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gates
01-28-2011, 08:45 AM
How important is Reigi?
Is it an essential component in how you (chose to) define a Martial Artist?

I am interested to get a sense of the Aikiweb community feel for the topic.

Regard
Keith

kewms
01-28-2011, 09:32 AM
How important is Reigi?
Is it an essential component in how you (chose to) define a Martial Artist?

The awareness that proper etiquette encourages is essential. The precise details of that etiquette are unimportant outside the dojo context.

Katherine

crbateman
01-28-2011, 09:38 AM
IMHO, defining a martial artist is not particularly useful. A person simply is what he is. However, etiquette is akin to discipline, and that is important. It is better to show others too much respect than too little.

Josh Reyer
01-28-2011, 10:20 AM
An armed society is a polite society.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-28-2011, 10:29 AM
If you are not respected, at least be feared.

George S. Ledyard
01-28-2011, 11:37 AM
How important is Reigi?
Is it an essential component in how you (chose to) define a Martial Artist?

I am interested to get a sense of the Aikiweb community feel for the topic.

Regard
Keith

Reigi has a very real function. It defines standards of behavior which allow people of vastly different personality and disposition to interact without friction. It makes clear when respect is being given or it is not. When behavior is predictable and the rules are clearly understood, even strangers or enemies can interact without fear of misunderstanding. This is important for any society and it is even more so amongst warriors where the cost of misunderstanding can be deadly.

Where reigi goes wrong is when its function is to define the differences between class rather than lubricating social interaction. It's not accidental that, as you go up the social ladder, etiquette gets more complex. This is how the upper class distinguishes itself from those below. Used in this sense it can simply be another tool for repression.

Gary David
01-28-2011, 11:58 AM
In the context of a general learning environment thinking Cowboy Ethics...".....give allegiance and respect where they are deserved and returned" and for me this should fit most Aikido situations.

Being from the West there are some aspects of Cowboy Ethics that I try to follow, though not always successfully...

Live each day with courage
Be tough, but fair
Know were to draw the line
Remember that some things aren't for sale (hold on to your dignity)
Take pride in your work
Always finish what you start
Give allegiance and respect where they are deserved and returned

I have had the occasion to train in a number of dojo and with instructors where none or enough of these would have been possible for me. All of the major teacher in my life, Harry Ishisaka, Waltier Muryaz, John Clodig, Frank McGuirk, Frank Doran, have all presented environments where this was possible within a respectful environment. Blind obedience was not part of the picture.

For learning environments with restricted entry....one should know what they are signing up for..,,,follow the rules and meet the expectations.

Just saying......

Gary

Ketsan
01-28-2011, 01:25 PM
How important is Reigi?
Is it an essential component in how you (chose to) define a Martial Artist?

I am interested to get a sense of the Aikiweb community feel for the topic.

Regard
Keith

I'd say that reigi or, I'm not sure how to phrase this correctly, the level of attainment in reigi indicates how far advanced a budoka is in their training. The kind of sensitivity that is needed for and developed by good reigi is the same kind of sensitivity that allows you to understand the mind of a potential attacker and it allows you to gain control of a situation and prevent him becoming an actual attacker.
In either case it's just being aware of an attentive to the needs of another person and responding appropriately .

Also reigi or the manner of your reigi communicates who you are to the world and what your state of mind is through your body language and mannerisms. Since mind follows body at least as much as body follows mind by correcting the exterior form of your reigi you also learn to develop the right intention.

So reigi is of central importance IMO.

lbb
01-28-2011, 02:25 PM
Reigi has a very real function. It defines standards of behavior which allow people of vastly different personality and disposition to interact without friction. It makes clear when respect is being given or it is not. When behavior is predictable and the rules are clearly understood, even strangers or enemies can interact without fear of misunderstanding. This is important for any society and it is even more so amongst warriors where the cost of misunderstanding can be deadly.

Agreed, but I think the word "respect" can be confusing for most Westerners. Here, respect, or its lack, have connotations of ego and being dissed, and that's pretty much all it does. I expect that was almost certainly also a factor among bushi...but in addition, there was the practical matter of avoiding misunderstandings among armed and dangerous people. This was how my jodo sensei explained his emphasis on reigi/reishiki: it was less about "being polite" in the commonly understood sense, and very much about clearly signaling your intentions. You hold your sword in such-and-such way not because that's the "polite" or "respectful" way to hold it, but because you'd have a damn hard time drawing it and using it when it's in that position. When you do that, you signal that you don't intend to try any funny business. And, yeah, certainly that's about a kind of "respect", but what a different kind of respect than what most people mean when they claim they've been dissed! It's a respect of someone's capabilities. My sensei was absolutely unbending about this, and often the hardest part of the kata was after it was over and I had to withdraw without screwing up. The only way I could ever get it straight was by understanding its function as reigi.

George S. Ledyard
01-28-2011, 04:01 PM
Agreed, but I think the word "respect" can be confusing for most Westerners. Here, respect, or its lack, have connotations of ego and being dissed, and that's pretty much all it does. I expect that was almost certainly also a factor among bushi...but in addition, there was the practical matter of avoiding misunderstandings among armed and dangerous people. This was how my jodo sensei explained his emphasis on reigi/reishiki: it was less about "being polite" in the commonly understood sense, and very much about clearly signaling your intentions. You hold your sword in such-and-such way not because that's the "polite" or "respectful" way to hold it, but because you'd have a damn hard time drawing it and using it when it's in that position. When you do that, you signal that you don't intend to try any funny business. And, yeah, certainly that's about a kind of "respect", but what a different kind of respect than what most people mean when they claim they've been dissed! It's a respect of someone's capabilities. My sensei was absolutely unbending about this, and often the hardest part of the kata was after it was over and I had to withdraw without screwing up. The only way I could ever get it straight was by understanding its function as reigi.

Absolutely... "respect" definitely has the flavor of a "healthy respect" for the other's capabilities. So, being sloppy in ones attitude or behavior was actually a form of disrespect since it implied the other guy wasn't dangerous enough to bother paying attention to.

From that standpoint, look how much disrespect happens of the forums because it's the internet. The traditional way to look at communications was that you always addressed the other guy as if he had three feet of razor sharp steel at his side.

And actually, the way guys mean the terms "respect" or "dissed" in the ghetto isn't terribly different from the way it is used in warrior societies. The problem is there, the etiquette isn't clearly spelled out and it's easier to "diss" someone without understanding what you just did. But the consequences are deadly. You really see this in the "Big House" where figuring out the conventions quickly is an absolute survival necessity.

We get complacent because we live in a relatively safe society and middle class America isn't typically dangerous on a daily basis. Look how folks indulge on the forums... not much "respect" here amongst some folks. Clearly no one really expects the guys they have been rude to to show up on their doorstep and "cap their asses". But it's true that stuff gets said here daily that would have resulted in someone showing up at your dojo back in the seventies.

The first unarmed kata I learned from Ellis Amdur Sensei in Araki Ryu was classified under "How to Defeat Superior Swordsman". Basically it involved an assassination while pretending to treat your enemy as an honored guest serving him tea. A lot of folks with some martial skills tend to indulge badly because they think fighting has something to do with fair fights. What if the Internal Power expert had a guy show up with a katana? What if the sword expert had a pissed off guy show up with a 9 MM?

Budo folks understand just how fragile life is and they don't indulge. Reigi was how they acted "impeccably". No "suki" or "openings" in their behavior that would leave them open to attack or create a pretext for one. The most dangerous people I have ever met were uniformly pleasant folks who never went out of their way to stir things up, quite the opposite. Having some skill doesn't alone guarantee that one is a Budoka in the old sense.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-28-2011, 04:09 PM
So you would consider appropiate disrespecting the ones who you could kick their asses in real life?

George S. Ledyard
01-28-2011, 04:17 PM
So you would consider appropiate disrespecting the ones who you could kick their asses in real life?

That's pretty much the opposite of what I said...

Demetrio Cereijo
01-28-2011, 04:23 PM
I understood (wrongly it seems) you were pointing fear as the source of respect.

kewms
01-28-2011, 06:04 PM
I understood (wrongly it seems) you were pointing fear as the source of respect.

Even little old ladies can hire assassins... In warrior societies such as feudal Japan, even those who appear weak may have friends who are strong. Best to avoid giving offense, as even great skill can succumb to a knife in the back or poison in the drink.

It *is* actually worth noting that the respect the samurai extended to each other was *not* generally extended to members of the peasantry and other lower classes. The historical analogy breaks down.

Fear is certainly *a* source of respect, but not the only one by any means.

Katherine

oisin bourke
01-28-2011, 06:13 PM
Absolutely... "respect" definitely has the flavor of a "healthy respect" for the other's capabilities. So, being sloppy in ones attitude or behavior was actually a form of disrespect since it implied the other guy wasn't dangerous enough to bother paying attention to.

From that standpoint, look how much disrespect happens of the forums because it's the internet. The traditional way to look at communications was that you always addressed the other guy as if he had three feet of razor sharp steel at his side.

And actually, the way guys mean the terms "respect" or "dissed" in the ghetto isn't terribly different from the way it is used in warrior societies. The problem is there, the etiquette isn't clearly spelled out and it's easier to "diss" someone without understanding what you just did. But the consequences are deadly. You really see this in the "Big House" where figuring out the conventions quickly is an absolute survival necessity.

We get complacent because we live in a relatively safe society and middle class America isn't typically dangerous on a daily basis. Look how folks indulge on the forums... not much "respect" here amongst some folks. Clearly no one really expects the guys they have been rude to to show up on their doorstep and "cap their asses". But it's true that stuff gets said here daily that would have resulted in someone showing up at your dojo back in the seventies.

The first unarmed kata I learned from Ellis Amdur Sensei in Araki Ryu was classified under "How to Defeat Superior Swordsman". Basically it involved an assassination while pretending to treat your enemy as an honored guest serving him tea. A lot of folks with some martial skills tend to indulge badly because they think fighting has something to do with fair fights. What if the Internal Power expert had a guy show up with a katana? What if the sword expert had a pissed off guy show up with a 9 MM?

Budo folks understand just how fragile life is and they don't indulge. Reigi was how they acted "impeccably". No "suki" or "openings" in their behavior that would leave them open to attack or create a pretext for one. The most dangerous people I have ever met were uniformly pleasant folks who never went out of their way to stir things up, quite the opposite. Having some skill doesn't alone guarantee that one is a Budoka in the old sense.

That's a great post, and I agree with most of it.

It's also worthwhile to remember that the concept of "Reigi" is still important in Japan, and Japan is, by and large, a peaceful society.
It has a lot to do with realising that consideration of others makes life a little better for everyone, not just great for oneself:)

Amassus
01-28-2011, 09:53 PM
I haven't read the whole thread so forgive me if this has already been said.

The OP said something like "Is reigi needed to be a martial artist?"

I would argue that it is if you study a Japanese MA, Otherwise perhaps not. However, if you mean respect and etiquette in general, then yes, absolutely.

Dean.

gates
01-29-2011, 08:56 PM
...the level of attainment in reigi indicates how far advanced a budoka is in their training....

I agree.