Re: Objecting to "Traditional Respect"
I applaud all of the previous and future attempts to honorably and sincerely address the issue of bowing, its legacy, its appropriateness and its interpretation by anyone. This is why the Forum makes so much sense, not to decide on the "truth", but to be truthful to ourselves and each other.
"Reigi", in Japanese, may mean "courtesy, respect, etiquette, decorum, good manners, etc.". It is meant to be a mutually beneficial gesture, signifying, not ranking or classification, but genuine regard for the self, as well as the other.
In many societies, proper use of etiquette is essential in maintaining social order, and the basis for harm free interaction. The application of key words, mutually recognized behavior and committing to a system of socially accepted standards of ceremony and ritual, often ensures that a peaceful exchange of even controversial dialogue can be expected.
To my way of thinking, reigi is a gift we give ourselves, and one we choose to share with others we respect, admire and wish to honor. It is not meant to be a compulsory, or a required feature in the Aikido I practice, and has the ;benefit of having different purposes.
When we have the confidence, and a healthy sense of self worth, we can freely give the benefit of the doubt to another person prior to appreciating their true agenda or intention. Giving respect as pre-emptive move, most often results in having the other person feel comfortable in reciprocating in similar fashion. The extended handshake comes to mind, especially when meeting another person for the first time.
As Izumi Sensei points out, one should never bow to another martial artist without embracing the concept of martial alertness and awareness. When bowing, your metsuke or gaze should include a clear view of your partner/opponent's posture, hand positioning, and demeanor. This may actually be a high form of respect, rather than fear or mistrust, conveying the realization that you regard the opposite person as deserving of genuine respect and regard.
When I give respect to an image of O'Sensei, or a kamiza honoring the Founder, it is essentially for my benefit to do so.This reinforces for myself, all the reasons I practice Aikido in the first place.
Thank you all for your informative posts!
Last edited by aikishihan : 09-25-2009 at 04:55 PM.