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Old 01-07-2009, 12:20 AM   #1
Dojo: Canberra
Location: Canberra
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 22
Why do we bow in Aikido?

I'm posting this thread because I need help with it, as it represents a dilemma for me, and I pose it in the most open minded way, and expect the same in the replies I see.

I recognize that the bow in Aikido is deep rooted, and I mostly believe it is a form of respect as expressed in the Japanese culture, as we bow to O Sensei, Sensei and our fellow Aikidoka.

What are the true origins of bowing in Japanese culture? What's its philosophy?

In other cultures, the bow is purely a form a worship, and respect is expressed in different forms, like kissing the hand or the forehead, as an example.

In my spiritual practice, the bow and the prostration is a form a total submission, to who I believe is God The Creator of all things, including humans, living or dead. This represents my core belief and identity.

In the Dojo, I bow to O Sensei and Sensei, because it is implied as a form of respect the way the Japanese see it.

But, every now and then a minor conflict surfaces as a few of my fellow Aikidokas don't bow, and they bring up the reasoning that I mentioned above and that it originated as a form of worship to the emperor, and my reasoning is that it is a form a respect as the Japanese see it and there is no harm in doing so.

So I do have inner resistance and would like help from others who understand Japanese culture.

Sometimes I wonder, if Aikido originated in a culture were the form of respect was to kiss the hand of forehead of your Sensei, would everyone worldwide be expected to do it? Would those who refuse be seen as disrespectful?

Anything thoughts would be helpful, this is not a debate, and I still bow to O Sensei and Sensei, but it would be a lot more helpful to know exactly what I'm doing and how important it is.
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