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Old 01-12-2002, 10:58 PM   #1
tedehara
 
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Question Bowing

Quote:
National Public Radio reported:
A federal judge in Seattle today (1/11/02) ruled that judo contestants can be required to bow in competition. NPR's Melissa Block talked with John Holm, the stepfather of two of the three students who brought the case to trial. The students argued that the bowing is a religious ritual and violates some of their religious beliefs. Holm says they will appeal the judge's ruling.
NPR article (need audio player to hear)
I know some people find the act religiously questionable.

Quote:
Exodus 20:4-5 KJ version
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visitng the iniquity of the fathers upon the childeren unto the third and fourth geneeration of them that hate me:
In the dojo I go to, bowing is optional. How does your dojo handle this? Or is this even an issue?

Last edited by tedehara : 01-17-2002 at 01:30 PM.

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Old 01-12-2002, 11:13 PM   #2
Abasan
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Bowing in Aikido or any other martial arts should not be miscontrued as supplication. It is one given in respect. Respect and gratitude to be able to practice and learn together at the same time taking care of each others well being.

Islam as with Christianity does not allow you to subjugate yourself unto others. It all depends on why you bow, since if God is worth His salt, he'll know the meaning of your heart and intentions instead of having to rely on your physical actions.

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Old 01-12-2002, 11:19 PM   #3
lt-rentaroo
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Hello,

In my dojo, if students prefer not to bow during the beginning of class, I'm OK with that. It seems that with some people it doesn't matter how many times you explain to them that bowing is done as a sign of respect for the founder of the art and also to other students, they still look upon bowing as a sign of worship. If you go along with this belief, do you also believe that Japanese people are in effect worshipping each other when they bow as a greeting?

Yes, in certain cases the action of bowing is used in a religious context. Aikido class, at least my class, is not a religious ceremony. I say we let all those who believe that bowing during class or a tournament is an act of worship continue to maintain their ignorant blissful thoughts.

I'm sure I will take much heat for this, but the question was asked. Happy Training.

p.s. Bowing has never been an issue during my classes; perhaps I'm lucky to have students who understand the cultural significance of bowing as a sign of respect.

LOUIS A. SHARPE, JR.
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Old 01-13-2002, 12:11 AM   #4
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The dojo where I primarily train now has a Muslim student (and great partner! ) who does not bow...it's not an issue. My last dojo it never came up, but it would not have been a problem, that was the most tolerant dojo on earth. My first, heavily fundamental Christian and Jewish in makeup, did not bow at all...

I have traveled a lot, living in some pretty different cultures, and personally have no problems with bowing. But I don't think that those who see it as a religious issue are being silly, any more than those who refuse certain medical treatments, or avoid eating certain foods, or refuse to kill any living thing. Just because it is not my belief, doesn't make it trivial; and if those who bow feel those who don't shouldn't see it as 'such a big deal' to bow, then maybe they also shouldn't see it as such a big deal to NOT bow. I am disappointed in the court that made that ruling.
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Old 01-13-2002, 03:46 AM   #5
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Re: Bowing

If religious people go to Japan and meet people, then do they bow in return to meeting others? If they work out in a Japanese dojo, then shouldn't they bow? If they refused to bow to friendly Japanese people, then maybe no problem. If they refuse to bow in a dojo though, that would not go over very well. You should not be doing the art if you do not believe in the traditions of the art. It is wrong to just take the parts that you like and not the rest. We shouldn't say, "Oh, I am against this part of the art but this part is ok for me." We should not try to steal pieces of things from other cultures. We should try and appreciate the whole of what they offer. There is no point otherwise.

I would not personally be ok with sparring with somebody that did not bow first. I would take it more as a real fight without a show of respect. I do not think these people are being silly but I do think that if you want to try something new then you should not pick and choose the parts you like.

I read once about a religious person that would bow but not to the founder's picture. He would bow slightly off line with the picture. It was not noticable. I think this shows a respect for the tradition but also
put his own beliefs first. An outright refusal to bow is offensive but compromising this way still shows some respect, I believe. They should make an effort.

Quote:
Originally posted by tedehara


I know some people find the act religiously questionable.

In the dojo I go to, bowing is optional. How does your dojo handle this? Or is this even an issue?
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Old 01-13-2002, 03:49 AM   #6
Edward
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I think bowing is an important part of Japanese Martial Arts. If you choose to study a foreign art, you should have enough open mindness to accept it with all its cultural implications.

Bowing has never been an issue at any of the dojos where I have trained, neither in Lebanon nor in Thailand. However, if I ever happen to instruct my own class, bowing would be compulsory.

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 01-13-2002, 06:53 AM   #7
Thalib
 
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Eastern culture

It's not much of a problem, because most of us are easterners (asians) down here. Bowing has been in our culture for a while, not the Japanese way, but it is bowing nonetheless.

It is a sign of respect, nothing more, nothing less. I'm a muslim, my sensei is a muslim, and a lot of Aikidokas here in Indonesia are muslims. In my life, I only see one person refused to bow in sign of respect of the class, although I am irritated by it, I left it be.

My sensei, Hakim sensei, is really serious about bowing. How you bow reflects you personality. I mean there are other ways to show respect, but since this is the tradition, we respect it. In our dojo, our shomen has no picture of Osensei, and it won't be a problem either if there is.

Bowing is a sign of respect and a way to show thanks, it should not be a problem. But if it is for someone, a good explanation (which my sensei often does excelently) should be given. It is best that the person that explains it share the same view (religiously, if this was the problem). If the person still refuses, then we should respect that determination and let it be.

Aikido is ever evolving and expands to infinity.
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Old 01-13-2002, 07:54 AM   #8
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You know, we've been throught the 'tradition' part of this discussion before...we also don't all wear hakamas the first minute we step on the mat (in fact, the folks who are often the most hard over on bowing come from dojos that have easily dropped the hakama-for-all tradition). Geishas are a part of Japanese culture...but no man I've trained with within reach of me would suggest that as a role for me...

You could also say, at least for the dojos in the US, that these are NOT Japanese dojos. They are in a country that was founded by those wanting religious freedom, that prides itself on upholding individual rights and freedoms, and it sounds somewhat un-American to insist someone violate their deeply held religious beliefs in order to take part in a judo competition.

As for Aikido dojos that insist on bowing, I supppose the student would just have to find a more tolerant place to train--it is the sensei's right to make the rules-- (unfortuantely outside the west coast there are often not a whole bunch of dojos in the same town). But if I were ever a sensei, I think I would not want to force others to choose between their religious beliefs and Aikido.

As for training with someone who does not bow...in my dojo that didn't bow, we exchanged a friendly greeting...the student who does not bow in my current place smiles and says 'hello'. I've had students bow, then get up and treat me in a very disrespectful manner once we began training. Bowing doesn't create respect, or caring, or even minimal ethical behavior. And it doesn't necessarily mean that it is there. I think a lot of folks bow in Aikido with nothing in their hearts, it is just an action they've learned to do, a habit.
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Old 01-13-2002, 08:42 AM   #9
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Truthfulness...

Yes, I personally agree with you Colleen, that there are people who bow just for the sake of the shape of bowing. These people do not know what bowing really is, what it signifies.

It is only after I took a few Ki-no-Kenkyukai classes that I learn how to properly "rei". Now I can tell the difference between an empty "rei" and a meaningful and truthful one.

You will see that those people that bows to you and then treat you disrespectfully will also have an empty technique. These types of people will only care on the shape or on how to do a technique. They probably won't even bother studying the principles nor the philosophies behind the actual techniques.

Techniques are tools for learning the principles/philosophies/spirit. Without those qualities within the person, one will only merely be an empty shell.
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Old 01-14-2002, 01:48 AM   #10
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I agree with much of what you say. Personally, I know a religious person that believed Harry Potter was the devil's work and that people that belonged to religions other than Christianity were going to hell. Now, for me this seems like the same kind of thinking and that is why I feel strongly against it. I believe in being open to other cultures and ways of doing things. When we are not open, then we tend to judge others. I mean to these people am I bad or not going to heaven because I do bow? Am I less somehow in their eyes? Because they judge themselves, they also judge me. It is confusing to me that they will not bow but they will train in an art that could potentially criple or kill another person. It is also sad to me that they limit themselves to only dojo's, teachers, competitions etc. that do not require bowing. I feel like they should judge people based on who they are not on bending at the waist. I guess I feel like they do not show tolerance for the Japanese way and you feel that we do not show them tolerance for their religious traditions. Interesting..



Quote:
Originally posted by ca
You know, we've been throught the 'tradition' part of this discussion before...we also don't all wear hakamas the first minute we step on the mat (in fact, the folks who are often the most hard over on bowing come from dojos that have easily dropped the hakama-for-all tradition). Geishas are a part of Japanese culture...but no man I've trained with within reach of me would suggest that as a role for me...

You could also say, at least for the dojos in the US, that these are NOT Japanese dojos. They are in a country that was founded by those wanting religious freedom, that prides itself on upholding individual rights and freedoms, and it sounds somewhat un-American to insist someone violate their deeply held religious beliefs in order to take part in a judo competition.

As for Aikido dojos that insist on bowing, I supppose the student would just have to find a more tolerant place to train--it is the sensei's right to make the rules-- (unfortuantely outside the west coast there are often not a whole bunch of dojos in the same town). But if I were ever a sensei, I think I would not want to force others to choose between their religious beliefs and Aikido.

As for training with someone who does not bow...in my dojo that didn't bow, we exchanged a friendly greeting...the student who does not bow in my current place smiles and says 'hello'. I've had students bow, then get up and treat me in a very disrespectful manner once we began training. Bowing doesn't create respect, or caring, or even minimal ethical behavior. And it doesn't necessarily mean that it is there. I think a lot of folks bow in Aikido with nothing in their hearts, it is just an action they've learned to do, a habit.
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Old 01-14-2002, 06:24 AM   #11
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This is quite an intense discussion. From where I'm standing evereyone has made some good points. I personally would have a few reservations about training with someone who didn't bow. But I'm not sure what I would do. I have never encountered that problem.

Interestingly (is that a real word?) enough though if you re-read the first post, the step father who brought the case to trail alledgedly stated that bowing is a "religious ritual" and violates some of thier religious beliefs. I think the common theme throughout this thread is that our sort of bowing is a bow of respect to your partner not a religious bow.

Colleen, with all due respect, taking the above into consideration isn't the judges decisions somewhat justified?
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Old 01-14-2002, 07:19 AM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
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I have a bad feeling about a judge passing a judgement compelling people to bow in a dojo as a point of law.

In the dojo where I usually train here in Hiroshima, we gather round in a circle, in seiza, and bow to each other as a sign of mutual respect and 'thanks for the practice'--and usually we are all gaijin. But if someone does not want to bow, for ANY reason, that's OK.

When I was a student in England, I used to practise aikido with some students who were Muslim. They were mainly Iranian, but there were one ortwo Afgans. They were great to train with, for they had all the martial fervour of prewar Japanese and loved hard practice. Some of them went back to their own countries and were tortured to death for their Muslim (and political) beliefs. But bowing was never a problem. I think we bowed to each other before and after training because it was the custom and we genuinely came to love each other. But they were militant Muslims and I was once hauled over the coals for not following Muslim customs (I think I used the wrong hand to take food at a meal). They used the argument that they bowed when practising aikido because they respected Japanese culture: I should do the same with Muslim culture. I had no answer.

So I agree with Colleen's posts and find it hard to think of a situation in presentday aikido when one would bow in aikido for reasons other than mutual respect.

By the way, Colleen, do you plan to come to Aiki Expo? If so, I look forward to meeting you and to train together: to flesh out the posts, so to speak.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-14-2002 at 07:24 AM.

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Old 01-14-2002, 10:02 AM   #13
guest1234
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Dr Goldsbury: Yeah, watch that left hand, and for goodness sake, don't cross your legs!

I've had my space for the expo and my room reserved for about a year... and your classes were some that enticed me to sign up, so watch for a short, loud whitebelt who laughs if someone throws her hard... I'm looking forward to it! Besides, UNLV is the dojo I still call home in my heart.

Jon, thanks for an insight I hadn't before realized. I can't speak for all with restrictive beliefs, but I can at least speak for one (me) on how I feel about the few things about which I'm conservative: I'm of an older generation, and raised Irish Catholic to boot, so I'm sure that gives a picture of how I personally feel about, er, male-female relationships. But the fact that I would judge my behavior pretty harshly in this area, never led me to think anyone else (well, except whomever I was dating ) had to behave this way, or that they were 'sinners'. In my view, you sin when you violate your own beliefs, not those of others. (N.B., you may, however, be acting rudely in others' eyes, so it is always wise to explain your beliefs if they are very different).

So, I would never think of others as lesser, or being bad, if they don't follow my personal beliefs, but I would like to be allowed to follow them myself, or I indeed would be sinning. There's a line in a movie about St Thomas Moore, where he is urged to sign the proclamation regarding the King's divorce, as all the other nobles have (through rationalizing their actions). He replies "so I should sign for fellowship? and when after we die, and you are sent to heaven for your beliefs, and I to hell, will you join me there, for fellowship?'

Michael: It makes me nervous when the courts decide which religious beliefs are valid. But I'm pretty liberal.
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Old 01-14-2002, 10:12 AM   #14
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PS,

Jon, I am more likely to kill or maim someone with my car, a 9mm, or my medical skills , than ever with my Aikido...

a lot of folks don't come to Aikido thinking of it as a form of deadly persuasion...
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Old 01-14-2002, 11:43 AM   #15
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I have seen this and worse...

I think it is important to recognize that the court in that case was not mandating bowing or not bowing, nor were they legislating religion. In fact, they were doing just the opposite. The question before the court was "does a requirement to bow in a martial arts competition/event violate a person's right to believe what they want to?" The court answered that there was nothing religious about the bow and therefore no question for the court to answer. In other words, the control was returned back to the event organizer to determine if bowing was required.

Unfortunately, I have seen this taken to an even further extreme: in one of the arts I study in, a father enrolled his son (15 yrs. old) for classes. Catching only the opening and closing of class (when he dropped off and picked up his son), the father complained about "those people speaking in tongues," and pulled his student out of the studio. Basically, he was reacting to opening class by calling out "Shomen ni rei... Sensei ni rei" and then the uttering of "Onegaishimasu" as class opened, for example. I don't think that the father understood that simply using another language was different from having some sort of spirit come over you where you began speaking the language without ever having studied it. I wondered what the father would say if someone pointed out all of the words that we use in our everyday life that are obviously from another language. (deja vu, ennui, etc.) Perhaps that is going a bit far, but the point does still hold.

I also think that we can argue this point without worrying about stepping on toes, since this is not a question of "is this a matter of my beliefs or my salvation?" Rather, this is a question of "is this religious?" There would be no difference between this discussion and one that questioned whether a hand-shake was carnal contact outside the bonds of marriage. In both cases the act has been thrust into a context where it does not belong simply because it resembles acts that do belong in that context (that is, bowing is present in religion, therefore ALL bowing must be religious; or hand holding is a part of expressing love between two married people, therefore ALL hand holding/shaking should be reserved for marriage.) Imagine having that discussion with someone and you can understand the look of confusion I get when this topic comes up.

"You mean you won't shake hands with me because you're not married to me? But... Bob, we're both men."

Last edited by Magma : 01-14-2002 at 11:48 AM.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 01-14-2002, 01:47 PM   #16
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Bowing in class is not religious in your view, but that does not make it not religious in anothers...in fact, what do you think the bow that O Sensei led his class with meant to him, as long as we are being so traditional? Do you think he was 'just clapping to call attention to class starting', or because it is a part of Shinto prayer ritual, designed, I think, to call the attention of the gods?

Yes, the court ruled the organizers can require whatever they want to... so if they decide everyone has to share a ham sandwich before we start, since most of us have no religious issues with ham, that's OK, right? Jewish, Muslim, Adventists and some Buddhists should know we see no religious significance or prohibition to eating ham, and so should not have any problem with joining in that activity.

It would be our right to make that rule, as orgainzers, but why would we want to exclude those who have religious beliefs not our own? Those who do not wish to bow are not saying you shouldn't, they are just asking to be allowed their own beliefs, not change yours. If they can accept your wanting to bow, why is it so hard for you to accept their NOT wanting to bow? Why is the form more important than tolerance of other's religions and viewpoints?

A fair number of folks on another thread said it would be soooo unfair for a sensei to require you to hug your partners at the end of class...not because it violated your religious beliefs, but because you don't like it, a personal preference in behavior. So personal dislikes are reasons to not do what is asked as ceremony in the dojo, but religious beliefs are not?

For all of you who just have to bow in class or you wouldn't want to train with someone, is that how you are in life, as well? You bow to everyone on the street? Wear your hakama to work? Oh, I see, it is just something you do for Aikido on the mat. For me, Aikido is about accepting not excluding others, and changing me, not worrying about changing them. And of all the things I find important in the world, an empty bow for tradition's sake means little. A sincere greeting from someone who doesn't bow means the world.

Time to climb off my soapbox and get out to the flightline.
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Old 01-14-2002, 02:38 PM   #17
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form and ritual

How quickly this degenerates into a debate over beliefs on the mat, which is actually the opposite of what it should be.

CA, there are specific beliefs that you mention which can be stepped on in the course of planning an event. (BTW, I do not eat ham for religious reasons - but I am not Jewish nor Muslim... but I still understood your point about beliefs other than my own). However, there are others that are wholesale, sweeping categorizations based on inference, history, fear, or generalizations.

"Some people use candles for religious ceremonies, and other people use them to meditate... so if I light a candle, it's going to be for one of these purposes, too."

We end up with the anti-Amish: someone who HAS to use electrically powered lights rather than candles.

"O'sensei bowed to awaken the gods or rouse his ancestors, therefore if I bow, I am also trying to awaken the gods or rouse my ancestors."

Really?

Similarly, "The bible says don't bow to any graven image, to have no gods before God, so if I bow at all I am setting that thing up as an idol."

No, what counts as setting something up as an idol is... "setting something up as an idol." Notice that I am not defining what that is; each person would have to define that if they were concerned. However, it is these broad-shored absolutes that I find naive and closed-minded. You know what, maybe people could find a brace that didn't let them bend at the waist at all... ever. Need to pick up a small child? Sorry, can't do it. Why? Because you would be bowed over and you can't suffer that.

"Oh, in picking up that child you would be bowing for a different purpose than [praying to that child/raising the gods/invoking your ancestors/insert sin here]? But for some reason you can't see yourself doing that on the mats... hmm."

And just so we're clear, I respect everyone's beliefs. I do not accept all of them; in fact, some I find downright childish, some an affront to what I believe, and some naive. Others I find beautiful. But I respect them all. "Bowing equals Religion" I find naive... but believe it if you want. On the other hand, just because you believe it does not make it any less naive to me.

I'm not asking anyone to change their faith. All I am asking is don't ask me to change the art of Aikido. Bowing is a part of it, a part of the traditions. If someone can't handle that, then they can't handle the art.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 01-14-2002, 06:18 PM   #18
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firm beliefs

I have learned over the years, when religion is involved, there is no use arguing.

I mean some people could sit down and have a nice discussion about their beliefs, even between different beliefs. But this is very rare, especially here in Indonesia. Discussions can be achieved among the academics, or the educated, which is still very low percentage-wise.

I'm a muslim, and I see a lot of mis-education and mis-use of the Islam religion. I see people using Islam for their political needs. I see people using Islam for inducing violence. How is this possible? The low education that the people have here make them vulnerable to the provoking thoughts of the religious leader (or people they see as a religious leader).

I'm not much of a religious person, but my sensei is. He is a quite religious muslim. I believe that he's probably the only one that could explain the significance of bowing without raising much controversy. If it was me, I would probably be brushed off easily.

If I was about to do sometype of explanation, trying to find a resolution to this matter, I would probably do it during a nice relaxing conversation over tea, coffe, or even beer... heheheheh... Now you see how religious I am...
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Old 01-14-2002, 06:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Bowing in class is not religious in your view, but that does not make it not religious in anothers...
As usual, I agree pretty much entirely with Colleen, but I'd just like to add one comment:
In the case of some ( a smallish minority, I think ) muslims, bowing is a problem even if they appreciate that it has no religious significance whatsoever.

The way some people interpret the Koran, bowing is reserved solely for the purpose of prayer, and it is forbidden to bow for any other reason, regardless of whether it has religious implications or not.

I met such a gentleman at a judo dojo I visited a few years ago. While everyone else bowed, he shook hands with his partner before and after practicing, and after the end of the session he went over to sensei, shook his hand and thanked him sincerely for teaching the class.

This gentleman practiced hard and laughed often, in short he was an absolute joy to train with.

I believe the instructor would have been within his rights to refuse to teach someone who didn't bow, but I was very glad he had a more open mind than that. If he had done so, his dojo would have been a much poorer place.

Sean
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Old 01-14-2002, 06:40 PM   #20
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Nice way to put it...

That is quite a good explanation Orchard-san. You are quite a learned and an experienced person.

What you have said is all true. That's why I'm quite reluctant to try to convince people to bow. We live in the time of globalization now, we should always keep an open mind.
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Old 01-14-2002, 10:42 PM   #21
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As a Christian from the Middle East, I can assure you that we have never heard of any problem with a Muslim not wanting to bow whatsover, and I have practiced MA for over 17 years. The misconception is about bowing in Islam and it's wrong because Muslims do have many signs of humility while talking to others which very much resemble bowing. Most of the controversies I've read are about some fanatical Christians who want to follow both Old and New Testaments to the letter with all the contradictions they contain. This as about Christian arrogance, and non tolerance for other cultures and religions. Remember, we are the ones who persecuted almost every population and every religion in the world, starting with the Crusades, to slavery in Africa, to native Indians in both North and South America, not to mention South and South East Asia, and finally the Jews. The list is very long.

Going to an age of Globalization, we are all in danger now of loosing our identity. I'm not saying that Globalization is bad, but that we should conserve as much as possible of our traditions and others' traditions so that we don't end up as stereotypes.

Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art, and hand-shaking, hugging, kissing...etc. are in my view ridiculous and embarassing. The only acceptable way is bowing. You have a problem with bowing, there are Western Martial Arts such as Boxing, Greco-Roman Wrestling, fencing...etc. No body's forcing you to take up Aikido, and your presence in Aikido is not so necessary that Japanese tradition should be modified for your sake.

We as open-minded and responsible persons should bend to accomodate the art that we chose to practice, not vice versa.

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 01-14-2002, 11:42 PM   #22
guest1234
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Perhaps it is a US Muslim issue, or US-British Muslim issue... since Islam is the largest religion in the world, and even in Christianity (much smaller) the views differ widely by sect, perhaps you just did not run into those who did not bow. I was 24 before I met an Adventist; before then I would have said a person worshiping on Saturday was likely Jewish, and Christian would not have been a guess on the religion of someone who didn't eat meat. Perhaps you have just not yet met a Muslim who does not bow for religious reasons. But they do exist.

If we insist on being traditional, then how can you mock what the Founder believed, and religate what he considered vital and important, the religious prayers and ceremonies that he opened class with, to a there-is-nothing-religious- about-it status. His students say he felt strongly about wearing hakamas on the mat. How can you pick and choose what you want, and toss the rest? Is that how you honor his memory? Perhaps those who see a religious side to what you don't are actually seeing things much closer to the way O Sensei did, than you. Wouldn't it be better to just let each person greet you in the way he feels comfortable? Isn't insisting on everyone adopting Japanese culture, even if it violates their religious beliefs, being close-mineded and unwilling to accept diverve cultures and experience? How is saying 'if you won't do exactly as everyone else here does, then go somewhere else' promoting a wider appreciation of things foreign. If you are comfortable in your choices, then let others be comfortable in theirs; perhaps they will change, perhaps not, but you each are exposed to things different.
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Old 01-15-2002, 12:49 AM   #23
Edward
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Osensei's religious convictions were his own. They played a great part in the development of Aikido, this is an undenyiable fact, and as such must be acknowledged and respected.

Now we are not all expected to follow Osensei's eccentricities, eventhough I agree regarding the Hakama issue which should be worn by all Aikidoka regardless of rank in the same tradition as Kendo and other samurai arts.

But bowing is not particular to Aikido. This is the Japanese way of showing respect and is used in all Japanese Martial Arts. Clapping hands has been discontinued in most of the dojos because of its religious significance, and I fully agree with that. Not that I'm afraid that I will go to hell if I do, but that it's just insignificant to me.

But I am a traditionalist. I'm sure we will see a lot of this Christian Aikido, Muslim Aikido, Jewish Aikido...etc. in the future, and with all due respect, it's all nonsense.

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 01-15-2002, 01:31 AM   #24
unsound000
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Doitashimashite (Your welcome.) Thanks for your comments too. I'm Irish protestant so it's nice that we do not degenerate into fighting Message boards are horrible to get into deep differences in belief. Now Guiness and a pub...

Quote:
Originally posted by ca


Jon, thanks for an insight I hadn't before realized. I can't speak for all with restrictive beliefs, but I can at least speak for one (me) on how I feel about the few things about which I'm conservative: I'm of an older generation, and raised Irish Catholic to boot, so I'm sure that gives a picture of how I personally feel about, er, male-female relationships. But the fact that I would judge my behavior pretty harshly in this area, never led me to think anyone else (well, except whomever I was dating ) had to behave this way, or that they were 'sinners'. In my view, you sin when you violate your own beliefs, not those of others. (N.B., you may, however, be acting rudely in others' eyes, so it is always wise to explain your beliefs if they are very different).
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Old 01-15-2002, 01:36 AM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
As a Christian from the Middle East, I can assure you that we have never heard of any problem with a Muslim not wanting to bow whatsover, and I have practiced MA for over 17 years.
As a non-Christian, non-Jew, non-Muslim with over 20 years in the martial arts I can assure you that I have definitely heard of problems with Muslims who did not want to bow. Also I had a student who was an orthodox Jew with the same problem. Because you haven't met them doesn't mean that they therefore do not exist.

Quote:

The misconception is about bowing in Islam and it's wrong because Muslims do have many signs of humility while talking to others which very much resemble bowing.
Whether it's a misconception or not is really a matter of religious faith. I have met any number of reasonable people who have problems with the bowing based on their faith. I choose not to interpret their religion for them.

Quote:

Most of the controversies I've read are about some fanatical Christians who want to follow both Old and New Testaments to the letter with all the contradictions they contain. This as about Christian arrogance, and non tolerance for other cultures and religions.
I do know some Christians who had problems with some aspects of Aikido, but never any that had specific problems with bowing.

Quote:
Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art, and hand-shaking, hugging, kissing...etc. are in my view ridiculous and embarassing. The only acceptable way is bowing. You have a problem with bowing, there are Western Martial Arts such as Boxing, Greco-Roman Wrestling, fencing...etc. No body's forcing you to take up Aikido, and your presence in Aikido is not so necessary that Japanese tradition should be modified for your sake.
I've spent over ten years training in Japan, and I've actually discussed this very issue with students of Morihei Ueshiba. Now, while I don't rule out the possibility that there are places with different policies, none of the dojo or teachers that I've trained with or are training with would have any problem at all with people eliminating the bow if the felt that it were in violation of their religious beliefs. Why be more Japanese than the Japanese themselves?

Best,

Chris

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