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TonyBlomert 01-20-2014 06:14 PM

Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
As an introduction I am new to this forum and posting for the first time. I have been training in some form of martial art since the mid 70's. The past 10 years in Aikido. My wife and I moved to a new state and city this past summer. In the process, we joined a new dojo within the same Aikikai affiliation as we had back in our former hometown. Naturally, there were a number of differences in some of the practices and customs at the new dojo. Since we have traveled extensively and had the good fortune of training at various dojo, we've always followed the guidance of "when in Rome do as the Romans!"

Unfortunately we have never observed examinations anywhere other than at our former dojo. We were surprised to learn that the bowing etiquette at our present dojo varied from past experience. This lead to several discussions with Sensei after our first experience observing mudansha exams last fall. I was hoping that this forum might provide a good place to learn of the practices at other dojo.

As with all things relative to etiquette and respect, I defer to the location and Sensei. But this situation has peaked my interest.

Here's my take on the etiquette (without the philosophical or background reasoning):

After being called out by the exam administrator (or panel) one issues an audible acknowledgement (hi) and moves into the center of the mat. Then after a partner is called out, one completes a formal seated bow first to the Shomen, next to the administrator(s) and finally to your partner. At the conclusion of the examination the bowing order is reversed, first to your partner, then the administrator(s) and finally to the Shomen.

I appreciate all comments and thank anyone willing to share your dojo practices in this regard.

Michael Hackett 01-21-2014 12:04 PM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
The test candidate is called out and responds with "Hai".

He moves to the center of the shomen and bows, then turns and bows to the test committee.

He slides slightly off-center of the shomen and faces it.

A test partner is called out and takes seiza facing the shomen.

The test candidate bows and the partner bows at the same time.

The two turn towards one another and bow.

At the completion of the test, the partner is excused from the mat and leaves after bowing to the candidate.

The test candidate bows to the shomen, turns and bows to the test committee and excused.

TonyBlomert 01-24-2014 02:43 PM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
Michael,

Thanks for your post. Is the same procedure followed in mudansha and yudansha examinations? At your dojo are the uke's always selected and called out by the administrator(s) or does the candidate pre-arrange with someone to be uke?

Michael Hackett 01-24-2014 03:11 PM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
Ours is an AAA dojo and our test process appears to be the same association-wide. To answer your questions directly, the process is used for both yudansha and kyudansha exams. The person conducting the test selects the uke for the test and most test candidates will face around ten uke in a yudansha test, depending on the number during randori.

In most tests it seems the test administrator will make sure to select uke who have worked with the candidate in preparation of the test as sort of an award or acknowledgement for their extra effort.

TonyBlomert 01-24-2014 05:28 PM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
Michael,

Really appreciate your information. It's good to know that Toyoda Shihan's practices vary slightly from what I've experienced, the essence is the same and etiquette consistent. I am researching exam practices across the Aikido affiliations to identify common approaches.

Berney Fulcher 02-12-2014 10:01 AM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
We're the same as Mr. Hackett (also AAA derived), with the caveat that only the first uke is bowed into the Shomen. Successive ukes called just bow to the test candidate as they come up.

Michael Hackett 02-12-2014 12:45 PM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
Berney is correct.....I overlooked that small part.

tlk52 02-20-2014 08:20 AM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
"After being called out by the exam administrator (or panel) one issues an audible acknowledgement (hi) and moves into the center of the mat. Then after a partner is called out, one completes a formal seated bow first to the Shomen, next to the administrator(s) and finally to your partner. At the conclusion of the examination the bowing order is reversed, first to your partner, then the administrator(s) and finally to the Shomen."

that's correct. at some dojos over the years they didn't reverse it at the conclusion, but now it's become pretty standardized. so you bow 1st and last to the Shomen

TonyBlomert 02-21-2014 07:51 PM

Re: Examination Bowing Etiquette
 
Michael, Berney & Toby

Thank you for you comments. Since each of your organizations were founded by direct students of O'Sensei I am not surprised that there is similarity. I wonder if KI Society and some of the "next generation" founded organizations have kept with tradition?


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