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Old 03-18-2007, 02:36 PM   #76
billybob
 
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Carlos,

Thanks for that excellent contribution. Helps me a lot.

david
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Old 03-24-2007, 04:05 PM   #77
JLRonin
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

I'm with you Mr. McConnell. And share your faith. Thank you for your post.
O'Sensei said that Aikido is for everyone. It doesn't mean that you have to immerse yourself in the religious aspects, adhere to rituals or impositions of an org, dojo, etc.
I'll stick to my own kind, personally for my own PEACE of MIND. To EACH his own.
God Bless you ALL.
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:27 PM   #78
Khalid Williams
Dojo: FRS Aikido, Sale, Morocco
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Part of respecting other people's cultures is respecting their right to opt out of certain rituals; it works both ways. I can't really imagine that someone who has chosen to practice the 'Art of Peace' could be offended by someone else choosing to prioritise their religious beliefs above certain aspects of their martial training. Declining to bow out of deference to a religious belief is not disrespectful to Aikido or its founder; it is simply being respectful to one's own religion, which is perfectly consistent with Aikido's philosophy - it does not require from anyone that give up their religion and become a Shintoist or anything else.

Here in Morocco, everyone I train with is Muslim except our Sensei who is Japanese. We do not perform the full seated bow (which brings the forehead almost to the ground) because this is part of our prayer, which we reserve for God. Instead, we perform a kind of 'half-bow', leaning forward on our hands slightly. When standing, we bow to our partners in the normal way (Islamic bowing is much deeper, with the back at a right angle with the legs, so there's no issue). Our Sensei, being Japanese, bows (when sitting) in the usual Japanese way, and has no problem with our bows being different from his. This is a reflection of the tolerant culture from which he comes. It is not intolerance which prevents us from bowing exactly as he does, but rather religious conviction. Intolerance would be for us to prevent him from following his own religion and customs. It is not intolerant to make a personal choice; rather intolerance is preventing someone else from doing so.

Our Sensei, when greeting us off the mat, shakes our hands and says 'salam aleikum'. Nobody asked him to do it; he is simply trying to join in with the traditions of the country in which he is living. It cannot be said: 'if he joins in with your traditions, why do you not join in with his?', because shaking hands and saying the salam is not an intrinsic part of Shintoism, to be offered only as a religious act of worship, never to a human being. It is not a part of Japanese culture at all, one way or another. As for the full bow, it crosses over into both cultures, Japanese and Islamic, and therefore has deep meaning in both. Representatives of each of these cultures should be allowed to act in accordance with this without being accused of being disrespectful.

To attempt to make further analogy, and suggest that 'if bowing is left, surely the dojo, the gi, the hakama, the terminology etc must be left too', is illogical. Why? Because these other elements are purely Japanese, there is no shared culture which could lead to problems of this nature. The bow is not particular to Japan; it has Judeo-Christian-Islamic connotations and significance, and therefore there must be allowances made for people of those traditions to adhere to their cultures' interpretation of it. This is not disrespectful; rather, the opposite. It shows respect for the culture one has chosen to explore without compromising one's own deeply-held beliefs. This is a basic human right which I do not believe O-Sensei, or any other man of intellect, would expect anyone to forfeit.
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:03 PM   #79
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Quote:
Khalid Williams wrote: View Post
To attempt to make further analogy, and suggest that 'if bowing is left, surely the dojo, the gi, the hakama, the terminology etc must be left too', is illogical. Why? Because these other elements are purely Japanese, there is no shared culture which could lead to problems of this nature. The bow is not particular to Japan; it has Judeo-Christian-Islamic connotations and significance, and therefore there must be allowances made for people of those traditions to adhere to their cultures' interpretation of it.
Let me put it this way. A keiko-gi is, in the end, a training suit. Functionally, it's not different from a sweatsuit. All other cultures have such suits, of various fabrics and weaves, but of the same function. Hakama are simply pants, which we have in western cultures as well. The terminology are simply words. Very simple, very pragmatic descriptions of the technique. To a Japanese person, "Shomenuchi irimi-nage" simply means "Frontal strike entering throw".

Likewise, the bowing is Japanese as well. A keiko-gi and hakama is a choice. One chooses to wear Japanese style clothing instead of other cultural clothing that would suffice just as well. The terminology is a choice. One chooses to say the words in Japanese rather than perfectly acceptable translations that would actually impart the meaning even clearer than the Japanese does. And likewise the bowing is choice. One chooses to bow in the Japanese manner (like using Japanese clothing and Japanese words), or one chooses to bow in one's own cultural manner.

At heart, I imagine this is a fundamental difference of conception. In my opinion, the physical act is essentially empty. One does the same movements in order to look under a couch. What makes the bow meaningful in any way is what mental and spiritual intention the bower puts into it. If you're thinking about the electric bill when you bow, it's not a proper bow to God, even if you do it in a church, synagogue or mosque. Mental and spiritual intention make a bow to God different from looking under the couch, different from tripping and falling prostrate on one's knees, different from a back stretch, and different from a bow in the dojo of a Japanese art, wearing Japanese clothes, and using Japanese words.

In both western culture and Japanese culture there is a gesture wherein a person, holds their hand out to another person, palm down, fingers slightly curled, and then repeatedly moved back and forth. In American and English culture, this means, "Shoo, go away." In Japanese culture it means "Come here." When and where does it mean which? Whichever context it's done in.

In both western culture and Japanese culture, there is a gesture where a person waves their hand back and forth in front of their nose. In America, this means "Yuck, something stinks." In Japan, it means "No." When and where does it mean which? Context.

In both western and Japanese culture, there is a gesture where a person spreads their fingers out, and then makes a circle with the forefinger and the thumb. In America this means "OK". In South America, it's a vulgar insult. In Japan, it represents money. When and where does it mean which? Context.

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 01-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #80
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Bump!

No human who is master of oneself, needs any worship.. To bow, for me, is to show my respect and gratefulness for the teachings. It's sort of a way to direct my positive intent to one i'm bowing to. Be it Osensei or some of my sempais or a fellow beginner or friend, it's respect and thanks without words. =) I like the tradition of bowing to people, western people should adopt this to their daily lives i think. It seems that people get the idea when bowing in every situation, no words neede. Humble bow speaks same language everywhere.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #81
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Very old thread, Lari. If you read it all (which is worth doing when commenting on an old thread), you'll see that there is a diversity of opinion here, and that (as with just about anything else) no matter how sensible our own view of an action's significance may seem to us, there will always be other people who (with equal conviction) see it otherwise.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:32 PM   #82
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

So what? Can't i bumb an old thread by saying what i think? =) I bet there's people here who have not read this yet... And ofcourse there's always people who see things differently, that's what makes life interesting.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:35 PM   #83
lbb
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

You said, "western people should adopt this to their daily lives i think". I think the comments already posted in this thread give some insight into why some people aren't about to do this.
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:49 PM   #84
Lari Hammarberg
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

You're probably right. Well, it's just my opinion once again. I'm not trying to force any ideas to anybody...
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:26 PM   #85
SteveTrinkle
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

I sort of like this wording/definition of 'worship' by Evelyn Underhill:

"The adoring acknowledgment of all that lies beyond us—the glory that fills heaven and earth. It is the response that conscious beings make to their Creator, to the Eternal Reality from which they came forth; to God, however they may think of Him or recognize Him, and whether He be realized through religion, through nature, through history, through science, art, or human life and character."

Last edited by SteveTrinkle : 01-17-2011 at 12:28 PM. Reason: forgot...

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Old 01-19-2011, 07:26 AM   #86
TreyPrice
 
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Bowing is bowing - worship is in the heart. It's like thinking to your self about something verses saying a prayer - they are two very different things.

Peace be with you-
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:41 AM   #87
Dazzler
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Quote:
Lari Hammarberg wrote: View Post
So what? Can't i bumb an old thread by saying what i think? =) I bet there's people here who have not read this yet... And ofcourse there's always people who see things differently, that's what makes life interesting.
Since theres another thread discussing "Kamiza" then its quite topical to 'bump' this one.
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:12 AM   #88
OwlMatt
 
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Re: When you bow do you worship or just...

Rather than trying to respond to four pages of an old thread, I'll just reply to the original topic.

Personally, I bow to O Sensei to show him respect and give him thanks, in the same way that I bow to my sensei. It is not an act of worship. As a religious person, I reserve my worship and veneration for the divine. O Sensei, great man that he was, was only human.
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