Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I've run into Jews and Muslims who opted not to do the bowing. In their religious understanding, it was not at all benign.
In the next sentence of that same post where I used the word benign I said Conversely though there is a danger of overlaying your beliefs onto Aikido
. Your example is a classic case of this - where the significance of their bow is applied to the bow in the dojo when, as Mike pointed out, it is not the same.
Aikido in and of itself does not force you to compromise your religious beliefs. If your religious beliefs disrupt the wa of the group that is another matter and the question arises - are you forcing people to adapt to your beliefs.
With respect to observant Jews and Muslims I know several that practice and have no problem bowing. I also know a few that do and approached the teacher and other students in a respectful manner resulting in some interesting compromises.