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Old 02-25-2008, 11:53 AM   #1
saha
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Bowing in aikido

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.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 12:07 PM   #2
odudog
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Bowing has a lot to do about manners. You bow before you practice a technique to show that you are ready to begin. You bow after finishing the technique to say thank you for your time, help, and patience. Other arts have their own way of doing this as well. While watching a BJJ class, I noticed that they always slapped hands as their sign of showing that they are ready to roll. No matter which art you practice, there will be some form bowing going on.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 12:28 PM   #3
crbateman
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.
Each teacher conducts his/her classes as he/she sees fit. Some prefer more bowing, some less. How it affects each student is up to them. Some people benefit more from being reminded about respect than others. Perhaps your objections reflect as much on your own ego as that of your instructor. And he has worked hard for, and earned, the priviledge. Aikido is an art that has its roots in Japan. To try and practice without some influence of that culture is taking things out of context.

Last edited by crbateman : 02-25-2008 at 12:30 PM.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 02:43 PM   #4
saha
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Re: Bowing in aikido

In one dojo, the senior trainers/practitioners with black trousers removed their trousers in front of the students who then sat down and folded/wrapped up the trousers for the seniors. This I think takes the system of respect too far.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:02 PM   #5
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Yikes...I think you mean hakama, and students folding hakama for seniors is considered one way to learn to fold your own when you get one. Personally never got into that one (my teacher's wife usually folds his).

It's not like these guys took off their pants and proceded to strut around in their underwear while people ironed them for them.

Lighten up a bit...if the Japanese reigi is too much for you, perhaps Japanese arts aren't for you. Nothing wrong with that...move on.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:05 PM   #6
Walter Martindale
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Wrestlers shake hands, some cultures think that's un-hygenic. It's cultural - we're in a Japanese martial art, that has been brought out of Japan by Japanese along with many of their traditions.

It's possible to go overboard - I've been in dojo where we were expected to watch in seiza if the shihan came over to help and was demonstrating with our partner, and then to do a bow in seiza. Others it's less formal. Something I've noticed, I think, is that the longer a shihan has been out of Japan, the more old-fashioned the reigi. Once, when in my friend's house in Tokyo, I did a bow from seiza when introduced to my friend's father - (I was early 20s at the time) - I finished, and afterwards his father asked the son to explain that he was a modern man and that sort of reigi wasn't necessary - handshakes were sufficient (and THAT was in 1977)

Dojo seem to me to be enclaves of old-fashioned-ness. Accept it or not, it's part of the "game" we play when we "play" Aikido. When (if) you're running your own dojo some time, you can do away with the reigi in normal practice, but it's a good idea to educate your students about what's considered proper if they happen to visit more conventional dojo.
Cheers,
Walter
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:25 PM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

When in Rome ...

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
 
Old 02-25-2008, 04:11 PM   #8
Ketsan
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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.
You are learning a culture though. It's dressed up as Japanese culture but really it goes deeper than that, what you're learning is Budo, martial ways, warrior ways if you like.
A big part of that is picking up a desire to use good manners and developing and being able to demonstrate respect for other people. For one thing it keeps you safe, on the mat and off.

There's a chinese proverb that says that you're safe when polite but in danger when you're not.

I don't see how reigi builds an ego, if anything it does the opposite because bowing by defintion is an act of humility and is meaningless unless it's done in a spirit of humility and respect.
In fact if you're not feeling it then it'll show up in your reigi, you will be physically announcing to everyone who can see that you have no respect. Loose the idea that it induces anything, you, through your own hard work and deep thought develop understanding and respect which will then be reflected in the quaility of your reigi. Just like in normal life polite respectful people naturally have good manners.

Unless you mean that someone else is getting an ego from you bowing.
In which case you should bear in mind that reigi is simply a physical expression of how you feel, if I bow to someone and they get off on it, that's their problem not mine, I can't do anything about their ego. In fact, it's not my place to sort out their ego, I'm training to sort out my ego.

Hakama folding, though, I'm right their with you. Handing someone a sweaty garment to fold up...............yeah.

Last edited by Ketsan : 02-25-2008 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Missed out a bit
 
Old 02-25-2008, 06:01 PM   #9
dps
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Re: Bowing in aikido

1. Discipline.
It shows that you are willing to do things you do not yet understand but is necessary to learning Aikido. If you think that a bow is not necessary or foolish then what other part of Aikido will you not want to do because you don't understand why.

2. Harmony.
Showing gratitude and thanks to others, is part of the harmony we are suppose to learn in Aikido?

David
 
Old 02-25-2008, 09:35 PM   #10
mathewjgano
 
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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?
Ritual practice can help enstill a mindset. As has been said by other folks, respect and appreciation are often the reason we have ettiquette.

Quote:
Bowing is Japanese culture and there is no need for it in training. I think rather than inducing respect, it gives ego.
Need isn't the point. There are plenty of things we don't need in training, but they're there for a variety of reasons. Why do you think bowing produces ego instead of respect?

Gambarimashyo!
 
Old 02-25-2008, 10:46 PM   #11
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Re: Bowing in aikido

My thoughts are these:

Aikido transcends rituals, symbols, and cultural decorations.

An instructor may skillfully use rituals, symbols, and decorations---such as bowing, testing, wearing gi and hakama, folding a senior's hakama, clapping, ringing bells, burning incense, and so forth---to help students find Aikido, to point to Aikido.

When the student achieves a certain understanding, though, the student sees Aikido's principles everywhere. Consider this passage from the Art of Peace: "Do not fail to learn from the pure voice of an ever-flowing mountain stream splashing over the rocks." What sees the principles in the stream at that moment is not concerned with whether or not the attached body is wearing a hakama.

With that understanding, though, the student should neither desire nor have an aversion to bowing---or to any other of the rituals, symbols, or cultural decorations. If a student begins with this understanding, even if incomplete, he or she can learn the techniques of the physical practice from anyone, even those who have not attained the same understanding.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 10:55 PM   #12
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Re: Bowing in aikido

I do not mind
Harmony and Dicipline,plus good manners!

 
Old 02-26-2008, 12:54 AM   #13
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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.
You need to take a look in the mirror there Manos. Very often the things we don't like in others are a reflection from within.

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
In one dojo, the senior trainers/practitioners with black trousers removed their trousers in front of the students who then sat down and folded/wrapped up the trousers for the seniors. This I think takes the system of respect too far.
Folding one's hakama is part of learning the art, looking after and treating your own items with respect, the same respect you give to everyone else in the dojo. Whilst living in Japan it was not uncommon to see students requesting to fold the hakama for an "erai sensei" or in some cases the dojo cho. As with other cultural aspects within the art, this may transfer to dojo's outside of Japan. If that's the way they choose to do it in that particular dojo, learn to accept it, embrace it and become part of it, after all, that's what doing aikido is about. If you really can't get on with it, find another dojo or find another art. Aikido is for everyone, except for those who don't want it .

Last edited by batemanb : 02-26-2008 at 12:58 AM.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
 
Old 02-26-2008, 01:03 AM   #14
Walker
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
When in Rome ...
LOOT AND PILLAGE!!!

-Doug Walker
光道館・叢雲道場
 
Old 02-26-2008, 06:29 AM   #15
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Honestly, if it didn't have funny clothes and exotic culture, how many of us would be doing it?

I've been to bjj schools that bowed on the mats and to each other. On the last fight quest, the krav maga classes were bowing to each other. That's one I can't figure out, as far as I know bowing is not part of that culture.

At my judo and bjj schools, we do not bow on the mat. We just walk on. I've offended a few people when I visited their schools by forgetting that most places do bow on the mat. I even once offended a judo black belt by referring to a the brown cord around my waist as a belt and not a obe.

Some people try to hard, but what ya gonna do.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
 
Old 02-26-2008, 06:42 AM   #16
ramenboy
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Re: Bowing in aikido

hey manos, what drew you to aikido then? cool flips and throws? a good steven seagal movie (truthfully, that's what did it for me)?

any martial arts school, dojo, dojang you visit will have some sort of ritual bowing and set uniform. you can[t get away from it.

westerners shake hands. people from the east bow. europeans kiss. its all a sign of respect...dogs sniff each other's butts.

Last edited by ramenboy : 02-26-2008 at 06:46 AM.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 06:53 AM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
LOOT AND PILLAGE!!!
Yep, its my Viking heritage too.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
 
Old 02-26-2008, 07:52 AM   #18
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Re: Bowing in aikido

A question and a comment.

One, can you explain what you mean when you say that you think bowing gives ego? I don't want to make an assumption on what you mean by that statement.

Two, I recently asked my Sensei a bowing question, and in the process of answering, he also talked about bowing being an active process of the training--not just for historical purposes, but for developing a sense of the center/hara. Which is something I'd not thought about before, but it made a lot of sense, and has gotten me to really try to work on my bowing, to make it more deliberate rather than a quick shrug of the shoulders.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 08:34 AM   #19
Fred Little
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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.
To steal....I mean creatively appropriate... a trope from Ellis, this is one more example of a secret of core physical competencies Hidden in Plain Sight.

Why people or culture initially adopt a practice is one question. When people or cultures retain particular practices for long periods of time, there are probably multiple reasons.

The efficacy of bowing in the maintenance of the full range of function of the back, hips, quads, knees, ankles, and toes is a basic physical explanation that has a good bit of utility beyond the merely sociological justifications that are often cited.

Best,

FL
 
Old 02-26-2008, 11:11 AM   #20
mari
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Are you sure this guy isn't pulling our leg? I can't take his questions and comments seriously. Seriously!
 
Old 02-26-2008, 11:38 AM   #21
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
In one dojo, the senior trainers/practitioners with black trousers removed their trousers in front of the students who then sat down and folded/wrapped up the trousers for the seniors. This I think takes the system of respect too far.
This is only done for Shihans. It is a sign of respect and is an honor to be the person folding the hakama for him or her.

"...It's possible to go overboard - I've been in dojo where we were expected to watch in seiza if the shihan came over to help and was demonstrating with our partner, and then to do a bow in seiza..."

This is how things are done at Aikikai Honbu dojo. I would assume that they know the proper etiquette.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 12:39 PM   #22
Fred Little
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
This is only done for Shihans. It is a sign of respect and is an honor to be the person folding the hakama for him or her.
Certainly, in some groups, this is only done for Shihan.

There is one group in my immediate geographical area that I have observed on multiple occasions in which senior kyu ranked students are apparently expected to fold hakama for yudansha, and to regard the act as "a sign of respect and....an honor."

With regard for Shihan, Visiting Instructors, and the like, it has always seemed to me that there are always half-a-dozen people or more hoping to ask a question or express their thanks for the class, and the point is to free up the Shihan/Visiting Instructor/What-Have-You to deal with that as expeditiously as possible.

Reinforcement of social distinctions through provision of personal services is not a value we particularly need to import. At least, that's my view. YMMV.

Best,

FL
 
Old 02-26-2008, 12:40 PM   #23
saha
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Re: Bowing in aikido

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!
 
Old 02-26-2008, 12:51 PM   #24
ramenboy
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Quote:
Manos Saha wrote: View Post
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!
AAAAAAAAAAAH! the master has spoken. N0W M0RE B0WING!!!! ITS A PAIN IN THE NECK! AND TAKE Y0UR TR0USERS T0 THE DRY CLEANER LIKE EVERY0NE ELSE!!!!


manos,

what country are you from? what do you do to show respect for someone in your country?

Last edited by ramenboy : 02-26-2008 at 01:05 PM.
 
Old 02-26-2008, 01:14 PM   #25
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Bowing in aikido

Discipline is necessary in martial arts training for the same reason it's necessary in the army. Somebody who cannot tolerate it will not be able to refrain from using the lethal skills they have learned in the dojo when circumstances do not call for it. Not to mention the fact that you just cannot teach a group of people who are rowdy and unfocussed. And when you think of your instructor as just a nice dude, you will be more tempted not to pay attention to his teaching.
In our school, we have to bow from seiza every time Sensei is done demonstrating a technique, and to say: Arigato! Then, we can get on our feet and start practicing.
This doesn't seem to get into Sensei's head, and he is always pleased to exchange a few jokes after class before leaving.
If you want to learn something, bowing seems to be only a very minor inconvenience to deal with.
 

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