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Old 06-25-2009, 08:35 AM   #1
Ecosamurai
 
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Bowing on and off

Hi,

Just wondering what the consensus opinion is on how most folks bow on or off, I'm wondering if there is a difference between western habits and Japanese habits in particular.

As an example, in most kendo and iaido dojo I've been to bow on goes a little like this:

-Sempai calls "Seiza"
-Sempai calls mokuso (kendo)
-Sempai calls "Shomen ni rei" and everyone bows to shomen
-Sempai calls "Sensei ni rei" and sensei and students bow to each other and say "onegaishimasu"

In kendo and other dojo I've been to sensei can number more than one at the head of the mat (it's usually obvious who the senior sensei is)

I'm wondering how common this is in aikido and how these things vary from dojo to dojo etc etc

Thanks in andvance...

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:18 AM   #2
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Bowing on and off

Hello Mike,

We do not have sempai in my dojo and so the closest parallel is the university clubs in Japan.

In my own dojo:
1. I call "Seiza";
2. I (occasionally) call "Mokuso";
3. I call "Shomen ni rei";
4. I then call: "O-tagai-ni rei" (bow to each other).

In the university clubs, the captain calls out 1 to 3, then explicity calls out the names of the sensei, shihan, kantoku, sempai (depending on who is present).

I am not sure if you can talk of a 'Japanese habit' here.

PAG

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Hi,

Just wondering what the consensus opinion is on how most folks bow on or off, I'm wondering if there is a difference between western habits and Japanese habits in particular.

As an example, in most kendo and iaido dojo I've been to bow on goes a little like this:

-Sempai calls "Seiza"
-Sempai calls mokuso (kendo)
-Sempai calls "Shomen ni rei" and everyone bows to shomen
-Sempai calls "Sensei ni rei" and sensei and students bow to each other and say "onegaishimasu"

In kendo and other dojo I've been to sensei can number more than one at the head of the mat (it's usually obvious who the senior sensei is)

I'm wondering how common this is in aikido and how these things vary from dojo to dojo etc etc

Thanks in andvance...

Mike

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:25 AM   #3
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Bowing on and off

Hi

Our japanese shihan expects us to sit dow and line up some minutes before practice begins. There is no command.

We sit and meditate for a while. Without forming the cosmic mudra.

When he bows to shomen, we also do. We come up a little after he does.

He turns to us, we bow, he does also little after we do.
We say "onegai shimasu", he does also. (After practice we say: "domo arigato gozaimashita".
He comes up, we also do.

It's nearly the same, when my teacher, who lived three years in Japan, conducts our practice.
But he commands "mokuso" and "shomen ni rei".
I do aswell when I teach.

I experience the timing to be different:
A japanese sensei expects you to bow (or to speak) a little before he does and to come up again a little after he does.

In the german dojo I know, the students wait until the teacher bows or speaks.

Greetings,
Carsten
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:34 AM   #4
Nick P.
 
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Re: Bowing on and off

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Hi

Our japanese shihan expects us to sit dow and line up some minutes before practice begins. There is no command.

We sit and meditate for a while. Without forming the cosmic mudra.

When he bows to shomen, we also do. We come up a little after he does.

He turns to us, we bow, he does also little after we do.
We say "onegai shimasu", he does also. (After practice we say: "domo arigato gozaimashita".
He comes up, we also do.

I experience the timing to be different:
A japanese sensei expects you to bow (or to speak) a little before he does and to come up again a little after he does.

In the german dojo I know, the students wait until the teacher bows or speaks.

Greetings,
Carsten
My experience exactly, and until recently, a difference I was aware of but not too concerned about. I have since begun adopting the habit of bowing first, coming up last, and speaking first (as student).

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Old 06-25-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Bowing on and off

Hello,

I disagree with Carsten about the timing.

In my own dojo we bow together, at the same time.

At the beginning of training, instead of O tagai-ni rei, it is yoroshiku onegai (ita) shimasu.

PAG

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Old 06-25-2009, 09:55 AM   #6
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Bowing on and off

Thanks for that.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I am not sure if you can talk of a 'Japanese habit' here.
Neither am I, hence my question I wondered because my kendo sensei was Japanese but I've been to Iaido/kenjitsu dojo here and they are very similar to how my kendo sensei did it. whereas my experience of aikido dojo here in the UK tends to be a good deal less formal. Just wondering if this has any particular reason for it.

Cheers

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:33 AM   #7
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Bowing on and off

For what it's worth, my iaido club (former club I should say since I stopped training a while ago) was somewhat more formal with the bowing than my aikido club here in Holland. So it could also be an "aikido culture" versus "iaido culture" thing instead of Japanese/western thing.

Hmmm, come to think of it, Ezra sensei's dojo in Birkenhead is more formal than either of them...

How are you Mike, still running a club or have you moved? Thought I read something like that a while ago?

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:38 AM   #8
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Bowing on and off

Hi Peter,

thank you for your reply.

As for my knowledge of Japanese customs: It is very, very limited. I never lived there and know only few Japanese.
So I am glad to be able to listen to someone knowing Japan.

I experienced this timing with our Japanese shihan. And he used to talk about it as a typical Japanese timing. And he explained that this is part of the communication between student and teacher.
(He also critisized during a grading, that westerners bow too often.)

So if there are evident other experiences while living in Japan, maybe it's not the "Japanese timing" but "his timing". (His Aikido clearly is not typical. )

Well, yes: I just watched a video of Yamaguchi sensei and he bows first. He bows and the students react to that.

The french shihan of our Federation who lived severeal years in japan bows at the same time with us.
(Aah, we will have him here with us in two weeks, I'm looking forward to that!)

And to tell the truth: I never thought about that when practicing with my teacher. I just bowed.

But interesting to me:
The timing I mentioned, adds something I can't really explain, but which makes bowing more intensiv.
Well so it seems it has become "my timing" too. ...

Greetings,
Carsten
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:15 PM   #9
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Bowing on and off

In our dojo, when sensei enters (or a few minutes before) we line up and sit in seiza.

FOR AIKIDO:

Sensei enters, sits in seiza facing us, then turns to the shomen. We all rei together and there is no command.

Sensei then turns and faces us. We all rei together and as we are reing we all say "onegaishimasu."

It is the same thing after class, but instead we say "domo arigato gozaimashita sensei". He usually just says "arigato gozamashita."

FOR IAIDO:

Sensei enters, sits in seiza facing us, then turns to the shomen. Sensei or a sempai says "Shomen ni rei." We all rei together.

Sensei then turns and faces us. If it is just sensei, then we just rei. If there is a higher sempai there, then "Sensei ni rei." is given. We all rei together.

Then sensei or a sempai will say "Tori ni rei." We all rei together and then put our bokkens, iaidos or katanas in our obis.

The same thing is done at the end of class, but in reverse. I am not sure if "Tori" is spelled right or if that is even what it is, but that is what it sounds like.

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