 【うなずく】 (v5k) (uk) to nod, to bow one's head in assent
首肯く 【うなずく】 (v5k) (uk) to nod, to bow one's head in assent
頭を下げる 【あたまをさげる】 (exp) to bow one's head
ぴょこん (adv) quickly, in a bouncing way (e.g. for a bow), action of quickly bowing or lowering one's head
ぴょこんと (adv) quickly, in a bouncing way (e.g. for a bow), action of quickly bowing or lowering one's head
弓取り式 【ゆみとりしき】 (n) bow-twirling ceremony at the end of a day of sumo wrestling
弓取式 【ゆみとりしき】 (n) bow-twirling ceremony at the end of a day of sumo wrestling
額突く 【ぬかずく】 (v5k) to make a deep bow
御辞儀 【おじぎ】 (n,vs) bow
最敬礼 【さいけいれい】 (n) a respectful bow
黙礼 【もくれい】 (n) silent bow

Isn't it the Japanese word for etiquette? (Which again means bowing a lot?)
I always thought it to be "reigi", not "rei":

礼儀 【れいぎ】 (n) manners, courtesy, etiquette, (P)

The muslims I know do so.
Great.

But in a dojo rei is not defined by muslim or christian interpretations, but by the Japanese (= aikido) meanings of words.
And the meaning of the word is salute, courtesy, ceremony, thanks... And yes, also bow. I believe the common term is "salute / courtesy".

Listen, I don't see the same the shinto reigi in Iwama and the most common reigi in the rest of the Aikikai world.

How does a Catholic feel about clapping hands to invoke the gods to come and watch our practice? Or do you mean Christians should not attend Iwama or Shingu classes because they won't worship the Shinto deities? Or practice a Budo whose creator was a strong Shinto guy (or Omoto if that makes a difference). Isn't Japan de Land of the thousand gods? Should we practice the art whose creator stays on the bridge between heaven and earth and all of that about Amaterasu and its family matters?

Because you surelly don't need all of that to become proficent or serious (besides weekend samurai level) in Aikido, do you.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-03-2010, 09:53 AM
How does a Catholic feel about clapping hands to invoke the gods to come and watch our practice?

We catholics have exorcists in case something goes wrong with the kami.:D

tarik
10-03-2010, 11:47 AM
I couldn't care less if anyone else bows...though I stand by my statement that we must be respectful in the presence of our shihan if we wish to make Aikido more than a weekend hobby.

I like the bow myself, but a slavish keeping of form is not real respect. I've seen plenty of bows that were empty or even insulting.

Respect has everything to do with intent, not the outward form of it.

My own personal experiences with shihan is that they are MUCH more flexible than a lot of people posting here are about requiring a bow to show respect. That is, a part of who they are includes a great deal of respect for other peoples limitations.

As an aside, I believe most people's experience of or with their shihan is primarily on weekends, so I fail to see how that helps them become something more than "weekend hobbyists".

Best,

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 02:32 PM
We catholics have exorcists in case something goes wrong with the kami.:D
And then that's something an atheist cannot have. Great!

Demetrio Cereijo
10-03-2010, 02:39 PM
And then that's something an atheist cannot have. Great!
They don't need it. Gods, kami, fairies, pink unicorns, etc... can only do things to you if you believe in them.

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 02:49 PM
They don't need it. Gods, kami, fairies, pink unicorns, etc... can only do things to you if you believe in them.
That's true. Same happens to Santa or the Three Magic Kings;) .

aikilouis
10-03-2010, 04:35 PM
It's core principals, of course. None of them being "bowing". But let Willi Brix define them, as he surely knows better.
Please do not deflect my questions. There are two of them, post 121.

Flintstone
10-03-2010, 04:47 PM
Please do not deflect my questions. There are two of them, post 121.
Who are you to require me to answer your rethorical questions?

So if I follow you correctly, you chose to take into account the strictest (most extreme) interpretation possible of a religion's scriptures, and you tell us that an aikido teacher who would not accomodate such a behaviour would commit discrimination against that religion. Did I understand right ?
No. You didn't understand right.

Another argument of yours is that the changes would only affect minor or insignificant elements of aikido practise. You contend for example that bowing is not part of aikido (even though most of the aikido manuals I consulted include a part on proper bowing and its significance). A few months ago you already used that argument trying to defend the acceptance of someone who would not touch anyone of the opposite sex. Now I am asking you : what are the core elements of aikido whose modification would make a practise NOT aikido ?
I already answered this question hundreds of times, the last one in your last quote from me.

torbjornsaw
10-04-2010, 12:59 AM
To bow is to humble oneself.

Please, being argumentative is not part of Aikido etiquette nor of true communication. The sixth Zen patriarch in China, Hui Neng (a direct lineage holder from the Buddha himself), said that in his school (Southern Chan) there is no argumentation.

This is not a lighthearted statement, it points to an understanding that recognizes the inherent subtle violence in the attitude and stance of arguments. Aikido is a non-violent Budo and as such we train to become sensitive to the subtle yet prevalent attitudes of fear, resistance, conflict, defensiveness in our selves. We must, in order to unravel the spiritual distinctions of O Sensei's message of unity and harmony come to understand and see our unquestioned assumptions that so often manifest as hardened attitudes and opinions showing in an argumentative stance; an unwillingness to listen and to be humble. Listen in order to hear the other and know and understand what he/she is saying. Pointing out faults many times does not lead to a fruitful dialogue. In Aikido, both parties has to give (a lot) and meet in a middle place. The teacher is never better than his best student for that very reason. Anything else is not true harmony or awase. Matching means to meet, not to impose, and we all can do with a little striving to meet on a higher ground, to raise our level of humility. Our teachers should be holding that out to us, an example of what is possible.
In Aikido we train to become sensitive with out bodies. How about becoming sensitive with our minds in communication with the aim to unify, harmonize and do Aiki?

Allah, or God, gave the Muslims the command to bow five times a day. This is a practice of humility. But instead of letting the practice serve its purpose (becoming humble) for certain individuals it becomes a thing to be proud of. So instead of functioning as a remedy to our vain pride, it enforces it. How far off the spiritual path have we then gone? Look at the meaning of the law and not to the letter.

If we want to serve God and Allah we first must understand the will of the most high.

I will ask my student to follow his own criteria when it comes to accepting the etiquette and tradition that he himself expects of people entering his faith. He will live by his own set of rules.

phitruong
10-04-2010, 06:28 AM
"We have succumbed to mindless ritual, and seductive ceremony...." - Frank Herbert

man, i got to stop reading the Dune series. :)

Demetrio Cereijo
10-04-2010, 06:53 AM
When law and duty are one, united by religion, you never become fully conscious, fully aware of yourself. You are always a little less than an individual.

Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is "Thou shalt not question!"

man, i got to stop reading the Dune series. :)
Me too :)

torbjornsaw
10-04-2010, 08:53 AM
I am not sure what you are saying --- that you are asking him to observe the etiquette in your dojo, or that you make it optional for him?

I will speak with him and point to this thread as food for thought.

He will not be able to bend his rules as they are part of his commitment to his faith but I am more interested in the meaning of the teachings of religions than the literal observance thereof. No doubt he gains much confidence from his faithfulness and will surely value his adherence to his faith over the dojo's standard of etiquette.

We will see how it unfolds. Very interesting. I have not decided yet what to do as I want him to be able to decide for himself. Bowing is what we do in Aikido, religious or not, humble or not.

So far I've told him to stop any individual bowing deeper than him and explain right there the reason why he can't bow deeper, so they equally share in the bow to the same level and at the same time understand why. Having explained himself the others can make up their own mind if they want to bow deeper or meet him at the same level.

to be continued...

akiy
10-04-2010, 10:12 AM
Hi folks,

Two things:

1) Just wanted to step in here and request that the discussion here in this thread to explicitly include the topic of aikido. If you'd like to discuss religion and spirituality in a context outside of aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

2) Please direct your response(s) towards the topic being discussed and not the person discussing the topic.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Flintstone
10-04-2010, 10:21 AM
1) Just wanted to step in here and request that the discussion here in this thread to explicitly include the topic of aikido. If you'd like to discuss religion and spirituality in a context outside of aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.
Hi Jun.

Then let me ask again, to whoever want to produce an answer, what is the connection between the physical act of bowing a la Japanese and the core principals of Aikido, and why a simple nod won't cut it, when every Japanese national I know (Aikidoka or not) could not care less.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-04-2010, 10:30 AM
FWIW,
I distinctly remember the "shihan" (Is it possibly there is not that much weight on that title in Europe?) and O-Sensei student who, when reminded before the break that we needed to bow out, turned around, waved happily to the shomen and picture of O-Sensei, and said "bye bye".

I think he was making a point - he is not one of those who take spirituality in aikido lightly :-)

torbjornsaw
10-04-2010, 10:39 AM
Alejandro, don't hijack the thread. Start a new one.

torbjornsaw
10-04-2010, 10:50 AM
Bye bye! Waiving goodbye is a very cheerful and lovely gesture and also a display of Japanese lightness in these matters. I love it. It points to a attitude of freedom in the face of rigid conformity to set rules. In japan they have to most intricate formal services and yet they remain not bound by them. This shows a healthy attitude towards dogma and tradition. But hey, do we see them abandoning their ceremonies all together? No they keep them and find great pride in observing them to the utmost precision.

It's a paradox but it holds deep understanding as well.

jonreading
10-04-2010, 11:48 AM
For what's its worth, I separate my etiquette based upon its function. I will make [more] exception for points of etiquette which are non-functional in nature. I want my dojo to be a safe place in which to train so I am less tolerant of behavior which creates a hazard in the dojo. Bowing may be the action [about which we are talking], but the underlying problem is will this student respect his fellow students?

We are talking about bowing so I will keep using that example. Proper etiquette is a learning tool that helps us to act more appropriate; bowing is a mechanism that helps us to learn to respect our partners When I choose to except a student's alternative observation of etiquette, you can bet I will look more closely at how that student still includes the purpose of that action.

My personal feeling is that bowing is part of larger reigi that allows us to safely and responsibly train. However, bowing is one of the points of etiquette I may except because there are other opportunities for students to learn to respect each other. What I am intolerant of are students who request to exclude bowing from their training and they do not show respect towards their fellow students. It only takes one of these jerks to harm your training environment...

Oh, I get more strict with weapons training. Nothing like that jerk swinging a stick, too.

Flintstone
10-04-2010, 11:58 AM
For what's its worth, I separate my etiquette based upon its function. I will make [more] exception for points of etiquette which are non-functional in nature. I want my dojo to be a safe place in which to train so I am less tolerant of behavior which creates a hazard in the dojo. Bowing may be the action [about which we are talking], but the underlying problem is will this student respect his fellow students?
I entirely agree with you, Jon. But there's nothing in the original post that would lead us to think this is the case.

Otherwise, good point.

Flintstone
10-04-2010, 12:01 PM
Alejandro, don't hijack the thread. Start a new one.
Sorry, Bjorn, I'm not interesting in starting a new thread. Anyhow, if you're referring to this post of mine:

Then let me ask again, to whoever want to produce an answer, what is the connection between the physical act of bowing a la Japanese and the core principals of Aikido, and why a simple nod won't cut it, when every Japanese national I know (Aikidoka or not) could not care less.

I believe it is in the spirit of the original thread. I don't see any hijacking occurring. Sorry to make you feel like that.

Johann Baptista
10-04-2010, 12:53 PM
This seems a trvial matter to me. When I immerse myself into another spirtual tradition I don't bring with me a load of baggage; I comply with whatever etiquette there is. It doesn't matter what I believe, I leave that aside so that I can learn from whatever I'm doing. But there are certain lines I would not step over, such as sacrificing an animal, or inflicting pain on someone else, no matter what the tradition. If a custom does not hold such weight as that, it is just another chance to learn and view life from a different perspective. And yes, Aikdio IS about viewing life from a different perspective. Encouraging peoples of different faiths to do Aikido is wonderful, and I know Aikido philosophy has universal roots. But the dojo is not the place to mold as you see fit; its rules need to respected or the full power of its teachings will never be revealed. Who knows how many lessons are kept in the little things?

torbjornsaw
10-04-2010, 02:52 PM
No worries Alejandro, just a little tired of senseless arguing by many.
:-)

David Board
10-04-2010, 04:05 PM
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another. We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?

Thank you,

Yes I've had several other Muslim students that do not find it a problem. He does understand the reasons for our etiquette and its tradition of respect but his faith only allow a full bow during formal prayers.
I had a Jewish student that could not bow to O Sensei's picture but had no problems to bow to my little Kamidana (the small wooden shrine on the wall), so I just moved O Sensei's picture a little to the side.

In Iwama O Sensei did not bow to his own picture or of that of another but he bowed to the Kamidana (Spirit altar). So I often say we bow in respect to the Spirit (or God if you prefer).

There are many differing understandings to what that refers to but I subscribe to a full spiritual understanding based on personal experience that is possible to convey to another of its significance and relatedness to normal human matters.

We bow and do not pray. We can pray in front of the kamidana but then we enter a new field of practice. Bowing is a practice in itself that I find worth doing regardless of beliefs.

I asked the man to explain his reasons to the students he bow to in order not to cause any undo confusion. It's a little strange if one person bows the whole way to the floor and the other only nods. I see Aikido to be a meeting point and as such we also meet in the bow to each other. With that in mind my students would honor his way and nod in a similar way to make a balanced greeting. But then his ways has overtaken the ways of the dojo and all alike would have to change their conduct his. And even then, maybe most of us liberal minded westerners wouldn't mind to comply without any concern; -Just let's us get on with training will you!

What to do?

The orginal question was about the depth of the bow?

niall
10-04-2010, 08:17 PM
I really recommend this very interesting BBC broadcast (available for 5 more days) about religious tolerance and intolerance in history using objects from the British Museum as starting points. It's objective and fascinating. One quote:

"Sunnis and Shias met in one mosque, and Christians and Jews met in one church..."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009zklv

Carl Thompson
10-05-2010, 03:20 AM
The orginal question was about the depth of the bow?

I actually wondered about this, just because of what I read on Bjorn sensei's homepage. Since he mentioned the "Japanese way" I presume it doesn't actually touch the floor, but in places like Myanmar you would fully touch your head to the ground, raising your posterior. In Japan, the shallow bow of respect in a shrine would be classed as a "yuu" 揖.

Carl

He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.

torbjornsaw
10-05-2010, 03:59 AM
Down to details :-)

Some, because of general stiffness, some due to a rather wide waist, some due to knee problems, raise their butt in the air. Some, to wipe the sweat off their forehead, some in order to rest, some because of utter submission, some for respect, and others not really knowing
how deep is deep enough, not knowing the national standard, will bow with the head touching the floor.

Saito Sensei said the Aikido bow is deeper than other Martial Arts as we don't look at the others eye when we bow to the ground.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-05-2010, 05:52 AM
Saito Sensei said the Aikido bow is deeper than other Martial Arts as we don't look at the others eye when we bow to the ground.

Have you read Saito's Traditional Aikido, Vol 5 pp 26-28?

torbjornsaw
10-05-2010, 07:17 AM
Have you read Saito's Traditional Aikido, Vol 5 pp 26-28?

Oh, got them in my bookcase. Better get them out to have a look.

Personally though, I offer my neck without fear.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-05-2010, 08:27 AM
Bjorn,

It seems to me you've changed Iwama style reigi to satisfy your own vision of the art. This makes your concerns about the muslim guy desires or self imposed limitations totally irrelevant.

jonreading
10-05-2010, 11:08 AM
I know of several different styles of bowing, particular to different styles of martial arts. I think the common thread between them is bowing is a [formal] greeting that acknowledges the other. This aspect of etiquette exists in most cultures. The salutation is a derivation of showing an empty hand, shaking hands more informal. The term "see you" is a derivation of one party acknowledging the presence of the other. To "meet" was to describe a confrontation of two parties. The act of acknowledgement is not as relevant as the intention behind the action.

When I attend Catholic mass, I do not take communion because I am not Catholic. However, If I chose to take communion, no one would stop me because only I know that I am not Catholic. In this sense, I must understand why I should abstain from taking communion and then stand behind my intention to abstain from communion because it is not right for me. I do not advocate that we should blindly do what the rest of the herd does. Bowing because others bow is how we start our training. As we train the act should become more than an act, it should also reflect our intention. We can replace the [bowing] act with another act of acknowledgement, but we need to demonstrate our intention to respect our partner.

Many bad people hide their intentions behind a mask of courtesy. Bowing is one of those acts that makes students choose to either hide their true feelings behind an act, or become the act. Eventually you will either see through the false act or the student will internalize its meeting. Its not that difficult to see through false actions. Ever hear someone laugh falsely at one of your jokes?

Etiquette is not that difficult to follow. It actually makes more sense as you train because good etiquette has purpose and experience illuminates purpose.

David Orange
10-05-2010, 06:14 PM
He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way...


Well, has he come back to classes?

I have found that when someone expresses a major dislike of something I do from the very first meeting (like bowing, for instance, or removing all jewelry), that's a way out for them to reject the classes.

I would tell him, "That's the way we do things. It's part of the culture and it comes with the art. Take it voluntarily or just accept that the practice of this art is not for you."

Now I'll read the rest of the thread and see what happened.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
10-05-2010, 06:26 PM
He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way

Of course, in my own training and in my Zero Degree teaching, I have dropped bowing and instead use gassho hands at the heart level.

When I go to someone's dojo, I bow as they bow.

Of course, I have been to some dojos where an isolated local culture had transformed the simple Japanese bow into a kind of Noh play, with intricate malarkey piled on. The rei is a major part of the personality of each dojo and if I don't like the way they bow, I just leave them alone.

Best to all.

David

David Orange
10-05-2010, 07:14 PM
I've found that folks that are insistent on their way are soon on their way.

Exactly.

torbjornsaw
10-05-2010, 10:16 PM
Having practiced with Morihiro Saito Sensei in Iwama over a period of plus six years I continue the etiquette we did there as I previous also had done with his student and my teacher Tomita Sensei in Sweden. I have not changed any part. Not because I'm rigidly sticking to a certain procedure and take pride in it but because it never was a source of contention or of discussion. It all was done with ease and never did I hear Saito Sensei telling us off for bowing touching the mat with our forehead as we thanked each other or invited another to train from seiza.
None of us measured the limit of the bow or got into arguments about its martial application.
The fake attentiveness some like to put on in order to feel they behave like warriors is quite pathetic. We train Aikido, not soldiery.

torbjornsaw
10-06-2010, 02:49 PM
Of course, in my own training and in my Zero Degree teaching, I have dropped bowing and instead use gassho hands at the heart level.

:) Zero Degree teaching? Is that in the cold? Rubbing your hands together to stay warm?

David Orange
10-07-2010, 09:11 AM
:) Zero Degree teaching? Is that in the cold? Rubbing your hands together to stay warm?

It's five lessons that get to the beginning of the beginning of all martial arts techniques, based first on standing upright. It covers kicks, punches, aikido atemi, etc., starting from the smallest of the smallest movements.

You might say it's "a martial art about nothing."

I use gassho particularly because the bow is so closely associated with dynamic martial arts and to some degree signifies "If I hurt you, I didn't mean to."

The gassho greeting is explained as meaning "I will not hurt you."

It puts people in the frame of mind, from the beginning, that they are not there for fighting but to explore the origins of movement.

Hope that helps.

David

By the way....did the guy in question ever return to your dojo? How did you work things out?

WilliB
10-07-2010, 11:03 AM
It's five lessons that get to the beginning of the beginning of all martial arts techniques, based first on standing upright. It covers kicks, punches, aikido atemi, etc., starting from the smallest of the smallest movements.

You might say it's "a martial art about nothing."


Err... is there a video to show this? Or is it too small to be seen? :cool:

Phil Van Treese
10-07-2010, 01:27 PM
I have a problem with some new person coming into my school and telling me that he/she will not bow to O sensei's picture or the Kamiza. IF he is going to come to my school, he will follow the dojo rules. If I go to another's dojo, then I follow their rules. It will be a cold day below before a student will dictate to me what he will or will not do. The door works both ways, in and out.

David Orange
10-07-2010, 03:14 PM
Err... is there a video to show this? Or is it too small to be seen? :cool:

I haven't done any videos of it.

People usually really enjoy the lessons.

I developed them from applying Feldenkrais concepts to the aikido I learned with Mochizuki Sensei, who told me two things: 1) teach as much as possible as fast as possible; and 2) teach something at every lesson that the student can go out and use that same day.

Strangely, through Feldenkrais, I found that the best way to teach "as much as possible as fast as possible" is to teach as little as possible. But I do teach imminently usable material in each one-hour lesson.

David

WilliB
10-07-2010, 10:02 PM
I have a problem with some new person coming into my school and telling me that he/she will not bow to O sensei's picture or the Kamiza. IF he is going to come to my school, he will follow the dojo rules. If I go to another's dojo, then I follow their rules. It will be a cold day below before a student will dictate to me what he will or will not do. The door works both ways, in and out.

Well said, sir!

torbjornsaw
10-07-2010, 11:46 PM
The student has not come back yet, but he did say in two weeks. We'll see?

lbb
10-08-2010, 06:42 AM
The student has not come back yet, but he did say in two weeks. We'll see?

Don't read too much into it if he doesn't. Most people who walk into the dojo don't stay, for reasons that have nothing to do with religious sensibilities.

Carl Thompson
10-08-2010, 06:53 AM
Some, because of general stiffness, some due to a rather wide waist, some due to knee problems, raise their butt in the air. Some, to wipe the sweat off their forehead, some in order to rest, some because of utter submission, some for respect, and others not really knowing how deep is deep enough, not knowing the national standard, will bow with the head touching the floor.

If this is the case then it looks like you have a bit of leeway.

It seems to me that bowing in most cultures is a way of showing respect by demonstrating one's willingness to trust. You are literally offering your head. It can be done to different degrees and further meaning can be added to make it an act of worship but then the same can be done with eating bread, drinking wine or singing. I always thought of bowing as a sign of respect, especially before a picture of Osensei or in front of the kamidana. Even with four claps and full Shinto prayer in the Aiki Shrine, I see it as a form of symbolism showing respect. Beyond that is one's own business. Some might say that Shinto itself is a way of showing respect rather than a religion per se: a way of looking at and acting within the universe. Regardless of that, I think another important point that Bjorn mentioned is awase. Your manners and etiquette are usually your first point of awase with your opponent in aikido.

Don
10-08-2010, 02:02 PM
I suppose it depends on where you are in your aikido experience that determines what you get to do. There is a high ranking shihan in my organization who is a committed Muslim. He does not bow into classes for the same reason the OP does not. Now he has managed to attain this high rank and has not been asked to leave this organization. He respectfully waits off the mat while another person bows his class in and then teaches. I suppose that brings into question the notion of "what is really important in aikido? The aikido or the reiho? There have been other threads on this issue and it seems that the thread gravitates to different conclusions depending on who is participating. This is really a very complex question for the instructor and student. It can get at what the instructor views the bowing to signify. Nothing? Bowing in respect to OSensei's memory by bowing to a kamiza? Bowing to a kamidana? Bowing and clapping to ward away the evil spirits? If a student for instance came in and was really sincere about aikido but also for instance really wanted to respect the second Jewish and Christian commandment of not bowing to any graven image, bowing to a kamiza could present a real problem, but that in no way would necessarily compromise their ability to participate in and do well in aikido. I know. I have practiced aikido for over 14 years and do not bow to a kamiza. I will bow to others because that is clearly a cultural greeting between living persons. No one has beaten me up about it and if they had I would have left. Others might not. Depends on what is most important to you.

Anthony Loeppert
10-08-2010, 06:37 PM
Now he has managed to attain this high rank and has not been asked to leave this organization. He respectfully waits off the mat while another person bows his class in and then teaches.


I like this story... because it shows deference to existing (aikido) norms but BECAUSE muslim sensei is in charge in his dojo he calls the shots so to speak... AND since his students (the rest of the group) have no problem with this, GREAT! Who cares?!

I'd be interested to know what he did as a beginner, but the details don't change the situation, it is up to the group to accept or not, just like it is up to the individual to show up to class.


I suppose that brings into question the notion of "what is really important in aikido?


No, I think it is more basic than that. This is what we (we in this case being the dojo membership) believe. If you have a problem with it, bounce.


If a student for instance came in and was really sincere about aikido but also for instance really wanted to respect the second Jewish and Christian commandment of not bowing to any graven image, bowing to a kamiza could present a real problem, but that in no way would necessarily compromise their ability to participate in and do well in aikido.

Not a theologian (nor do I even really care one way or another), but I believe the commandment is do not worship graven images. Worship != Bowing

Now flipping the issue as I believe respect (of differences) goes both ways. Would one be accepted walking into a mosque saying "Hey, I'm curious about this Islam business but this bowing towards mecca every couple of hours is ridiculous/silly/offensive and ain't nothing better than grilled pork ribs. Plus what is up with no eating/drinking during daylight for a month (or whatever it is)? Where do I sign up?"

I suspect it is an open question, depending many things (what country you are in for example), but finally it is up to the existing membership of whatever group you want to join to decide if it is OK or not.

Regards,
Anthony

Anthony Loeppert
10-08-2010, 07:31 PM
I have practiced aikido for over 14 years and do not bow to a kamiza. I will bow to others because that is clearly a cultural greeting between living persons.



No one has beaten me up about it and if they had I would have left. Others might not.

Exactly the point of my previous post...

lbb
10-09-2010, 05:42 AM
No, I think it is more basic than that. This is what we (we in this case being the dojo membership) believe. If you have a problem with it, bounce.

Hmm. Well, while I don't agree that a newcomer should be able to dictate to the dojo, I also believe that sometimes a newcomer who does things differently can bring positive changes to a dojo. In our dojo (for example) we have a student who has some physical challenges and sometimes cannot sit at all. We have another student who is developmentally disabled, and while not disruptive, has difficulty giving the kind of focused attention that is considered polite in most dojo for more than a short period of time. We have learned things from training with these two individuals, not in spite of their limitations (if I can use the word) but because of them. If nothing else, we have learned some things about our own capacity for flexibility, and also about the observance of form. It's not that form, or reigi, don't matter...but they're also not paramount. I think we've learned some things about what really matters. If we had simply told these individuals to "bounce", we'd be the less for it.

guest1234567
10-09-2010, 01:35 PM
I think bowing is a sign of respect to Doshu and our sensei, it is a tradition in aikido classes, the same as we name all aikido techniques in japanese not in our own language. We always bow when our sensei teaches aikido or kenjutsu, but we do not bow in the self-defence classes also teached by our sensei.

Anthony Loeppert
10-09-2010, 10:02 PM
Hmm. Well, while I don't agree that a newcomer should be able to dictate to the dojo, I also believe that sometimes a newcomer who does things differently can bring positive changes to a dojo.
...
If we had simply told these individuals to "bounce", we'd be the less for it.

Perhaps I came off callous, that was not my intent. My point was just that it is first and foremost the choice of the sensei. I wouldn't have a problem (of course this is just a thought exercise as I'm not teaching) as long as the attitude of the prospective student was sincere and open (is bowing the only impediment to training, or is this just the first of the objections that will come)... this topic has been beaten like a dead horse so I won't dwell on it.

Regards,
Anthony

Flintstone
10-10-2010, 02:48 AM
I think bowing is a sign of respect to Doshu and our sensei, it is a tradition in aikido classes, the same as we name all aikido techniques in japanese not in our own language. We always bow when our sensei teaches aikido or kenjutsu, but we do not bow in the self-defence classes also teached by our sensei.
Carina, what about other lineages that do not follow Hombu and don't pay homage to Doshu (so to speak)?

BTW, be sure to say hello to César.

makuchg
10-19-2010, 12:33 PM
Came into the discussion late, but wanted to add my 2 cents. I taught at a dojo as a guest instructor in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and there was no bowing for religious reasons. While this at first seemed strange, I realized to resist this interpretation would be very un-aiki.

What would O'Sensei think if the beauty and message of Aikido was not spread simply because of custom differences?

Hellis
10-19-2010, 02:26 PM
I have a problem with some new person coming into my school and telling me that he/she will not bow to O sensei's picture or the Kamiza. IF he is going to come to my school, he will follow the dojo rules. If I go to another's dojo, then I follow their rules. It will be a cold day below before a student will dictate to me what he will or will not do. The door works both ways, in and out.

That is exactly the way I look at this issue. The dojo rules apply to everyone including the dojo Sensei, they are not flexible.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

niall
10-19-2010, 09:16 PM
I don't think it's worth going over the same stuff again. Let's change the direction slightly. At the Aikikai I've seen Japanese people stop and bow to a bas-relief of O Sensei inside the entrance. And I've seen the same thing outside the Kodokan - Japanese people stopping to bow to a statue of Jigoro Kano Sensei. I haven't noticed foreign students doing it.

guest1234567
10-20-2010, 12:57 AM
Carina, what about other lineages that do not follow Hombu and don't pay homage to Doshu (so to speak)?

BTW, be sure to say hello to César.
Hi Alejandro, of course if you don't follow the doshu it is different, I respect all traditions and if I train in another dojo I would follow the ones they use there, I were in a few ninjutsu classes and clapped and bowed as everybody else...
I will give yuour regards to Cesar, thanks I'll see him in November in the Seminar with Frank Noel.

Carl Thompson
10-20-2010, 06:52 PM
Going back to comments about "when in Rome, do as the Roman's do," you have to bear in mind that the Romans kept slaves, nailed Christians to crosses and so on.

It is a good general rule to learn and fit in with any new culture. I think this falls under peace with your environment. It is a good general rule to accommodate anyone you meet. That is peace between yourself and others. It is also a good general rule to be true to your own little segment of the universe. That is peace with oneself. An aikido-related concept for this balance is called Sanwa 三和 (threefold peace).

If a one-handed man comes into the dojo, do you deny him the right to practice because he cannot do techniques on one side? If your dojo has claps before a kamidana, he will not be able to do that either. Someone with a spinal injury and knee problems may simply be incapable of bowing. I would imagine most would accommodate this kind of obvious physical limitation with little argument. How about a mental limitation? The potential for an autistic student to improve themselves through aikido is enormous. What if such a student cannot perform some of the etiquette due to their condition? The sliding scale here is from physical to mental limitations. On either side, you have situations where the physical or mental impediment is not so serious as to stop them at least partially doing something.

I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all rule. There are basic principles of respect that must be brought into balance.

makuchg
10-20-2010, 07:00 PM
Going back to comments about "when in Rome, do as the Roman's do," you have to bear in mind that the Romans kept slaves, nailed Christians to crosses and so on.

It is a good general rule to learn and fit in with any new culture. I think this falls under peace with your environment. It is a good general rule to accommodate anyone you meet. That is peace between yourself and others. It is also a good general rule to be true to your own little segment of the universe. That is peace with oneself. An aikido-related concept for this balance is called Sanwa 三和 (threefold peace).

If a one-handed man comes into the dojo, do you deny him the right to practice because he cannot do techniques on one side? If your dojo has claps before a kamidana, he will not be able to do that either. Someone with a spinal injury and knee problems may simply be incapable of bowing. I would imagine most would accommodate this kind of obvious physical limitation with little argument. How about a mental limitation? The potential for an autistic student to improve themselves through aikido is enormous. What if such a student cannot perform some of the etiquette due to their condition? The sliding scale here is from physical to mental limitations. On either side, you have situations where the physical or mental impediment is not so serious as to stop them at least partially doing something.

I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all rule. There are basic principles of respect that must be brought into balance.

Carl, well said!

Tim Ruijs
10-25-2010, 07:35 AM
I had a Jewish student that could not bow to O Sensei's picture but had no problems to bow to my little Kamidana (the small wooden shrine on the wall), so I just moved O Sensei's picture a little to the side.
However insignificant this might seem, I think it is wrong, very wrong.
In your dojo, you make the rules. Running a dojo is a big part of your Aikido development (for both you and your students). A dojo has one master (you). Yours seems to have many: any student that does not like a rule can potentially change it. Wrong. Either they adapt or leave.
Off course it is good to think about it, talk about it, put it on a forum :) . But stay centered, know your Path.

Should in the course of your understanding of Aikido your lessons change accordingly, so be it. That would only reflect your growing as Aikidoka (teacher). Perhaps even the way you teach changes over time; probably has.

FYI In my dojo we bow to O Sensei to show our respect and gratitude for his his effort to develop Aikido.


In Iwama O Sensei did not bow to his own picture or of that of another but he bowed to the Kamidana (Spirit altar). So I often say we bow in respect to the Spirit (or God if you prefer).
I would say the image in his dojo was there not for him, but for his students when in absence.

Tim Ruijs
10-25-2010, 07:50 AM
If a one-handed man comes into the dojo, do you deny him the right to practice because he cannot do techniques on one side? If your dojo has claps before a kamidana, he will not be able to do that either. Someone with a spinal injury and knee problems may simply be incapable of bowing. I would imagine most would accommodate this kind of obvious physical limitation with little argument. How about a mental limitation? The potential for an autistic student to improve themselves through aikido is enormous. What if such a student cannot perform some of the etiquette due to their condition? The sliding scale here is from physical to mental limitations. On either side, you have situations where the physical or mental impediment is not so serious as to stop them at least partially doing something.

I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all rule. There are basic principles of respect that must be brought into balance.

The OP mentions that a student morally/religiously objects bow. This is not about a physical limitation.

In the situations you describe the student themselves probably already try to do the best they can. I think the intent in the scenarios is quite different. Somebody with bad knees may nod, someone with one arm may clap to his chest or slap his upperleg.
This would be very good Aikido...I think...

lbb
10-25-2010, 08:03 AM
However insignificant this might seem, I think it is wrong, very wrong.

Lather, rinse, repeat. (http://frederatorblogs.com/channel_frederator/files/2009/06/beating_a_dead_horse1.gif)

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 08:30 AM
So you keep insisting in that no bowing equals no Aikido. Good to know then that O Sensei was also doing Flintstone Ryu and not Aikido.

The example that Tim Rujis is given... Like "in my dojo we wear pink uwagi with dotted hakama, you don't wear one, you don't train here". I'm glad I live where I live and train were I train, must be awful to work under such an authoritarian environment.

And, Jun, this is NOT a personal attack.

mathewjgano
10-25-2010, 11:36 AM
However insignificant this might seem, I think it is wrong, very wrong.
In your dojo, you make the rules.
Including whether or not to make accommodations for students?

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 01:29 PM
So you keep insisting in that no bowing equals no Aikido. Good to know then that O Sensei was also doing Flintstone Ryu and not Aikido.
.
Alejandro a perhaps silly question, if everybody agrees that O'Sensei is the founder of Aikido, and to bow is a tradition of Aikido if you don't pay homage to O'Sensei you are not doing Aikido, you train but that what you do is another martial art, you can call it as you like but not Aikido...
Remeber I'm here to learn and know very well this is not Aikiforum, I'm the same here than there, I wonder why Demetrio and you are different? And I'm sorry you are no more in Aikiforum...

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 01:44 PM
I wonder why Demetrio and you are different?

Because he's not as cynical (or galician) as me. :D

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 02:03 PM
Because he's not as cynical (or galician) as me. :D
Demetrio, I don't ment you and Alejandro are different, I mean you and Alejandro are different here in this forum than in Aikiforum..

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 02:04 PM
Alejandro a perhaps silly question, if everybody agrees that O'Sensei is the founder of Aikido, and to bow is a tradition of Aikido if you don't pay homage to O'Sensei you are not doing Aikido, you train but that what you do is another martial art, you can call it as you like but not Aikido...
Nobody denies that O Sensei is the founder of Aikido. That opens the door to the debate of whether you, in your dojo, or Cesar for that matter, are doing (O Sensei's) Aikido; but I do believe you don't want to go down that road...

Shall I pay homage to O Sensei? If the answer is yes, who said I don't do it? And if the answer is yes and I don't do it, does that really disqualify my training as Aikido? Huh? Am I getting you right? If I don't pay homage to Euclides, Tales, Newton, Einstein... does that really means I'm not a scientist? I mean... Really??? Says who exactly?

Remeber I'm here to learn and know very well this is not Aikiforum, I'm the same here than there, I wonder why Demetrio and you are different? And I'm sorry you are no more in Aikiforum...
Demetrio and myself... we're just the same here and there. Don't be so cynical as to ask me why I don't post again in that garden. You shall know that my opinions there are not of the like of Victor "Palpatine" Gutierrez and so I have the great honor of being the first and last permanent ban there. But now that you ask, please, pass my warmest regards to the Imperator and tell him we still shall meet in any stage, just when he's last expecting me. I'm longing to train with him and have him explain to me what's that yondan worth.

And, Jun, this is not a personal attack. Too.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 02:05 PM
I mean you and Alejandro are different here in this forum than in Aikiforum
When in Rome...

BTW, the cynical is me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demetrius_the_Cynic), not Carina

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 02:08 PM
When in Rome...

This is not an answer,

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 02:13 PM
This is not an answer,
Yours wasn't a question.

Can we stop hijacking this thread? please.

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 02:14 PM
Nobody denies that O Sensei is the founder of Aikido. That opens the door to the debate of whether you, in your dojo, or Cesar for that matter, are doing (O Sensei's) Aikido; but I do believe you don't want to go down that road...
We are doing Endo+ -, better Frank Noels Aikido, but still respect Doshu

Shall I pay homage to O Sensei? If the answer is yes, who said I don't do it? And if the answer is yes and I don't do it, does that really disqualify my training as Aikido? Huh? Am I getting you right? If I don't pay homage to Euclides, Tales, Newton, Einstein... does that really means I'm not a scientist? I mean... Really??? Says who exactly?

But it does not hurt you to bow and it is a sign of respect

Demetrio and myself... we're just the same here and there. Don't be so cynical as to ask me why I don't post again in that garden. You shall know that my opinions there are not of the like of Victor "Palpatine" Gutierrez and so I have the great honor of being the first and last permanent ban there. But now that you ask, please, pass my warmest regards to the Imperator and tell him we still shall meet in any stage, just when he's last expecting me. I'm longing to train with him and have him explain to me what's that yondan worth.

Alejandro I know this is not an attack, a assure it Yun..
I met Victor once in a semnar.. He does not write very much in the Aikiforum, since I returned,he din't write anything

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 02:16 PM
Yours wasn't a question.

Can we stop hijacking this thread? please.

Ok Demetrio, thats it, in Aikiforum you wouldn't say so, on the contrary...But ok I finish... Maybe sometime I'll understand, I hope it is not what I am thinking

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 02:19 PM
Ok Demetrio, thats it, in Aikiforum you wouldn't say so, on the contrary...

Give it a try, but there. Don't bring aikiforum issues to aikiweb.

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 02:31 PM
We are doing Endo+ -, better Frank Noels Aikido, but still respect Doshu
But of course! And then Endo or Noel are doing O Sensei's Aikido...?

But it does not hurt you to bow and it is a sign of respect
Well. It does not hurt me. It does hurt, however, at roughly half the world's population. Cold on your tracks?

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 02:38 PM
But of course! And then Endo or Noel are doing O Sensei's Aikido...?
No, thats why I said we still respect Doshu

Well. It does not hurt me. It does hurt, however, at roughly half the world's population. Cold on your tracks?
I'm very calm:) and I'm not cynic, I'm not used to it:)
Ale, Ale Alejandro:D , my youngest son is also Alejandro and very naughty...

Carl Thompson
10-25-2010, 02:55 PM
The OP mentions that a student morally/religiously objects bow. This is not about a physical limitation.

In the situations you describe the student themselves probably already try to do the best they can. I think the intent in the scenarios is quite different. Somebody with bad knees may nod, someone with one arm may clap to his chest or slap his upperleg.
This would be very good Aikido...I think...

I also mentioned mental limitations, including psychological disease. It doesn't mean you have to be Dawkins, categorising religion as such. Just as you can physically condition people not to be able to do something (give someone a spinal injury so they can't bow), you can do the same with mental conditioning (bring someone up so bowing is harder than taking part in the pre-keiko sex free-for-all). It is still a condition in which someone cannot do something.

I fully agree that if the student simply has a different opinion on how things should be done, it is a different matter.

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 03:03 PM
No, thats why I said we still respect Doshu.
So maybe, and just maybe, you should stop calling whatever you are doing "Aikido".

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 03:09 PM
I

I fully agree that if the student simply has a different opinion on how things should be done, it is a different matter.
Of course everybody can have different opinions, I believe Aikido also opens the mind...But it just looks very rare if only one student does not bow, for me it has nothing to do with religion it is just a greeting beside a sign of respect to Doshu and the sensei and tradition. I'm not catholic and not used to cross entering in a church, but I feel rare when everybody is crossing.

And please forgive the little discussion with my countrymans, I was just curious about their different behaviour and told them so because of their nice "this is no the aikiforum":D
I think we must hold together;) as spanish aikidoists

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 03:10 PM
So maybe, and just maybe, you should stop calling whatever you are doing "Aikido".
Alejandro we bow and respect Doshu and follow the traditions;)

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 03:52 PM
Give it a try, but there. Don't bring aikiforum issues to aikiweb.
There is nothing to answer there.
Sorry for that, I explained it before..
And I mostly say what I think..;)

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 03:59 PM
Alejandro we bow and respect Doshu and follow the traditions;)
So your definition of what is and what is not Aikido is "bow, respect Doshu and follow the traditions"? Your Aikido is so because you bow, respect Doshu and follow the traditions, even when it does not resemble O Sensei's Aikido at all. Other's won't be Aikido because they don't bow, respect Doshu or follow the traditions even when done both in intention and form in the same manner as O Sensei?

That's an ugly definition, but hey, everything's ok.

BTW, what are those traditions without which we cannot do Aikido? Wear black hakama from shodan on is one of those? Clapping a la Shinto or bowing? And bowing with left hand first and then the right one? Or with both at the same time? Iwama's bukiwaza or Shingu's? Or Saotome's? Or Nishio's? Or... what the hell is Aikido, Carina? Oh, yes. If we bow, respect Doshu and follow some (which?) traditions, it's Aikido. Weird.

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 04:12 PM
So your definition of what is and what is not Aikido is "bow, respect Doshu and follow the traditions"? Your Aikido is so because you bow, respect Doshu and follow the traditions, even when it does not resemble O Sensei's Aikido at all. Other's won't be Aikido because they don't bow, respect Doshu or follow the traditions even when done both in intention and form in the same manner as O Sensei?That's an ugly definition, but hey, everything's ok.
O'Sensei is the founder from Aikido, our aikido is a bit different but the root is the same, and aikido is all, techniques, bowing, name the techniques in japanese. There are many different kind of doing the techniques, but most of them bow, because they are doing aikido. Perhaps in spanish I could explain it better, but this is a challenge

BTW, what are those traditions without which we cannot do Aikido? Wear black hakama from shodan on is one of those? Clapping a la Shinto or bowing? And bowing with left hand first and then the right one? Or with both at the same time? Iwama's bukiwaza or Shingu's? Or Saotome's? Or Nishio's? Or... what the hell is Aikido, Carina? Oh, yes. If we bow, respect Doshu and follow some (which?) traditions, it's Aikido. Weird.
We wear hakama from 2 Kyu the men and 4 Kyu women, we bow, almost both hands..Tell me except you, who else from the ones you named don't bow?

And Alejandro, thank you very much for this opinion change it is nice, just a little train, compensating that we don't have aikido today

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 04:18 PM
Alejandro we... follow the traditions;)

Ah, the traditions...

- Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan (http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=3406)

- The Invention of Tradition (http://dannyreviews.com/h/The_Invention_of_Tradition.html)

Read them.

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 04:22 PM
Ah, the traditions...

- Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan (http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=3406)

- The Invention of Tradition (http://dannyreviews.com/h/The_Invention_of_Tradition.html)

Read them.
Ok I will, and also most of your publications from your blog, I discoverd it the other day...
But Demetrio how do you know that that what you advised me to read is true?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 04:24 PM
Did I say they were true?

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 04:28 PM
Did I say they were true?
you are turning the "tortilla":D
Then what, tha traditions are real or just invented? In the time from O'Sensei, they wore hakamas, they bowed, so it is all invented?

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 04:31 PM
O'Sensei is the founder from Aikido, our aikido is a bit different but the root is the same, and aikido is all, techniques, bowing, name the techniques in japanese. There are many different kind of doing the techniques, but most of them bow, because they are doing aikido. Perhaps in spanish I could explain it better, but this is a challenge
Is O Sensei the father of modern Aikido? Does Kisshomaru's name ring a bell? Or Tohei's?

Name of the techniques? Are you talking "ikkyo" or "ikkajo" or "robuse" or "ude osae" or "oshi taoshi" or... What's in a name?

Do you bow a la Shinto? Do you clap like O Sensei did? How dare you call your "art" Aikido then?

Mos of them bow "because they are doing Aikido"? Your pivotal point is that bowing equals Aikido equals bowing? Huh? Really?

We wear hakama from 2 Kyu the men and 4 Kyu women, we bow, almost both hands..Tell me except you, who else from the ones you named don't bow?
Oh, I see. What tradition is that? Certainly not Spanish Federation's. And absolutely, positively, not O Sensei's tradition at all. Also, while I'm defending those who don't bow, let me be clear on this: I do bow. I do clap. I do Aikido. People I know do not bow. Do not clap. Do better Aikido than me, you, Willi B. and many others.

And Alejandro, thank you very much for this opinion change it is nice, just a little train, compensating that we don't have aikido today
If you don't have an Aikido class scheduled, you could try a different art for your odd days. Will widen your perspective. Stay cool.

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 04:32 PM
Then what, tha traditions are real or just invented? In the time from O'Sensei, they wore hakamas, they bowed, so it is all invented?
They wore hakama since day -1. They clapped more than bowed. And they did not call the art "Aikido". But you should know that by now.

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 04:42 PM
Is O Sensei the father of modern Aikido? Does Kisshomaru's name ring a bell? Or Tohei's?
of course
IName of the techniques? Are you talking "ikkyo" or "ikkajo" or "robuse" or "ude osae" or "oshi taoshi" or... What's in a name? Ikkyo yes, the other no..

Do you bow a la Shinto? Do you clap like O Sensei did? How dare you call your "art" Aikido then? We only bow but call it Aikido, because it is

Mos of them bow "because they are doing Aikido"? Your pivotal point is that bowing equals Aikido equals bowing? Huh? Really?
NO bowing it only one of the things you do, but an important

Oh, I see. What tradition is that? Certainly not Spanish Federation's. And absolutely, positively, not O Sensei's tradition at all. Also, while I'm defending those who don't bow, let me be clear on this: I do bow. I do clap. I do Aikido. People I know do not bow. Do not clap. Do better Aikido than me, you, Willi B. and many others[./QUOTE]
We are not discussing who does better aikido, that we only can demonstrate in the tatami

[QUOTE=Alejandro Villanueva;267009]If you don't have an Aikido class scheduled, you could try a different art for your odd days. Will widen your perspective. Stay cool.
:D :D :D then why are you answering, you can also leave it for tomorrow or next week, and don't worry I have lots of things to do, only think all the reading from Demetrio:D
Don't you like if somebody is nice to you, are you not used that anybody thanks your for anything?:D Ok it is pretty late, have sweet dreams:)

Demetrio Cereijo
10-25-2010, 04:43 PM
Maybe the invention is in how a given tradition meaning and significance is reinterpreted.

BTW, what is a tradition?.

guest1234567
10-25-2010, 04:47 PM
Maybe the invention is how a given tradition meaning and significance is reinterpreted.

BTW, what is a tradition?.
Tomorrow I'll read about that and will answer,, and the last aswer from Alejandro. yes I knew.
Sweet dreams to you too:) , que sueñes con los angelitos

Flintstone
10-25-2010, 04:51 PM
Carina, your point is (or was) that if you don't bow you must stop calling what you do "Aikido". I'm no talking I kick ass stronger than you or vice versa. I'm talking people who don't bow practice Aikido just as you say you do even when your tradition is far removed from O Sensei's. Your right to call your teacher's art Aikido is not higher than the right of said people. And still you say you do Aikido "becaise it is" (sic). I won't discuss what kind of argument is that because this is not a debate forum, but an aiki one.

lbb
10-25-2010, 05:34 PM
Of course everybody can have different opinions, I believe Aikido also opens the mind...But it just looks very rare if only one student does not bow, for me it has nothing to do with religion it is just a greeting beside a sign of respect to Doshu and the sensei and tradition. I

And for someone else, it means something else.

This thread has gone on for eight pages now, and I think it has been well established that none of us controls what an action means to others. I know what a bow means to me; I may be able to broaden my own view of what it can mean, but on the other hand, on contemplation I may find that my view narrows. I don't know what a bow means to you, and it is arrogant and impertinent for me to tell you what a bow should mean to you. It is arrogant and impertinent for me to tell you that my beliefs on the subject are the only ones that matter, to the point of even saying that you may not have your own views. Isn't that what we are really saying when we say, "A bow means such-and-such, that's exactly what it means, that's all that it means" -- as if we were stating that 2+2=4? When we say, "A bow means this, that's all that it means," are we not saying that all other views are invalid?

You may state what a bow means to you. You may not state with any claim to truth what it means to anyone else, nor may you state with any claim to truth whether that person may change their view like they'd change their shirt.

graham christian
10-25-2010, 09:45 PM
Bjorn, having read some of your posts I see you are following a spiritual path and so with respect and in a zen fashion I ask you this question: Does he spiritually bow?

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 12:35 AM
Carina, your point is (or was) that if you don't bow you must stop calling what you do "Aikido". I'm no talking I kick ass stronger than you or vice versa. I'm talking people who don't bow practice Aikido just as you say you do even when your tradition is far removed from O Sensei's. Your right to call your teacher's art Aikido is not higher than the right of said people. And still you say you do Aikido "becaise it is" (sic). I won't discuss what kind of argument is that because this is not a debate forum, but an aiki one.
Yes it is a forum for aiki and thats what I liked to explain to you we are following the traditions coming from O'Sensei, we are now only bowing but not clapping, we wear our hakamas with 2/4 Kyu and not when we start, our techniques are bit different( but no much) from what O'Sensei did but it is still aikido... But if you don't bow anymore you do not show repect for O''Sensei and next what???
And Alejandro sorry if you understand I were talking strong, perhaps in my small english it sounds like that, I repeat I'm calm and only try to explain you my thoughts.

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 12:43 AM
Maybe the invention is in how a given tradition meaning and significance is reinterpreted.

BTW, what is a tradition?.

Traditions are beliefs or costums getting from one generation to the next and of course it is like you whisper a phrase in the ear of you neighbour, after passing by 10 guys the sense may change a lot...

And about galizian I think your sometimes showed cynicism is only a cover;)
In my dojo is a galizian who trained Iwama in La Coruña, a very nice guy, very humble and almost shy who is always helping the newbies

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 01:32 AM
And for someone else, it means something else.

This thread has gone on for eight pages now, and I think it has been well established that none of us controls what an action means to others. I know what a bow means to me; I may be able to broaden my own view of what it can mean, but on the other hand, on contemplation I may find that my view narrows. I don't know what a bow means to you, and it is arrogant and impertinent for me to tell you what a bow should mean to you. It is arrogant and impertinent for me to tell you that my beliefs on the subject are the only ones that matter, to the point of even saying that you may not have your own views. Isn't that what we are really saying when we say, "A bow means such-and-such, that's exactly what it means, that's all that it means" -- as if we were stating that 2+2=4? When we say, "A bow means this, that's all that it means," are we not saying that all other views are invalid?

You may state what a bow means to you. You may not state with any claim to truth what it means to anyone else, nor may you state with any claim to truth whether that person may change their view like they'd change their shirt.

Mary I agree with you all of us have different thoughts what bow means, but on the end I find it is a pity not to bow anymore, in only a few years the aikido is changing but we still wear hakamas, for most of the aikidoists it is a pride to wear them, and the most important I think we must show respect for the founder a wise man for his epoch.

Tim Ruijs
10-26-2010, 03:10 AM
Man this thread moves faaast:hypno:


The example that Tim Ruijs is given... Like "in my dojo we wear pink uwagi with dotted hakama, you don't wear one, you don't train here". I'm glad I live where I live and train were I train, must be awful to work under such an authoritarian environment.

Too bad I could not make myself clear on this. The door of my dojo is open to anyone to enter, but equally open for one to leave. To enter means to accept certain rules, mostly Japanese tradition [ouch, there is that word again].

In a dojo there is no democracy, the dojo cho is the 'boss'. Does that automatically imply an authoritarian environment? No, I believe not. A good teacher evaluates and judges everything that happens in a dojo and possibly makes adjustments where and how he sees fit. Can these adjustments also apply to himself? Off course. that's good. The students will see their teacher making an effort to grow and change and help them on their way (Way?). And respect him for it, as he respects their hard work.
Running a dojo involves more than teaching alone.

You will have to make (hard) judgement calls every now and then.
Masakatsu agatsu.

on the side: if a teacher wants everyone to wear pink uwagi I'd say why not? It is the students choice to accept the rules of the dojo.
Your judgement on his decisions/way is an entirely different matter :)

Including whether or not to make accommodations for students?
It strongly depends on the reason the accommodation is required for. Any physical, mental limitation can probably easily be resolved as I mentioned before.

Another matter is having difference of opinion. In this case the student must decide whether or not he can find a way to adopt the rules of the dojo and still remain true to himself.

I also mentioned mental limitations, including psychological disease. It doesn't mean you have to be Dawkins, categorising religion as such. Just as you can physically condition people not to be able to do something (give someone a spinal injury so they can't bow), you can do the same with mental conditioning (bring someone up so bowing is harder than taking part in the pre-keiko sex free-for-all). It is still a condition in which someone cannot do something.

In these cases the teacher and student probably find a way that works and will other students understand the situation.


I fully agree that if the student simply has a different opinion on how things should be done, it is a different matter.
;)

You may state what a bow means to you. You may not state with any claim to truth what it means to anyone else, nor may you state with any claim to truth whether that person may change their view like they'd change their shirt.Agreed. Totally.

Flintstone
10-26-2010, 03:40 AM
Yes it is a forum for aiki and thats what I liked to explain to you we are following the traditions coming from O'Sensei, we are now only bowing but not clapping, we wear our hakamas with 2/4 Kyu and not when we start, our techniques are bit different( but no much) from what O'Sensei did but it is still aikido...
And so, the guy who doesn't bow is doing Aikido too. You know, the rules applies for all, not only for you.

But if you don't bow anymore you do not show repect for O''Sensei and next what???
Excuse me? So the only way to show respect is bowing? Not sure if I read you right.

And Alejandro sorry if you understand I were talking strong, perhaps in my small english it sounds like that, I repeat I'm calm and only try to explain you my thoughts.
Oh, yes. English is also not my strong point, as someone previously pointed out.

lbb
10-26-2010, 05:11 AM
Mary I agree with you all of us have different thoughts what bow means, but on the end I find it is a pity not to bow anymore, in only a few years the aikido is changing but we still wear hakamas, for most of the aikidoists it is a pride to wear them, and the most important I think we must show respect for the founder a wise man for his epoch.

Sure. But is bowing the only way that a person can show respect? That seems like a very limiting view.

lbb
10-26-2010, 05:25 AM
In a dojo there is no democracy, the dojo cho is the 'boss'.

This is so obvious that I'm not sure why, after 9 pages of "discussion", it's still being repeated. Of course you can have your rules in your dojo; that is not in dispute. What I question is the wisdom of some of these rules. Every demand and every restriction that you place on people is an imposition. Some they will take on willingly, because they can see the benefit; others they may not agree on, to the point of walking out your open door. Just because someone walks out your door doesn't make your rule a bad one, but on the other hand, just because you, the dojo owner, made a rule doesn't mean that it's a sensible rule. Thus, I think it's wise for makers-of-rules to consider (and always be willing to reconsider) whether there's real utility in their rules, and also whether they really understand the reasons why some people might have problems with them, or are just high-handedly dismissing those reasons as not very important. Yes, you can demand that people wear pink hakama in your dojo. You'd be stupid to do so. "My way or the highway" is an ultimatum, and people who casually toss around ultimatums find that they lose their effectiveness pretty quickly. Boss of the dojo or not, you still have to choose your battles, so choose them wisely.

Tim Ruijs
10-26-2010, 06:00 AM
This is so obvious that I'm not sure why, after 9 pages of "discussion", it's still being repeated. Of course you can have your rules in your dojo; that is not in dispute. What I question is the wisdom of some of these rules. Every demand and every restriction that you place on people is an imposition. Some they will take on willingly, because they can see the benefit; others they may not agree on, to the point of walking out your open door. Just because someone walks out your door doesn't make your rule a bad one, but on the other hand, just because you, the dojo owner, made a rule doesn't mean that it's a sensible rule. Thus, I think it's wise for makers-of-rules to consider (and always be willing to reconsider) whether there's real utility in their rules, and also whether they really understand the reasons why some people might have problems with them, or are just high-handedly dismissing those reasons as not very important. Yes, you can demand that people wear pink hakama in your dojo. You'd be stupid to do so. "My way or the highway" is an ultimatum, and people who casually toss around ultimatums find that they lose their effectiveness pretty quickly. Boss of the dojo or not, you still have to choose your battles, so choose them wisely.
You question the wisdom of the rules. Rightfully so. The mere existance of rules and how they are enforced clearly reflect how the dojo operates. One dojo, one teacher, so basically you judge the quality of the teacher. Hopefully the teacher is wise to use each opportunity to check himself (when conflicts arise). Keeps struggling to find/keep his Way so to speak.

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 06:48 AM
And so, the guy who doesn't bow is doing Aikido too. You know, the rules applies for all, not only for you.

Excuse me? So the only way to show respect is bowing? Not sure if I read you right.

Oh, yes. English is also not my strong point, as someone previously pointed out.

No Alejandro and Mary it is not, there is a lot more, but what are you both doing entering in a tatami where there is a picture from O'Sensei?

lbb
10-26-2010, 07:29 AM
No Alejandro and Mary it is not, there is a lot more, but what are you both doing entering in a tatami where there is a picture from O'Sensei?

What am I doing entering my living room where there's a picture of my mother?

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 07:36 AM
What am I doing entering my living room where there's a picture of my mother?

:D Idon' t know Mary:D

Demetrio Cereijo
10-26-2010, 08:30 AM
What am I doing entering my living room where there's a picture of my mother?
Entering in your living room, where there's a picture of your mother. As simple as that.

thisisnotreal
10-26-2010, 09:28 AM
Yes; And when someone claps, and tells you they're invoking one or more spirits from the unseen spiritual realm, to watch and empower the session? What then?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-26-2010, 09:52 AM
Grab a bottle of holy water. We papists are not afraid of pagan gods. :p

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-26-2010, 10:11 AM
Yes; And when someone claps, and tells you they're invoking one or more spirits from the unseen spiritual realm, to watch and empower the session? What then?

Well, then the spirits are present and we can finally start training, after all that debate :D

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 11:30 AM
Well, then the spirits are present and we can finally start training, after all that debate :D

Very wise spoken:)

RED
10-26-2010, 01:15 PM
I don't know why we should get held up on the small differences. I sometimes feel like people make these differences out to be mountains, when they are mole-hills. Especially in light of the fact that everyone present has one very specific mountain size similarity.

lbb
10-26-2010, 01:33 PM
:D Idon' t know Mary:D

...and that's exactly the point.

I don't have a problem bowing to a picture of O Sensei, but then, I was raised in a tradition that holds the concept of graven images rather lightly, not granting them undue significance either way. What offends you more: someone who bows because bowing to a picture of O Sensei is meaningless to them, or someone who doesn't want to bow because bowing to a picture of O Sensei is idolatry to them?

lbb
10-26-2010, 01:35 PM
I don't know why we should get held up on the small differences. I sometimes feel like people make these differences out to be mountains, when they are mole-hills.

To you they are molehills. They are not molehills to everyone.

Ten pages now and we still don't understand this.

guest1234567
10-26-2010, 03:25 PM
...and that's exactly the point.

I don't have a problem bowing to a picture of O Sensei, but then, I was raised in a tradition that holds the concept of graven images rather lightly, not granting them undue significance either way. What offends you more: someone who bows because bowing to a picture of O Sensei is meaningless to them, or someone who doesn't want to bow because bowing to a picture of O Sensei is idolatry to them?
I'm not ofended, I'm open to everything, I think most of the newbies bows but don't know who is this old man on the picture and I do understand that there are guys who doen't bow for the reason you wrote, not in our dojo and I never met one, but I know they exist and perhaps would not understand the meaning O'Sensei has for Us? better for me and the people I'm training with, we are like a family, the question is, I will ask if my sensei would accept anybody who doens't want to bow..
I' could'nt train today, cause my car stroke on the highway:sorry:

jbblack
10-26-2010, 04:24 PM
I never thought I was bowing to a picture. I bow to our shomen out of respect to those who have gone before. We have a picture of O'Sensei, and Saito Sensei. Our teacher studied with Saito Sensei for over 9 years in Japan. I bow to the linage, in respect to the fact that I study with a teacher who's teacher studied with O'Sensei.

I bow to my training partners for the gift that they give each time we train together. I bow to my friends at the dojo in respect for the friendship we share.

To bow or not to bow is not enforced by rules, in the same way that you can not force uke to engage you when he grabs or attacks you. This develops over time or it does not.

What we can do is our own practice and when we are asked why we bow to the picture of the old man, we tell them.

OwlMatt
10-26-2010, 05:13 PM
Ikeda Sensei of the ASU has bad knees and cannot sit in seiza at all. He opens the class at the kamiza with the standing rei. It seems to me (though I am no expert) that having this student do the standing rei would allow him to keep some aikido tradition without comprimising his beliefs.

RED
10-26-2010, 05:22 PM
To you they are molehills. They are not molehills to everyone.

Ten pages now and we still don't understand this.

I don't know, it just seems like with so much argument on how to get on the mat...how does anyone ever get to the most important part...training? or, do they?:confused:

guest1234567
10-27-2010, 12:55 AM
I never thought I was bowing to a picture.

I bow to my training partners for the gift that they give each time we train together. I bow to my friends at the dojo in respect for the friendship we share.

What we can do is our own practice and when we are asked why we bow to the picture of the old man, we tell them.
Well said:)

guest1234567
10-27-2010, 12:56 AM
I don't know, it just seems like with so much argument on how to get on the mat...how does anyone ever get to the most important part...training? or, do they?:confused:
Lets go to the training:) but in another thread

Bratislav
10-27-2010, 01:49 AM
Claping and bow to O'Sensei picture, and respect doshu (aikikai is big but not the only aikido organization or style of aikido) not improve aikido training in any way.

Flintstone
10-27-2010, 03:34 AM
I would post a reply to Maggie, but since Jun will ban me again for that, I won't address her comments. Carina, you don't want to understand that for 2.000.000.000 people in the world (a rough estimation) bowing in not acceptable. At all. And you are banning them to train in Aikido because "bowing equals Aikido equals bowing". For some this is a molehill. For said two thousand million people, it's a big, huge mountain.

But of course, your traditions show no respect for half the people in the world. And your traditions also equals Aikido equals your traditions.

I've being training with the Aikikai delegate in Indonesia for some time. Never bowed while in there. He was appointed by Kisshomaru Doshu. Guess both Doshu and Delegate were wrong. And all his students. And you (and some people I cannot mention under Jun's rule) are right. End of the story.

lbb
10-27-2010, 08:35 AM
I don't know, it just seems like with so much argument on how to get on the mat...how does anyone ever get to the most important part...training? or, do they?:confused:

Well, see, you've just defined the terms of the argument and thus constrained the only possible answer to being the one you want. If training is indeed "the most important part" for someone, by definition, bowing or not bowing is a secondary consideration. But for someone who is considering training, who does not currently train, it is probably not "the most important part". If religion doesn't make sense to you, think about family obligations: someone wants to train but is responsible for the care of two young children. It would be a bit odd to expect training to be "the most important part" for this person, certainly not as they're just approaching aikido for the first time. Very few people have the luxury of setting all other considerations, obligations and principles aside in order to train; by far the majority of us who do train, still are accountable to these other considerations. Restrictions caused by matters of principle are surely as real as those caused by practical life obligations, don't you think?

jbblack
10-27-2010, 10:39 AM
From an interview with Kyoichi Inoue Sensei in Aikido Journal.

Some times it is better not to bow. True respect is always correct.

"When Shioda Sensei was still a student at Takushoku University he had a friend who was a very good fighter and he once said to Sensei: “You’re always telling me how strong Ueshiba Sensei is but I could easily hit the old man in the head. Why don’t you introduce him to me?” So one day Shioda Sensei took him to the dojo. They both sat in front of Ueshiba Sensei and Shioda Sensei introduced his friend as the person he had spoken about. Then his friend bowed deeply and said, “How do you do?” However, even though Ueshiba Sensei said “You are most welcome”, he didn’t bow his head. O-Sensei always insisted that his students be polite to everyone but in this case he didn’t bow at all. On the other hand, Shioda Sensei’s friend remained with his head bowed. Shioda Sensei wondered what the two were doing. Then the moment his friend raised his head Ueshiba Sensei bowed saying, “You are most welcome.” (Laughter) Finally the young man bowed again and said: “You have beaten me!” Then they talked about various things. When Shioda Sensei ushered him out, he said to his friend: “You didn’t even touch his head.” His friend’s reply was, “If you are greeted by someone you are meeting for the first time you bow, don’t you? I thought I might at least be able to touch his head even if I could not strike him. But he didn’t bow at all. I thought this wouldn’t work and raised my head but he, on the contrary, bowed his head then and I missed my chance to strike him. That old man is no ordinary person.” When Shioda Sensei went back to the dojo and asked Ueshiba Sensei why he didn’t bow to his friend even though he was just a student, his reply was, “Your friend had an evil heart in the beginning and didn’t greet me sincerely. But he seems to have changed his attitude and so I bowed to him. He freely admitted that he had been beaten.” (Laughter) Concerning that incident Shioda Sensei later told us the following: “If this young man had hit or touched Sensei’s head, O-Sensei would have thrown or pinned him. But it wouldn’t not have been budo then. The secret of budo is to become friends with your opponent the moment you face him. It is the lowest level imaginable to still be involved with hitting or pinning your opponent. aikido is much deeper than that.” He really convinced me."

David Board
10-27-2010, 10:55 AM
If a dojo only had testing on Saturday and an Jew who is shomer Shabbat joined the dojo and could not test. If the Sensei (dojocho?) deemed it important that testing occur on Saturday in his dojo because of tradition, submission of personal will to the customs of the community or just because he could not reschedule or make accommodations. Would you view the issue the same?

Other activities face this issue often. I coach soccer and I lost my star player on Rosh Hashanah. I did not kick him off my team (although this has happened at higher levels (http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/209095).) Another coach constantly finds himself in trouble at tournaments. His team blasts through the tournament typically qualifying for the finals but on Sunday when the finals are held he finds himself without 4 of his star players. They are LDS and can not for religious reasons play on Sunday. He loses almost every final. Should he kick these boys off his team or accept that religion trumps soccer. Does religion trump Aikido?

Once again it is a conflict with religious beliefs and dojo custom. Should dojo custom be placed before religious belief? Also at issue is how important bowing is in Aikido. Some believe that without the bowing you can not practice Aikido. This belief places bowing into a totally different category than dojo custom. It is one of the things that defines Aikido for them.

Why do I bow?

When I first came to Aikido it was because everyone else did. Now I when I bow (with a double clap) I use it to help bring my mind fully onto the training. To an outsider they may even see me as bowing to O'Sensei as I often begin class focused on the picture of O'Sensei. I do this because the pictures shows a smiling benevolent gentleman. It reminds me to practice with "joy". When I began Aikido it also reminded me of Rule One from the Discworld books, which made me grin like the fool I am.

When I bow to my partner, I do so primarily to indicate that I want to train with them as opposed to the person on the other side of me or behind them. I also use it as reminder to myself that I am training with a friend. Someone that I do not wish to harm and who I will provide an honest effort with.

For me, none of the reason I bow can not be achieved in another manner, using a different custom. For me, Aikido is not defined by bowing. I do use the bow to remind myself of some of the principles and philosophy of Aikido as I see them. I do not believe that the bow must be performed to achieve these principle and philosophical understanding. I also do not have any beliefs or customs outside of the dojo to lend extra meaning to a bow. For me, a bow is something that only occurs in the dojo. For me a bow is only part of Aikido.

If I was asked to make the sign of the cross or the same gesture with different meaning before every practice I would feel conflicted. I'm not sure I could do it. While making the sign of the cross is not part of my religious practice it is close enough to disturb me. I am not sure I could participate at a dojo that included this gesture in their customs and that would not make an exception for me . Thus I could see how a Muslim may have difficulties participating in the custom of bowing in.

Marc Abrams
10-27-2010, 12:01 PM
I am frankly amazed that this discussion is still going on. We have one person talking as though he was a representative for 2 billion people, we have other people talk about how things look through their particular religious prisms.

The bow (standing or sitting) takes place within the context of the Japanese culture. What a surprise to notice that a bow is viewed differently from another culture. If a person is simply incapable and/or unwilling to look at a bow from the Japanese perspective, then that pretty clearly points out that person's degree of rigidity, intolerance,.....

Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art. The bow in the dojo takes place within that cultural milieu. If the teacher believes that this particular aspect is an important part of the practice within that cultural milieu than that is the rule for that dojo. A student can simply follow the rules or find another place to study.

Once again, I would like to point out that when dealing with religious and political issues, emotions tend to rule out over common sense, to the point where the very religious and very political tend to insist upon people being open to their points of view while being generally intolerant to the points of view of others.

Marc Abrams

guest1234567
10-27-2010, 01:03 PM
I would post a reply to Maggie, but since Jun will ban me again for that, I won't address her comments. Carina, you don't want to understand that for 2.000.000.000 people in the world (a rough estimation) bowing in not acceptable. At all. And you are banning them to train in Aikido because "bowing equals Aikido equals bowing". For some this is a molehill. For said two thousand million people, it's a big, huge mountain.

But of course, your traditions show no respect for half the people in the world. And your traditions also equals Aikido equals your traditions.

I've being training with the Aikikai delegate in Indonesia for some time. Never bowed while in there. He was appointed by Kisshomaru Doshu. Guess both Doshu and Delegate were wrong. And all his students. And you (and some people I cannot mention under Jun's rule) are right. End of the story.

Alejandro I'm sorry that you do not read my posts:confused:
In answered yesterday Mary "I'm not ofended, I'm open to everything, I think most of the newbies bows but don't know who is this old man on the picture and I do understand that there are guys who doen't bow for the reason you wrote,"
If it is not enough for you OK Alejandro I understand that for 2.000.000.000 people in the world (a rough estimation) bowing is not acceptable. ... I repeat I never met one...
It is now ok and can we start training:)

Flintstone
10-28-2010, 02:34 AM
I am frankly amazed that this discussion is still going on. We have one person talking as though he was a representative for 2 billion people, we have other people talk about how things look through their particular religious prisms.
Actually it is two thousand million people. But I agree it is your custom to say "billion" instead of "thousand million", while a billion is a million millions. Oh, cultural differences...

Anyway, please, feel free to post or quote or cite where did I say I am the representative of said "two billion people".

The bow (standing or sitting) takes place within the context of the Japanese culture. What a surprise to notice that a bow is viewed differently from another culture. If a person is simply incapable and/or unwilling to look at a bow from the Japanese perspective, then that pretty clearly points out that person's degree of rigidity, intolerance,.....
Same for you, Marc. If you are incapable and/or unwilling to look at a bow from the orthodox (Jew, Muslim, what likes to) perspective then that pretty clearly points out your degree of rigidity, intolerance and capacity of yielding, awase, musubi and whatever.

Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art.
Is that what the Founder meant it to be? A Japanese Martial Art? Or a Budo for the world? Or... oh, maybe your own interpretation?

The bow in the dojo takes place within that cultural milieu.
The bow, in the dojo, at home or wherever, takes place in your own cultural milieu. I won't become an Omotokyo devote to practice Aikido. Will you?

If the teacher believes that this particular aspect is an important part of the practice within that cultural milieu than that is the rule for that dojo. A student can simply follow the rules or find another place to study.
Never said no. We are pointing out said dojocho rigidity and incapacity to yield. In anycase he is the maker of rules. Unwise rules under my POW.

Once again, I would like to point out that when dealing with religious and political issues, emotions tend to rule out over common sense, to the point where the very religious and very political tend to insist upon people being open to their points of view while being generally intolerant to the points of view of others.
And then this is exactly what you just did in your post. You are calling "common sense" to your common sense. And that's not "common", but "individual". Again, common sense for a strict orthodox Jew would say "don't bow to no man". But that's not common enough for you, it seems.

Flintstone
10-28-2010, 02:36 AM
Alejandro I'm sorry that you do not read my posts:confused:
I read your post well enough, thanks.

If it is not enough for you OK Alejandro I understand that for 2.000.000.000 people in the world (a rough estimation) bowing is not acceptable. ... I repeat I never met one...
That's a clear indication that you need to begin travelling and knowing other peoples and cultures ASAP. That's the way "common sense" will make sense.

guest1234567
10-28-2010, 06:52 AM
I read your post well enough, thanks.

That's a clear indication that you need to begin travelling and knowing other peoples and cultures ASAP. That's the way "common sense" will make sense.
No money Alejandro....., but I travelled very much before I had a family:north, south America and Europe, Asia only in 2005 Tokio and Africa just Maroco and Gambia:) and even did'nt met one..

Marc Abrams
10-28-2010, 07:38 AM
Actually it is two thousand million people. But I agree it is your custom to say "billion" instead of "thousand million", while a billion is a million millions. Oh, cultural differences...

Anyway, please, feel free to post or quote or cite where did I say I am the representative of said "two billion people".

Same for you, Marc. If you are incapable and/or unwilling to look at a bow from the orthodox (Jew, Muslim, what likes to) perspective then that pretty clearly points out your degree of rigidity, intolerance and capacity of yielding, awase, musubi and whatever.

Is that what the Founder meant it to be? A Japanese Martial Art? Or a Budo for the world? Or... oh, maybe your own interpretation?

The bow, in the dojo, at home or wherever, takes place in your own cultural milieu. I won't become an Omotokyo devote to practice Aikido. Will you?

Never said no. We are pointing out said dojocho rigidity and incapacity to yield. In anycase he is the maker of rules. Unwise rules under my POW.

And then this is exactly what you just did in your post. You are calling "common sense" to your common sense. And that's not "common", but "individual". Again, common sense for a strict orthodox Jew would say "don't bow to no man". But that's not common enough for you, it seems.

Alejandro:

You said "Carina, you don't want to understand that for 2.000.000.000 people in the world (a rough estimation) bowing in not acceptable." Funny how some Muslims seem to have no problem bowing in an Aikido dojo. I guess that they do not fit within your calculations.

I am more than willing to look at bowing from a myriad of perspectives. I have been in churches, synagogues, mosques... and have had no problem functioning appropriately within those social milieus and seeing to it that my behaviors, demeanor,... have been appropriate within those contexts. My analysis includes that explicit understanding that a behavior within the context of one particular milieu may not be appropriate within another cultural milieu. I am not closed-minded in my thinking so that I try and inappropriately force the cultural understanding of one behavior to apply with all cultural milieus. Your assertion that I am rigid, inflexible.... is flat-out wrong.

If you would like to contend that Aikido is not a modern Japanese martial art, then by all means think in that manner. I think that your interpretation of "budo for the world" is somewhat skewed, but then again, that is my interpretation.

When I am in Japan, am with Japanese individuals, in a Japanese dojo.... the bow is a greeting, sign of respect,... depending upon the context and/or circumstance. I do not have to be a follower of any particular religion in order to be flexible enough to respect and display common customary behaviors.

Last time I checked, a dojo is not a democratic environment. The head of the dojo is responsible for running a dojo according to a set of rules of conduct. The head of the dojo has the final say as to whether or not something is allowed or not allowed. If you would like to view that as rigidity and inflexibility then by all means do so. What I would then suggest is that you do not allow your Sensei to ever be able to say 'No" and to never be allowed to diligently follow any set of rules. I would love to see how that dojo functions after a period of time.

If "common sense" were so common, the world would not be as screwed up as it is today. Funny, I have seen Strict Orthodox Jews bow to a Japanese person in the context of doing business. I guess that this Jew was a bad Jew.....

I seem to have no problem adapting my behaviors to fit within a wide array of cultural milieu, so I guess that your theory that I am inflexible.... has been shot to hell in a hand-bucket.

Marc Abrams