Ian Hurst wrote:
It may be different in the US, but my feeling is that the UK still has enough of a class system to use this type of training as a means of promoting status, purely and simply, to the aggrandisment of the teacher while being to the detriment of the dojo.
I think this is very important and I am glad Ian wrote it. Bowing, in the aikido style, is very much Japanese culture, developed over a long period of time by people with a particular psychology, culture, geography and etc. I don`t think it is necessary to remove it when Aikido changes countries, but I do think it is important for those involved to think deeply about the issues and figure out what (if any) relevance they have. From what I have heard, the UK has quite a different "class system" from the US. Thus I (american) have no idea what bowing might mean there.
Ron mentioned John Stevens. Prof. Stevens has emphasized that Aikido is universal. If one feels that bowing in the Japanese way is not universal, maybe it should be changed in their school. However, I, personally, would be reluctant to change this, but that is due to my lack of understanding what exactly Aikido is.
I have learned a lot from this thread.