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cuguacuarana
04-10-2004, 05:43 PM
My dojo is very informal, which is nice, but it is not always conducive to learning the proper etiquette for things. I know you are supposed to bow to the bokken before you use it. What is the proper way to do so? Is there a similar process for jo practice?

p00kiethebear
04-10-2004, 06:25 PM
There are formal and informal ways of bowing to the sword before begining practice. the simplest one will work fine for aikido.

Facing the shomen, hold the sword out infront of you horizontally with both hands, just bellow eye level so as not to obscure your vision. Tsuka (handle) is on the right side, grip with the right hand just below the tsuba while the the left hand holds the sword a few inches below the kisaki (tip). As rule of thumb, always have the edge pointed towards you. From here, simply bow with your head, not your body.

And that's it.

Hanna B
04-11-2004, 12:49 AM
Funny, how many ways there are...
As rule of thumb, always have the edge pointed towards you.
I was taught the opposite, when bowing to the sword.
From here, simply bow with your head, not your body.
I was taught the opposite. A bow should not be with the head, but with the body.

Austin, there is not one "the proper way of doing things". Regarding bokken practise, the etiquette seems to differ a lot. When you come to placa where people are more strict than you are taught, you will simply have to imitate.

adriangan
04-11-2004, 02:34 AM
I agree with Hanna, in our dojo we bow with our body and the blade should be facing away from you, the blade should only face you when you give the sword to someone else.

Regards.

p00kiethebear
04-11-2004, 04:14 AM
I'm speaking from my kenjutsu school. We always have the blade towards ourselves. We were taught that it is rude and "untrusting" to have the edge pointed towards the shomen or the practice area or someone else.

Bowing with your body is like giving a target (the neck / back) to someone else with a sword. Yes I know we're not going to be killing eachother. I was simply taught a more older / "formal" method.

Again this is our kenjutsu method. I've never heard an "aiki" method of bowing to the sword. Is it just the same as above but with the body and edge away?

Hanna B
04-11-2004, 06:01 AM
As explained above, aikido does not have much standardised etiquette when it comes to weapons - maybe because weapons are not taught at Hombu. However, each teacher will have his opinions on the matter and set the rules for his dojo. I have never seen people bowing differently to bokken than to what Adrian says, but sitting rei with bokken I have seen at least three different versions.

Charles Hill
04-11-2004, 06:51 AM
I'm speaking from my kenjutsu school. We always have the blade towards ourselves. We were taught that it is rude and "untrusting" to have the edge pointed towards the shomen or the practice area or someone else.

Bowing with your body is like giving a target (the neck / back) to someone else with a sword. Yes I know we're not going to be killing eachother. I was simply taught a more older / "formal" method.
I have been told similar things. However, it doesn`t make sense to me that we should show our trust for our partners by keeping the blade pointed away from them but at the same time not trust them enough to expose our neck or take our eyes off them.

BTW, John Stevens` book Aikido, the Way of Harmony, has a series of photos showing how Shirata Rinjiro Shihan bowed with a sword.

Charles Hill

Charles Hill
04-11-2004, 06:56 AM
As explained above, aikido does not have much standardised etiquette when it comes to weapons - maybe because weapons are not taught at Hombu.
Weapons ARE taught at the Aikikai Honbu, just not generally during formal open classes. There is also a basic form of etiquette when using weapons that is expected of those who test at Honbu.

Charles Hill

Nick Simpson
04-11-2004, 07:26 AM
When one of my sensei hands a weapon over he has its edge facing away from him. After he kept attacking me with it last week when he offered it to me during class I eventually told him I didnt want the bokken anymore (I mean how many times does he have to theoretically kill me?) :p

Hanna B
04-11-2004, 08:04 AM
Weapons ARE taught at the Aikikai Honbu, just not generally during formal open classes.
Well, that's what I meant. What is not taught during formal open classes can not really set a standard, can it?
There is also a basic form of etiquette when using weapons that is expected of those who test at Honbu.
Now it's getting interesting. As what is done at Hombu probably is the only possible answer to the original question about "the proper way of doing it", what does this etiquette look loke? Do people bring the weapon at the rei at beginning of class, or do the rei without weapon and pick it up (with a bow to the bokken) later? If doing seated rei with bokken, does one put the bokken in front when doing rei of not? Is the bokken kept on the right side or the left, when seated?

I have seen a few versions, and heard some explanations as to why this is the correct way of doing it. "This is how they do it at Hombu" would be the best reason so for for a specific version.

Qatana
04-11-2004, 09:49 AM
Yes Austin you also bow to your jo.

thatoldfool
04-11-2004, 02:44 PM
In response to the "it's dangerous to bow" statement (i'm simplifying, but that was the gist of it), I was taught that you bow with the whole body, but not so much as to show the neck/back - as that *is* a threat, and can be taken as a provocation. So - body bowing is not wrong (even in older arts, i was told), as long as the above rule is kept in mind.

As well, the rule for bowing when in seiza - my understanding is that to the kamiza, both hands are place in from of the knees immediately, and then the bow is executed. However, for everyone else, apparently including sensei, the left hand, is placed first, the bow is initiated, and the right hand only takes its place at the last possible moment. This is to allow it to draw one's sword in case of a surprise attack - and why two hands = total trust and respect, and one hand then the second = informal/more reserved form. Another way to think of it would be the difference between formal the Vous and informal Tu address in written and spoken French.

p00kiethebear
04-11-2004, 03:42 PM
I have been told similar things. However, it doesn`t make sense to me that we should show our trust for our partners by keeping the blade pointed away from them but at the same time not trust them enough to expose our neck or take our eyes off them.
I didn't make that second part very clear. It's not so much because it's a danger to ourselves. When you bow with your body it's like saying "Hey look! Your technique is so bad i can take my eyes away and open up all my defenses and you STILL would never be able to get me!"

it would be interesting to find out how o sensei bowed in with his boken.