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06-10-2000, 01:09 AM
We are a non-profit organisation and use a public location for training, where we actually do not have a kamiza. So how will I explain the kids why to bow when entering / leaving the room? Where does this habit originate?


Chuck Clark
06-11-2000, 01:36 PM
I think there are three basic concepts behind the reigi (bowing) to the dojo. Where there is a kamiza, the bow is in respect to the spirits of ancestors and gratitude for the space to practice in. Many dojo do not have kamiza so the bow tends to be one of respect and gratitude for the space and the energy of those who take part in making up the dojo group. Of course, then there is a mixture of both.

I also feel that there is an aspect of humbling ourselves and clearing the mind as you perform the ritsurei (standing bow) or zarei (sitting bow)in more formal dojo.

I think the respect for the available space is not so important as the gratitude felt towards the people who have gone before us in our lineage and those who give to each other in active practice daily. I know of one very successful dojo in Japan that met in a park for more than twenty years.

06-11-2000, 04:41 PM
As usual, I can't add much more than what Chuck says, but I'll say that I, too, have been to many dojo which did not have a kamiza in which I have bowed upon entering. Aikikai Hombu Dojo is one of those dojo which do not have a kamiza. Heck, I was told that I needed to bow twice when getting onto the mat there; once toward the picture of the founder on the wall and once toward the mat.

At our Summer Camp when we do weapons practice outside on the soccer field, we usually "bow in" towards a beautiful mountain (Mount Sopris).

07-01-2000, 04:37 PM
I am always amazed that respect and tradition is an issue.

We bow to the Kamiza to show respect for those who have transmitted the art to us.

We bow to the dojo as a respect to all within.

We bow to the teachers in respect for their unselfish giving of their time and knowledge.

We bow to our partners to thank them for helping us learn. (Especially in the Aiki arts, where they are literally giving up their bodies that we may practice!)

Personally, I think the best course is to simply treating this in a most straightforward, matter-of-factly way: We bow because it is tradition, a sign of mutual respect, and an expression of gratitude. Respect for others and gratitude for their help is not optional.

07-01-2000, 08:11 PM
I couldn't agree more... so few people actually know what the bowing means...