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Old 10-03-2010, 03:32 PM   #126
Flintstone
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
We catholics have exorcists in case something goes wrong with the kami.
And then that's something an atheist cannot have. Great!
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:39 PM   #127
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
And then that's something an atheist cannot have. Great!
They don't need it. Gods, kami, fairies, pink unicorns, etc... can only do things to you if you believe in them.

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Old 10-03-2010, 03:49 PM   #128
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
They don't need it. Gods, kami, fairies, pink unicorns, etc... can only do things to you if you believe in them.
That's true. Same happens to Santa or the Three Magic Kings .
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:35 PM   #129
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
It's core principals, of course. None of them being "bowing". But let Willi Brix define them, as he surely knows better.
Please do not deflect my questions. There are two of them, post 121.

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Old 10-03-2010, 05:47 PM   #130
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
Please do not deflect my questions. There are two of them, post 121.
Who are you to require me to answer your rethorical questions?

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
So if I follow you correctly, you chose to take into account the strictest (most extreme) interpretation possible of a religion's scriptures, and you tell us that an aikido teacher who would not accomodate such a behaviour would commit discrimination against that religion. Did I understand right ?
No. You didn't understand right.

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
Another argument of yours is that the changes would only affect minor or insignificant elements of aikido practise. You contend for example that bowing is not part of aikido (even though most of the aikido manuals I consulted include a part on proper bowing and its significance). A few months ago you already used that argument trying to defend the acceptance of someone who would not touch anyone of the opposite sex. Now I am asking you : what are the core elements of aikido whose modification would make a practise NOT aikido ?
I already answered this question hundreds of times, the last one in your last quote from me.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:59 AM   #131
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Re: To bow or not to bow

To bow is to humble oneself.

Please, being argumentative is not part of Aikido etiquette nor of true communication. The sixth Zen patriarch in China, Hui Neng (a direct lineage holder from the Buddha himself), said that in his school (Southern Chan) there is no argumentation.

This is not a lighthearted statement, it points to an understanding that recognizes the inherent subtle violence in the attitude and stance of arguments. Aikido is a non-violent Budo and as such we train to become sensitive to the subtle yet prevalent attitudes of fear, resistance, conflict, defensiveness in our selves. We must, in order to unravel the spiritual distinctions of O Sensei's message of unity and harmony come to understand and see our unquestioned assumptions that so often manifest as hardened attitudes and opinions showing in an argumentative stance; an unwillingness to listen and to be humble. Listen in order to hear the other and know and understand what he/she is saying. Pointing out faults many times does not lead to a fruitful dialogue. In Aikido, both parties has to give (a lot) and meet in a middle place. The teacher is never better than his best student for that very reason. Anything else is not true harmony or awase. Matching means to meet, not to impose, and we all can do with a little striving to meet on a higher ground, to raise our level of humility. Our teachers should be holding that out to us, an example of what is possible.
In Aikido we train to become sensitive with out bodies. How about becoming sensitive with our minds in communication with the aim to unify, harmonize and do Aiki?

Allah, or God, gave the Muslims the command to bow five times a day. This is a practice of humility. But instead of letting the practice serve its purpose (becoming humble) for certain individuals it becomes a thing to be proud of. So instead of functioning as a remedy to our vain pride, it enforces it. How far off the spiritual path have we then gone? Look at the meaning of the law and not to the letter.

If we want to serve God and Allah we first must understand the will of the most high.

I will ask my student to follow his own criteria when it comes to accepting the etiquette and tradition that he himself expects of people entering his faith. He will live by his own set of rules.

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Old 10-04-2010, 07:28 AM   #132
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Re: To bow or not to bow

"We have succumbed to mindless ritual, and seductive ceremony...." - Frank Herbert

man, i got to stop reading the Dune series.
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:53 AM   #133
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Re: To bow or not to bow

When law and duty are one, united by religion, you never become fully conscious, fully aware of yourself. You are always a little less than an individual.

Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is "Thou shalt not question!"

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man, i got to stop reading the Dune series.
Me too

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Old 10-04-2010, 09:53 AM   #134
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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I am not sure what you are saying --- that you are asking him to observe the etiquette in your dojo, or that you make it optional for him?
I will speak with him and point to this thread as food for thought.

He will not be able to bend his rules as they are part of his commitment to his faith but I am more interested in the meaning of the teachings of religions than the literal observance thereof. No doubt he gains much confidence from his faithfulness and will surely value his adherence to his faith over the dojo's standard of etiquette.

We will see how it unfolds. Very interesting. I have not decided yet what to do as I want him to be able to decide for himself. Bowing is what we do in Aikido, religious or not, humble or not.

So far I've told him to stop any individual bowing deeper than him and explain right there the reason why he can't bow deeper, so they equally share in the bow to the same level and at the same time understand why. Having explained himself the others can make up their own mind if they want to bow deeper or meet him at the same level.

to be continued...

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Old 10-04-2010, 11:12 AM   #135
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Hi folks,

Two things:

1) Just wanted to step in here and request that the discussion here in this thread to explicitly include the topic of aikido. If you'd like to discuss religion and spirituality in a context outside of aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

2) Please direct your response(s) towards the topic being discussed and not the person discussing the topic.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 10-04-2010, 11:21 AM   #136
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
1) Just wanted to step in here and request that the discussion here in this thread to explicitly include the topic of aikido. If you'd like to discuss religion and spirituality in a context outside of aikido, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.
Hi Jun.

Then let me ask again, to whoever want to produce an answer, what is the connection between the physical act of bowing a la Japanese and the core principals of Aikido, and why a simple nod won't cut it, when every Japanese national I know (Aikidoka or not) could not care less.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:30 AM   #137
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Re: To bow or not to bow

FWIW,
I distinctly remember the "shihan" (Is it possibly there is not that much weight on that title in Europe?) and O-Sensei student who, when reminded before the break that we needed to bow out, turned around, waved happily to the shomen and picture of O-Sensei, and said "bye bye".

I think he was making a point - he is not one of those who take spirituality in aikido lightly :-)

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 10-04-2010 at 11:31 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:39 AM   #138
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Alejandro, don't hijack the thread. Start a new one.

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Old 10-04-2010, 11:50 AM   #139
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Bye bye! Waiving goodbye is a very cheerful and lovely gesture and also a display of Japanese lightness in these matters. I love it. It points to a attitude of freedom in the face of rigid conformity to set rules. In japan they have to most intricate formal services and yet they remain not bound by them. This shows a healthy attitude towards dogma and tradition. But hey, do we see them abandoning their ceremonies all together? No they keep them and find great pride in observing them to the utmost precision.

It's a paradox but it holds deep understanding as well.

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Old 10-04-2010, 12:48 PM   #140
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Re: To bow or not to bow

For what's its worth, I separate my etiquette based upon its function. I will make [more] exception for points of etiquette which are non-functional in nature. I want my dojo to be a safe place in which to train so I am less tolerant of behavior which creates a hazard in the dojo. Bowing may be the action [about which we are talking], but the underlying problem is will this student respect his fellow students?

We are talking about bowing so I will keep using that example. Proper etiquette is a learning tool that helps us to act more appropriate; bowing is a mechanism that helps us to learn to respect our partners When I choose to except a student's alternative observation of etiquette, you can bet I will look more closely at how that student still includes the purpose of that action.

My personal feeling is that bowing is part of larger reigi that allows us to safely and responsibly train. However, bowing is one of the points of etiquette I may except because there are other opportunities for students to learn to respect each other. What I am intolerant of are students who request to exclude bowing from their training and they do not show respect towards their fellow students. It only takes one of these jerks to harm your training environment...

Oh, I get more strict with weapons training. Nothing like that jerk swinging a stick, too.
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:58 PM   #141
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
For what's its worth, I separate my etiquette based upon its function. I will make [more] exception for points of etiquette which are non-functional in nature. I want my dojo to be a safe place in which to train so I am less tolerant of behavior which creates a hazard in the dojo. Bowing may be the action [about which we are talking], but the underlying problem is will this student respect his fellow students?
I entirely agree with you, Jon. But there's nothing in the original post that would lead us to think this is the case.

Otherwise, good point.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:01 PM   #142
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Alejandro, don't hijack the thread. Start a new one.
Sorry, Bjorn, I'm not interesting in starting a new thread. Anyhow, if you're referring to this post of mine:

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Then let me ask again, to whoever want to produce an answer, what is the connection between the physical act of bowing a la Japanese and the core principals of Aikido, and why a simple nod won't cut it, when every Japanese national I know (Aikidoka or not) could not care less.
I believe it is in the spirit of the original thread. I don't see any hijacking occurring. Sorry to make you feel like that.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:53 PM   #143
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Re: To bow or not to bow

This seems a trvial matter to me. When I immerse myself into another spirtual tradition I don't bring with me a load of baggage; I comply with whatever etiquette there is. It doesn't matter what I believe, I leave that aside so that I can learn from whatever I'm doing. But there are certain lines I would not step over, such as sacrificing an animal, or inflicting pain on someone else, no matter what the tradition. If a custom does not hold such weight as that, it is just another chance to learn and view life from a different perspective. And yes, Aikdio IS about viewing life from a different perspective. Encouraging peoples of different faiths to do Aikido is wonderful, and I know Aikido philosophy has universal roots. But the dojo is not the place to mold as you see fit; its rules need to respected or the full power of its teachings will never be revealed. Who knows how many lessons are kept in the little things?
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:52 PM   #144
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Re: To bow or not to bow

No worries Alejandro, just a little tired of senseless arguing by many.
:-)

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Old 10-04-2010, 05:05 PM   #145
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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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?
Quote:
Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
Thank you,

Yes I've had several other Muslim students that do not find it a problem. He does understand the reasons for our etiquette and its tradition of respect but his faith only allow a full bow during formal prayers.
I had a Jewish student that could not bow to O Sensei's picture but had no problems to bow to my little Kamidana (the small wooden shrine on the wall), so I just moved O Sensei's picture a little to the side.

In Iwama O Sensei did not bow to his own picture or of that of another but he bowed to the Kamidana (Spirit altar). So I often say we bow in respect to the Spirit (or God if you prefer).

There are many differing understandings to what that refers to but I subscribe to a full spiritual understanding based on personal experience that is possible to convey to another of its significance and relatedness to normal human matters.

We bow and do not pray. We can pray in front of the kamidana but then we enter a new field of practice. Bowing is a practice in itself that I find worth doing regardless of beliefs.

I asked the man to explain his reasons to the students he bow to in order not to cause any undo confusion. It's a little strange if one person bows the whole way to the floor and the other only nods. I see Aikido to be a meeting point and as such we also meet in the bow to each other. With that in mind my students would honor his way and nod in a similar way to make a balanced greeting. But then his ways has overtaken the ways of the dojo and all alike would have to change their conduct his. And even then, maybe most of us liberal minded westerners wouldn't mind to comply without any concern; -Just let's us get on with training will you!

What to do?
The orginal question was about the depth of the bow?
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:17 PM   #146
niall
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Re: To bow or not to bow

I really recommend this very interesting BBC broadcast (available for 5 more days) about religious tolerance and intolerance in history using objects from the British Museum as starting points. It's objective and fascinating. One quote:

"Sunnis and Shias met in one mosque, and Christians and Jews met in one church..."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009zklv

Last edited by niall : 10-04-2010 at 09:28 PM.

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Old 10-05-2010, 04:20 AM   #147
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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David Board wrote: View Post
The orginal question was about the depth of the bow?
I actually wondered about this, just because of what I read on Bjorn sensei's homepage. Since he mentioned the "Japanese way" I presume it doesn't actually touch the floor, but in places like Myanmar you would fully touch your head to the ground, raising your posterior. In Japan, the shallow bow of respect in a shrine would be classed as a "yuu" 揖.

Carl

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Bjorn Saw wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:59 AM   #148
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Re: To bow or not to bow

Down to details :-)

Some, because of general stiffness, some due to a rather wide waist, some due to knee problems, raise their butt in the air. Some, to wipe the sweat off their forehead, some in order to rest, some because of utter submission, some for respect, and others not really knowing
how deep is deep enough, not knowing the national standard, will bow with the head touching the floor.

Saito Sensei said the Aikido bow is deeper than other Martial Arts as we don't look at the others eye when we bow to the ground.

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Old 10-05-2010, 06:52 AM   #149
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Saito Sensei said the Aikido bow is deeper than other Martial Arts as we don't look at the others eye when we bow to the ground.
Have you read Saito's Traditional Aikido, Vol 5 pp 26-28?

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Old 10-05-2010, 08:17 AM   #150
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Re: To bow or not to bow

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Have you read Saito's Traditional Aikido, Vol 5 pp 26-28?
Oh, got them in my bookcase. Better get them out to have a look.

Personally though, I offer my neck without fear.

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