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Old 10-28-2010, 09:21 AM   #251
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
shot to hell in a hand-bucket.
Never heard that variant of the expression but I like it. I think I'll trade my basket for your bucket. Sounds more manly.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:36 AM   #252
Marc Abrams
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
Never heard that variant of the expression but I like it. I think I'll trade my basket for your bucket. Sounds more manly.
Rabih:

Don't you realize that by trading your basket for my manly bucket, you have insulted someone, somewhere in this world! Have you no cultural sensitivity! Why must you be so intolerant and inflexible!

Marc Abrams
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:42 AM   #253
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Funny, I have seen Strict Orthodox Jews bow to a Japanese person in the context of doing business. I guess that this Jew was a bad Jew.....
Cheap (no pun intended) jokes about Jews and bussines are allowed here?

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Old 10-28-2010, 11:59 AM   #254
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Let me be clear on this, once again, Marc. Your dojo, your rules. Plain and simple. Will never argue that. What we are discussing is the wisdom behind some rules.

That "budo for the world" thinggy, is not mine, but O Sensei's. Feel free to argue with him. And that's not necessarily my thinking. Too.

Best.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:08 PM   #255
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Lets go to the training but in another thread
Sorry I got to replying to this a day too late... I was training

MM
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:11 PM   #256
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, see, you've just defined the terms of the argument and thus constrained the only possible answer to being the one you want. If training is indeed "the most important part" for someone, by definition, bowing or not bowing is a secondary consideration. But for someone who is considering training, who does not currently train, it is probably not "the most important part". If religion doesn't make sense to you, think about family obligations: someone wants to train but is responsible for the care of two young children. It would be a bit odd to expect training to be "the most important part" for this person, certainly not as they're just approaching aikido for the first time. Very few people have the luxury of setting all other considerations, obligations and principles aside in order to train; by far the majority of us who do train, still are accountable to these other considerations. Restrictions caused by matters of principle are surely as real as those caused by practical life obligations, don't you think?
Religions does make sense to me. Served as a missionary for years. Putting off having children so my body is in condition. My mother understands why I don't call a lot. <3

It isn't a luxury, it is a sacrifice. I'm accountable for other obligations, Aikido complicates other engagements, it's just worth the complications. Sort of like dating some one your mom hates.
Like anything, you can't get something for nothing. You will grieve the sacrifice of friends, or family, or free time, or job offers...but it has to be worth the sacrifice to you. It has to be worth grieving that sacrifice too, which is often harder than the initial sacrifice.

I will admit it however, I'm approaching the situation from a different mind-set. And if one think in your life is more important than Aikido, to the point it makes Aikido unpractical, then you must sacrifice Aikido and grieve that loss.

Personally, I never cared if some one bowed or not..so long as they were respectful, and a light-uke.

Last edited by RED : 10-28-2010 at 11:19 PM.

MM
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:12 PM   #257
heathererandolph
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
If I were running a dojo (which I never expect to do) I would probably not insist on the bow, but I also respect the decisions of dojo chos to do so in their dojos.

To me personally, refusing to train w/ another member of the dojo on gender or any basis other than personal safety concerns is outside the pale, because it directly effects the other dojo members. But the bow need not do so. YMMV.
I sort of agree with that statement, but in practice how to do it? There is a lot of bowing in Aikido. You could remove it from the class altogether, but what if this person doesn't stay in the dojo for long? Put it back in again? If he were to just not bow at all and all the other students were bowing, that would seem odd and well, give the impression of disrespect. If he were to step off the mat when everyone else bowed that wouldn't be good either. If other higher ranking black belts were to visit the school, and he didn't bow to them...
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:18 AM   #258
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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I would post a reply to Maggie, but since Jun will ban me again for that, I won't address her comments. Carina, you don't want to understand that for 2.000.000.000 people in the world (a rough estimation) bowing in not acceptable. At all. And you are banning them to train in Aikido because "bowing equals Aikido equals bowing". For some this is a molehill. For said two thousand million people, it's a big, huge mountain.

But of course, your traditions show no respect for half the people in the world. And your traditions also equals Aikido equals your traditions.

I've being training with the Aikikai delegate in Indonesia for some time. Never bowed while in there. He was appointed by Kisshomaru Doshu. Guess both Doshu and Delegate were wrong. And all his students. And you (and some people I cannot mention under Jun's rule) are right. End of the story.
I repeat this here although it was answered already and think as most of us this thread is getting long and also hope like Alejandro always says Jun will not ban me for that,

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Old 11-04-2010, 07:56 AM   #259
Randall Lim
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.
We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?
In my opinion, bowing just half-way is fine. Or if this is still not acceptable, then a warm hand-shake will do. What really matters is the heart, mind & attitude of the practitioner.

As for the emphasis of the Spiritual aspect, the practitioner must first be willing to believe in the concept of Ki, or it can never be cultivated. Then his Aikido training will merely be physical joint-locks & tumblings.

Sharing of the spiritual aspect should continue, but not forced upon the practitioner. The practitioner should be allowed to choose or filter out what he wishes to believe. It is his choice how much he wishes to get out of his Aikido training. But always make him feel welcome in your dojo.

Aikido is about love too.
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:56 PM   #260
graham christian
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Smile Re: To bow or not to bow

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Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Dear all,

I have a query that I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on. Recently I've had a lovely student come to the dojo to practice; very enthusiastic and keen, sincere and good natured. He is a Muslim and will not, because of his precepts and faith, bow to the ground either at the Kamiza or to another when we greet in the Japanese way(In our dojo when in seiza we bow all the way down to the mat to another when we finish the session as a thank you). He will nod a small bow in respect to another.
We have had great open talks about religion and spirituality and we really understand each other to a great part.

Would you allow his freedom to follow his creed and forgo the standard dojo bow and just get on with training or not? For me it's not just that simple. We speak about it and find that we discover more things as we look at the issue. Very interesting and not a quick solution. Of course I could easily overlook this one incident and just get on with training (which I might do) and not bother about his rules of conduct. But how far do we open up the Japanese tradition to allow a varied standard?
I have 30 students and as many as 15 nationalities and all faith groups. We have a great relationship and it's a wonderful dojo.
Now I like this guy, but since I like to view my Aikido to be part of a spiritual discipline (not that I impose it on students but if they are interested I will speak my mind) I like to speak with him about the dynamics of being a guest and conforming to the standard of the host. A self surrender to another way of being if you like. Most people find no trouble in doing this but because of certain rules of conduct we find ourselves in these situations.

But what has been the most joyful thing coming out of this query is our talks that leads deep into the reasons and meaning of religious and spiritual understanding.

There are also the more sterner applications of faith rules as not allowing men to train with women etc. How do we deal with that? Open a men's only class? A Muslim class? A Christian class?

What do you think?
Hi Bjorn. It seems we are neighbours. In response to the above may I offer you my opinion.

It is your space and if you like, your house, your universe. You therefore are responsible for the rules of entry and participation and behaviour.

If you visited anothers house and their rules were that all visitors must take off their shoes then is that not what you would do or else you would not visit them at their house. If you visited a mosque or a temple or a church or even a school classroom then you would act according to their rules for that visit as a matter of respect wouldn't you?

So I'm not saying here that you should ban the person I am merely breking it down into a simplicity of two parts:

1) That it is all a matter of respect.

2) That it is your responsibility to KNOW and adhere to the rules you personally put there. So if you decide that bowing to the ground is part of your way then all who want to learn from you should respect that or leave. On the other hand if you decide that all should bow to the ground unless their own religious beliefs prevent them from so doing then take responsibility for that as a rule of operation and then there is no problem.

Personally, by your brief description of the guy, he seems like a very respectful and honourable person and one you also respect so it would seem wise to me to do the latter and then all may know your new rule of conduct and all is back in harmony.

Quality is far superior to quantity. G.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:36 AM   #261
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Graham, I thought we already settled that "your house, your rules" thing. What's being discussed here is the wisdom in some of said rules.

Otherwise, agreed.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:20 PM   #262
graham christian
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Smile Re: To bow or not to bow

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Graham, I thought we already settled that "your house, your rules" thing. What's being discussed here is the wisdom in some of said rules.

Otherwise, agreed.
Hi Alejandro, well said. I hadn't followed through the thread and was just giving an answer to the original one and the situation it had caused.

However, on seeing that the various rules are being discussed as to their relevance I would still say it is just a matter of respect no matter what rules are there, in other words it is not a matter of if it's right or wrong.

I remember when a student of mine took me to visit another dojo, telling me there was a master there and for whatever reason thought I should go. I duly obliged and went to this dojo in burnt oak.

As we entered the building there in front of us was a hall with the doors wide open and with a training session in full flow. Not knowing the etiquette of the situation my student entered and proceeded to sit down quietly on one of the seats along the side of the dojo. The session carried on and all was well so he came back out and asked me why I hadn't come in. I told him to follow what I do and not to say a word.

I knelt down, seiza, and told him to do the same and just to observe from where we were at the entrance. Immediately he did so the Sensei looked over, we acknowledged each other and he immediately sent over a student who asked if we would like to come in. The sensei was Kanetsuka Sensei.

After class Kanetsuka and I had a good humoured chat and discussion and then we left. My student was confused and asked me if he was an old friend of mine and if it was me who was playing a joke on him. I told him no, I had never met Kanetsuka before but it was time that he learned the true meaning of respect.

You see for me, if I trained in another dojo and found for example that the students were all taught to throw themselves when different techniques were applied then I would follow suit even though I know better for I am not there to make anybody wrong or to prove myself, I am there with respect for the way they do their Aikido and if I come away having learned nothing then in truth I have learned something.

On the other hand if the sensei asked me to help in some way with something then and only then would it be respectful to do so.

So if the rule is you pick your nose and you want to learn from that Sensei then out of respect you do so for you always have a choice.

Anyway, thats my humble opinion.

Keep living it. G.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:08 AM   #263
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Re: To bow or not to bow

So anything goes. Interesting.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:42 AM   #264
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
1) That it is all a matter of respect.
That's the hard part, it is not about respect in this case, it is about faith. These are very different things. The rules of entry for Aikido once make it nearly impossible for Westerns to practice. Eventually O'Sensei saw this was wrong since Aikido is for all mankind, not just Japanese. How are we keeping to his ideas if we knowingly mandate requirements that force students to leave? Is the spirit of Aikido lost if one doesn't bow?

Gregory Makuch
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:29 PM   #265
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Gregory Makuch wrote: View Post
That's the hard part, it is not about respect in this case, it is about faith. These are very different things. The rules of entry for Aikido once make it nearly impossible for Westerns to practice. Eventually O'Sensei saw this was wrong since Aikido is for all mankind, not just Japanese. How are we keeping to his ideas if we knowingly mandate requirements that force students to leave? Is the spirit of Aikido lost if one doesn't bow?
If one cannot make the simple adjustment to Japanese culture of bowing in a secular context of etiquette, how can one expect to really get the "spirit of Aikido"? A spirit born of Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto beliefs?

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:42 PM   #266
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
If one cannot make the simple adjustment to Japanese culture of bowing in a secular context of etiquette, how can one expect to really get the "spirit of Aikido"? A spirit born of Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto beliefs?
Outside of Japan, though, I'll bet you that many senseis don't have a very good understanding of Japanese culture -- so it seems a bit hypocritical to demand that people do this and that in the name of a culture you don't yourself understand.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:25 PM   #267
Fred Little
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Outside of Japan, though, I'll bet you that many senseis don't have a very good understanding of Japanese culture -- so it seems a bit hypocritical to demand that people do this and that in the name of a culture you don't yourself understand.
And yet, if the aim is embodied understanding, the only way to achieve such is to engage in the physical process by which the understanding is embodied, without regard to the fullness (or lack of fullness) of one's current embodiment of the understanding.

This remains the case, even if one accepts the high order probability that Sturgeon's Law always applies, unless of course one is in Lake Woebegone.

Best,

FL

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Old 03-29-2011, 04:02 AM   #268
Flintstone
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
If one cannot make the simple adjustment to Japanese culture of bowing in a secular context of etiquette, how can one expect to really get the "spirit of Aikido"? A spirit born of Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto beliefs?
Maybe it's a "simple adjustment" for you. Surely not for others. Maybe it's a "secular context" for you. Surely not for others. Is it that hard to understand that not everybody lives by your standards?

And... what is exactly "the spirit of Aikido"? Did you really "got it"? Obviously not, in my opinion. Maybe yes in yours.

This is the kind of intolerance that Jun allows in the forum. Oh, because the wording is low tone. Is this the "spirit of Aikido" too? I call BS.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:49 AM   #269
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Outside of Japan, though, I'll bet you that many senseis don't have a very good understanding of Japanese culture ...
So this makes clear how important it is to have a teacher who is connected to Japanese culture in some way.
Be it by visiting Japan (hombu or the dojo of a teacher who is important to him) or studying with a Japanese shihan or teacher or ... . There are a lot of possibilities.

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
And yet, if the aim is embodied understanding, the only way to achieve such is to engage in the physical process by which the understanding is embodied, ...
Yes. To me this seems to be the concept of learning by repeating kata over and over.
And this is also true for reishiki wich can also only be learned by doing kata.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 03-29-2011 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:51 AM   #270
Flintstone
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Japonisme vs. Aikido...
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:59 AM   #271
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Re: To bow or not to bow

I think, aikido (as I know and learn it) is a form of japonisme
and can't be separated.

(Btw.: It took me two years until I started practicing aikido. Because I refused to bow to something or someone else except god. And because I thougth the Holy Ghost to be the only "life-energy" and didn't want to deal with something named "ki".)
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:43 AM   #272
Fred Little
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Cool Re: To bow or not to bow

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Japonisme vs. Aikido...
If what we have here is one of the most critically transformative movements in late 19th and early 20th Century Western Art vs. a 20th Century martial way dressed in a patchwork Wafu of Esperanto, Theosophy,New Age Universalism, Food Faddism, and a liberal dose of Japanese nativist theology, I'm betting on the former.

FL

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Old 03-29-2011, 09:01 AM   #273
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I think, aikido (as I know and learn it) is a form of japonisme
and can't be separated.
You stated it quite clearly: "I think...". And that's your opinion and not a fact.

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
(Btw.: It took me two years until I started practicing aikido. Because I refused to bow to something or someone else except god. And because I thougth the Holy Ghost to be the only "life-energy" and didn't want to deal with something named "ki".)
Quite sad, in my understanding. So you were not doing Aikido until you bowed to a picture and because you did not believe in qi/chi/ki... Well, these are the latest news: ki is all about physics and not at all about holy ghosts... and a picture is a picture is a picture. I believe I can do Aikido without saluting to a canvas and without thinking of ki as "the force".

But you believe I'm not doing Aikido. And that's exclusive and certainly not what (I believe) O Sensei was "preaching".

But it's all fine while your tone is low.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:05 AM   #274
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Lather, rinse, repeat...
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #275
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
And that's your opinion and not a fact.
Sure: This is just the way I myself practice. And for me it is kind of natural because there are a lot of connections with japan through my teacher who lived there for a while and whose wife is japanese. Also through Christian Tissier and Endo sensei.
And in our federation
My teacher also is shibu cho of TSKSR in Germany, which is also very japanese.

This ist the aikido-world, I live in and which shapes the character of my understanding and feeling of aikido. And so this is the way aikido reveals itself to me.
We even don't have german graduations. We are graded directly by the hombu.

On the other side there are bad experiences of two german federations which have lost the connection with Japan long time ago. This "german aikido" has lost it's character completely, I think.

Quote:
Quite sad, in my understanding. So you were not doing Aikido until you bowed to a picture ...
I didn't start practice until I had at least a little idea of what I am doing when bowing to living people, rooms, kamidana, etc. .
Same with meditating, sitting in seiza.
I'm a lutheran pastor and it was important for me not to mix up the practice of shinto with my christian beliefs.

Quote:
... and because you did not believe in qi/chi/ki... Well, these are the latest news: ki is all about physics and not at all about holy ghosts...
grin: Yes. But this is what you and me think.
For my teacher - who is teacher of christian beliefs at school - it is identic. For the aikidoka who do aikido shinik rengo it is identic. Ueshiba Morihei thought it to be identic. ...
It's not that simpel. ;-)

Quote:
... and a picture is a picture is a picture.
Bowing to the kamidana is much more then just nodding in front of a picture. (... or calligraphie or flowers or ....)
And when you train with people who practice shinto it becomes even more complicated.

Quote:
But you believe I'm not doing Aikido.
Excuse me?
When or how did I say that you are not doing aikido?
(This is something I sometimes here myself. When stating that I just practice waza and nothing else ... And at least for this reason I would never judge anyone elses practice.)

I don't think I am able (or want) to judge anyone or anyones practice. This is not my job and not my authority.
You may have got a teacher. He is (in my eyes) the only one who might judge your aikido. (If you let him do so.)

Quote:
And that's exclusive and certainly not what (I believe) O Sensei was "preaching".
This I think is more difficult:
I think it was Kisshomaru, who openend up aikido.
O Sensei was kind of forced, to show aikido to the public and I think there where "two hearst beating in his one breast". (German proverb I can't translate: He wanted aikido to be for everyone, but at the same time wanted to aikido to be japanese. I think if there only had been Ueshiba Morihei we both wouldn't even know aikido. But that's just my thoughts.)
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