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Old 02-26-2008, 01:40 PM   #26
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Bowing in aikido

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Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art. This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism. Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing. Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan. You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following primitive Japanese rituals? Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 02-26-2008, 03:02 PM   #27
odudog
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art. This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism. Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing. Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan. You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following primitive Japanese rituals? Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!
Bowing is done by everyone in Japan even to this day. It is their form of shaking hands. It was never just a geisha thing. Besides, it's much easier to just bow to someone across the street in a way of saying hello than it is to try and stretch your arm across the street to shake the other person's hand.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 03:05 PM   #28
Keith Larman
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.
When I see an American friend while out I'll smile, walk over, say "hello" and grab their hand and move it up and down. I'll not get too close, I'll not let my face get too close to their face, and I'll be very sure not to spittle on them when I say it.

With my stepmother, well, she's French. Cheek kisses all around.

With most of my family it is a good hearty hug.

With some of my wife's relatives who are still more Japanese than American, there is more bowing and less hugging and kissing -- that kind of touching just isn't done, at least in public. There we might see a small bow or two. With the Japanese side that is more Americanized (like my wife -- fourth generation -- I'm more Norwegian than she is Japanese) it's no different than my family. Although her parents are a bit more standoffish with the hugging thing. But I'm bringing them around...

When I'm talking with the wife of the founder of my style of Aikido, well, I bow a lot. And I listen. She is older than me, knows more than me, and deserves a great deal of respect. I show that by listening, not intruding on her space without invitation, and by bowing a lot.

On the mat we have certain conventions as well. In most dojo I've trained in the bowing has nothing to do with ego. The only ones who've ever said it does were visiting Muslims who were prohibited from bowing to another person. In their upbringing the act of bowing carried connotations of submission.

Bowing with Japanese people or in Japanese context *can* be about expressing hierarchy. But in most cases in the dojo bowing is more just basic reflexive conventions. Like shaking hands. Or kissing on the cheek. Or hugging. Or thumbs up. Or clapping. Or whatever cultural method is used to signal simple good manners.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Too often people read way too much into certain things. At that point you have to ask if the meaning is there in the act or is it you importing that meaning yourself.

The thought in my mind when bowing to my sensei is "thank you for sharing and thank you for training with me". When I'm teaching the thought in my mind when bowing is "thank you for giving me the chance to teach and thank you for training with me". In other words it has nothing to do with hierarchy or ego. I'm equally annoyed when someone who outranks me won't bow at a relevant time as I am with someone who I outrank does the same.

 
Old 02-26-2008, 04:09 PM   #29
lbb
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Re: Bowing in aikido

This is a real "blind men and the elephant" of a thread, I'm thinking. Plenty of people disagreeing with OP, and yet more than a few of them make their own assertions about the way it's supposed to be, or whether a certain practice is "going overboard" or not respectful enough. I say you can't look at a behavior out of context and say that you know what it signifies.

(...and yeah, I fold sensei's hakama after class, as often as not. It ain't no big deal, ya know?)
 
Old 02-26-2008, 05:08 PM   #30
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
The importance should be given to the art and not the rituals. If you are too concerned with rituals you tend to lose the art.
Sure but this begs the question of what one is doing if they aren't too concerned with the rituals, yet still practice them. Perhaps for some the ritual is just a good reminder to practice humility.

Quote:
This has happened with institutionalized religions like Hinduism.
This can happen in any institution, but it doesn't mean it's worthless like you assert.

Quote:
Humility I think is not cheap that you imbibe it easily by bowing.
One doesn't bow to feel humble. One bows in the expression of humility. No, simply bowing means nothing, you're right. However, simply removing it will not make people any more likely to be humble.

Quote:
Bowing was usually done by Japanese geishas and is a primitive culture of Japan.
Primitive is perhaps not the best choice in words, in my opinion. Besides, I personally don't care how it was used. I care about how I use it now. It's only as meaningless as the individual doing it makes it.

Quote:
You can be Christian but yet learn yoga without following Hindu tenets. Why cant you learn aikido without following...Japanese rituals?
You can; just as you can be a Christian and learn Yoga by following Hindu tenets. It's out there. The reason it's so common is the same reason most arts tend to carry cultural affectations. When one person visits anothers's personal space to learn something, you learn the way they teach. Tradition has been around for a long time...it's kind of traditional. Certainly, traditions change (hence the places that use their own traditions in lieu of those of the arts motherland), but they are not automatically good or bad and to say they are seems a bit rash to me.

Quote:
Bowing is not a good exercise but an unnecessary pain in the neck. If you cant do away with bowing it means you have a problem with your ego. Its not easy to be a master!
Well then you're bowing from the wrong part of the spine . I agree though, if you can't quit bowing, you definately have a problem.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:01 AM   #31
Angela Dunn
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Re: Bowing in aikido

The explanation we got for the Bows in our dojo is it's a sign of trust and respect. It signifies that you are not going to intentionally hurt each other. I like that explanation a lot, I mean if your bowing to someone your leaving your neck vunerable for attack so I fugure thats where the trust part comes in.

Its just something I do almost automatically now but then I have come from a long background of understanding how people show respect. I figure its now no diffrent from school where we stood up when a teacher walked into the room, the salute we done to superiours when I was in cadets or wippping your feet on the doormat when you enter another persons house. Or Calling your Sensei well Sensei.

If The OP, does not like to bow then I wonder why. I know some people have religious reasons for not bowing and thats fair enough but to say its old fashioned etc (as an example) then , well its just part of aikido and if you don't like it then maybe its not the art for you.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 07:58 AM   #32
Keith Larman
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Wow. With all the good stuff I get out of training in Aikido I never thought someone would have a problem with the bowing. It is a Japanese art with a Japanese lineage. And depending on where you go the Japanese etiquette tends to come along with it in varied degrees.

In our dojo we bow in, bow when we start and finish training with a partner, bow to each other when someone takes time to explain something, then bow out. We don't line up by rank when we line up (which sometimes throws visitors). I have routinely found myself sitting between two shichidan which can be kinda weird if you're tuned into that kind of thing. But it is how we train.

And frankly if we didn't bow and didn't wear hakama it would make no difference to me whatsoever. I can easily imagine a group that doesn't do either doing really good training as well. Maybe a handshake. Maybe a "what's up?" with a raised eyebrow when you walk in. Whatever.

Who cares? The bowing doesn't cause ego. Wearing a hakama doesn't cause ego. Someone with ego problems causes ego. And blowhard buffoons exist everywhere.

I suppose you could argue that groups with tons of etiquette and symbols become attractive to those with issues of ego -- here's a place where they can feed the ego more easily I suppose. but again, that's the disease of that person and not the etiquette itself.

Or to go back to a saying a group of us had made for t-shirts at a seminar... Damatte keikoshiro. "Close your mouth and train".

Or as a friend of mine says, more mat, less chat.

If the training is good, who cares about the costume? If the group you're in has folk who fall into the trap of ego, avoid them. Or go somewhere else. I've seen great training in highly traditional settings and I've seen great training in a garage dojo with t-shirt and shorts. And I've seen garbage fully dressed up and garbage fully dressed down.

Hang around long enough and you learn what's good. The packaging makes little difference. I don't mind tying on my hakama and bowing a lot. I've learned enough Japanese to not embarass myself (much). I know enough of the etiquette to be reasonably able to work in most groups. That's not the difficult part. I just want more time to train...

Again, the etiquette doesn't "cause" ego. It may attract more people with ego problems, but it isn't the reason they have it. Having it won't "give" a normal person a gigantic ego -- they had a propensity for it to begin with. And quite frankly there are a few folk who find problems of ego everywhere in part because of a lack of confidence in themselves. It's an easy to way to dismiss those who've gone before them and put in the training. If you have a problem with understanding that others might have something good to show you, that you might not know it all, that you might actually need to be helped, well, it's a lot easier to just write them off as an elitist airhead...

Ignore the trappings. They're incidental to the reason you're there. Train.

Funny how this thread seems to center on the same themes as the one on wearing hakama...

 
Old 02-27-2008, 09:00 AM   #33
Brett Charvat
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Re: Bowing in aikido

I'm surprised by how many posters here relegate bowing to a mere exercise in reigi. I'm of the opinion that it is in every sense of the word, waza.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 09:01 AM   #34
ramenboy
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
...Funny how this thread seems to center on the same themes as the one on wearing hakama...
touché, keith! i've felt the same way reading through them the last couple days.

kind of reminds me of the someone who wants to learn to fly a plane, but doesn't care about take off or landing. well...not so much... :P


Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
More Attachment...
hahahahahaha
 
Old 02-27-2008, 12:18 PM   #35
Bronson
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
More Attachment below:
Hey Ron,

Can you repost? I couldn't open the attachment

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
 
Old 02-27-2008, 12:19 PM   #36
Jack M.
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Re: Bowing in aikido

When I took tae kwon do classes, we bowed to the sensei as well as to each other. To me, it was a reminder that all people, myself included, are to be respected and treated with consideration. We are all the same.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 12:24 PM   #37
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Bowing in aikido

I would, but the OP beat me to it...

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 02-27-2008, 12:48 PM   #38
Bronson
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

I figure that in almost all situations that I can think of you really only have two options.

1) Accept the situation as it is.

2) Change the situation.

Since the Original Poster isn't going to change the way the Aikido masses practice their art he's going to have to look for another way. He's pretty much left with accepting it as it is, or changing something in himself (possibly changing arts).

Either way there should be less complaining and more training

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
 
Old 02-27-2008, 01:19 PM   #39
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
Why do you need to bow so much while learning aikido? Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.
Just wondering...how long have you been studying Aikido, and have you studied any other martial arts? Because as others said, you'll be hard-pressed to find one that does *not* have some form of bowing.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
 
Old 02-27-2008, 01:31 PM   #40
saha
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Re: Bowing in aikido

I am not against bowing. Just a bow or prayer at the beginning and end of the training session suffices. How many times do you need to bow or say thank you, I respect you? Respect is understood, not acted. In love, there is no thank you. If you love your master, there is no need to say thank you every time.
The hakama folding I think teaches servitude rather than anything else. Its disgusting to fold someone's sweaty hakama but maybe its a gay thing.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 01:41 PM   #41
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Bowing in aikido

I see...you have something against homosexuals?

I think someone else who suggested you are having us on is correct.

Good one,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 02-27-2008, 01:46 PM   #42
akiy
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Thread closed due to trolling behavior.

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