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Old 02-02-2005, 02:44 PM   #1
Drew Herron
 
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Bowing...

Hey everyone,
I'm sure the subject of bowing has been pretty well covered in these forums, so I'll keep my question specific. If I go to practice alone on a mat in a gym somewhere, should I still bow when stepping onto the mat, even if it's not a dojo and the mat has possibly never been used for Aikido?
-Drew
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:10 PM   #2
DaveO
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Re: Bowing...

Totally up to you.
Err...who would you be bowing at?

BTW - Welcome to Aikiweb!

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Old 02-02-2005, 04:05 PM   #3
Bronson
 
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Re: Bowing...

I have...it's just kinda automatic now

I've also bowed when leaving rooms, handing something to someone, or when saying thank you, all outside of the dojo. Gets me some funny looks sometimes

I also find myself walking around those fold up exercise mats if I have my shoes on. I don't even think about it...it just happens.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 02-02-2005, 04:06 PM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Bowing...

IMHO, its a good habit to get into. I always bow, alone or not.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-02-2005, 05:43 PM   #5
maikerus
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Re: Bowing...

Bow. No question.

In addition to being a good habit to get into, it sets the tone for your training if you do it every time whether you are by yourself or not. It *is* part of your training.

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 02-02-2005, 08:09 PM   #6
Bronson
 
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Re: Bowing...

What's that old saying? Something like "a man's character is judged by what he does when he thinks no one is watching".

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 02-02-2005, 10:08 PM   #7
Huker
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Re: Bowing...

Michael and Bronson have put it best. It is good to think of it as part of your training, but it is also good to think of it as a way of respecting your sensei. Even though he or she is not around and has nothing to do with your non-dojo place of practice, they did teach you the things you're about to practice. Plus, to onlookers it shows devotion and discipline. The respect you show for your art will be reflected to others.
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Old 02-03-2005, 04:01 AM   #8
Tim Gerrard
 
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Re: Bowing...

If you want to have a focal point, then place your weapons where the kamiza would normally be, then you have something to bow towards, and plus it's a handy place to keep them.

Aikido doesn't work? My Aikido works, what on earth are you practicing?!
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Old 02-03-2005, 04:19 AM   #9
happysod
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
What's that old saying? Something like "a man's character is judged by what he does when he thinks no one is watching
guilty of being a flawed character, thanks Bronson... With DaveO on this, if it makes you feel better in yourself, do it, just accept you're likely to be looked as a total weirdo by others not steeped in the honorifics of the East.

I have to say, I do find the extreme nature of the "YES!!" posters rather amusing and wonder about how far you take Japanese etiquette into your normal life (tea ceremony McBurger style, the mind boggles)
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Old 02-03-2005, 04:56 AM   #10
batemanb
 
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Re: Bowing...

Aikido begins and ends with respect (rei).


rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:55 AM   #11
Charlie
 
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
I have to say, I do find the extreme nature of the "YES!!" posters rather amusing and wonder about how far you take Japanese etiquette into your normal life (tea ceremony McBurger style, the mind boggles)
What is wrong with infusing parts of another's culture into your own if it enriches YOU? That being said. IMO part of being disciplined is being able to distinguish when to do certain things and when not too.

So for me the question becomes, when I am training at my dojo, I bow. I bow to pay respect to my predecessors as well as the physical area of learning/growing - the dojo. If I am training somewhere else...that is my dojo at the time. Scenery changes but not the level of respect.

Charles Burmeister
Aikido Yoshinkan Yoseikai

"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 02-03-2005, 06:45 AM   #12
happysod
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Re: Bowing...

Charles, my amusement is at others suggesting there is a right and wrong way to approach personal practice and basing this on dojo etiquette which is implied should be adhered to at all times - NOT (aren't capitals fun) whether you are "enriched" by your personal preferences.

On the more general subject of manners - which is what is really being alluded to - I prefer to think of things in terms of what's appropriate to the situation, rather than have a hard and fast rule.

As for the rather coy admonishment made earlier with regards to respect, I'd prefer someone to have manners and commitment rather than be well mannered - but to each their own
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Old 02-03-2005, 07:28 AM   #13
Charlie
 
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Re: Bowing...

I think in actuality we are partly saying the same thing Ian.

If I was using space in a crowded gym that had nothing to do with aikido I may use my discretion and not OUTWARDLY bow (Yes! Capitols=fun). But the bow would be done!

What I was trying to convey -for me- is that that bow symbolizes something more than just good manners. For some it may mean nothing and they do it only for the sake of protocol. Either way it entails a certain amount of commitment when you do it for what ever reason.

Charles Burmeister
Aikido Yoshinkan Yoseikai

"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 02-03-2005, 09:25 AM   #14
Bronson
 
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Re: Bowing...

To each his own. I know that for ME (yeah capitals) my practice doesn't feel right if I don't....so I do. It's a wierd analogy but it's a little like when you forget to brush your teeth in the morning...all day long there's a little part of your brain telling you you've forgetten to do something that you should have done

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:31 PM   #15
maikerus
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Re: Bowing...

In my training it has been emphasized that the bow is part of training.

As is sitting in seiza before class, sitting in seiza while the instructor explains a technique, bowing when I walk into the dojo, paying attention when something is being taught, not moving in seiza, saying "osu" when I meet a fellow student or an instructor, rushing to open a door for an instructor, rushing to make sure that the instructor's shoes are ready for them and a shoehorn ready to be offered, folding an instructor's hakama, carrying the instructors's dogi bag, making sure your belt is tied before walking out of the changeroom, keeping the dojo clean, being aware/alert to whatever signals the instructor is giving (as uke, or if they want a kleenex, or if they want their beer filled - or even not to be filled - or whatever)...the list goes on.

Aikido is not just about the techniques we practice. In fact, I would say that the practice of techniques is the smallest part of what Aikido is. Practicing techniques is merely one way to catch a glimpse of what Aikido is all about.

I would also suggest that we don't bow as part of our training because it is Japanese etiquette, but because it is Aikido etiquette. If you can fluff off something so basic in your training perhaps you aren't training hard enough.

Of course, these comments are based on my experience, so if your training differs then you will have a different outlook...and that outlook may include the idea that bowing isn't important. I recognize that...but I can't help but feel that you are missing out.

--Michael

Last edited by maikerus : 02-03-2005 at 05:35 PM.

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 02-04-2005, 01:16 AM   #16
batemanb
 
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Re: Bowing...

nicely put Michael.

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-04-2005, 01:58 AM   #17
Bronson
 
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
guilty of being a flawed character...
Aren't we all?

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 02-04-2005, 02:27 AM   #18
happysod
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
If I go to practice alone on a mat in a gym somewhere, should I still bow when stepping onto the mat, even if it's not a dojo and the mat has possibly never been used for Aikido?
Michael, you may want to read the initial post - the query was regarding your own practice not in the dojo, at no point was bowing in the dojo mentioned as good/bad.

As for my missing out... going off your rather exhaustive list of things you're willing to do, I'm pleased for you and I'm sure your instructors are happy for your input - but I'm much more pleased to miss out on the wonderful experiences you describe and assure you that I hope to continue missing out. Dojo discipline is both for safety and to practice aikido in a committed and pleasant manner, the rest in my opinion is window dressing and happily holds no interest to me.

Bronson - this from a man who flirts with shodothuggery??!
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Old 02-04-2005, 02:56 AM   #19
maikerus
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Michael, you may want to read the initial post - the query was regarding your own practice not in the dojo, at no point was bowing in the dojo mentioned as good/bad.

...

Dojo discipline is both for safety and to practice aikido in a committed and pleasant manner, the rest in my opinion is window dressing and happily holds no interest to me
Hi Ian,

Just for the record. I *was* refering to "my own practice" while not in the dojo. IMHO, training is training and should be viewed as such.

As for the window dressing comment. I find it surprising that you can form that opinion without having partaken in any of the "wonderful experiences" that I described.

You don't have to take my word for it, but please consider asking someone else who has trained in an environment as I describe and get their views. Some might say that this kind of training is essential to the development of understanding Aikido.

Just a thought...

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 02-04-2005, 03:55 AM   #20
happysod
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Re: Bowing...

Michael, this could really spawn another thread as I view what you're describing as not only unnecessary, but can be detrimental to a students development, too open to abuse and the basis of many complaints against TMA in general. I think we'll have to leave it as a "agree to disagree" as I cannot forsee any common ground on this issue, only a potential focus for argument.
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Old 02-04-2005, 04:12 AM   #21
bogglefreak20
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
I have...it's just kinda automatic now

I've also bowed when leaving rooms, handing something to someone, or when saying thank you, all outside of the dojo. Gets me some funny looks sometimes
I can certainly relate to that.

And as the Chinese say: "If you bow at all, bow lowly."

Beatus Qui Venit In Nomine Domini!
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Old 02-04-2005, 07:21 AM   #22
darin
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Drew Herron wrote:
Hey everyone,
I'm sure the subject of bowing has been pretty well covered in these forums, so I'll keep my question specific. If I go to practice alone on a mat in a gym somewhere, should I still bow when stepping onto the mat, even if it's not a dojo and the mat has possibly never been used for Aikido?
-Drew
I wouldn't. Just a thought, would you bow to your sensei if you met him in the showers? Would be like dropping the soap...
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:43 AM   #23
darin
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
In my training it has been emphasized that the bow is part of training.

As is sitting in seiza before class, sitting in seiza while the instructor explains a technique, bowing when I walk into the dojo, paying attention when something is being taught, not moving in seiza, saying "osu" when I meet a fellow student or an instructor, rushing to open a door for an instructor, rushing to make sure that the instructor's shoes are ready for them and a shoehorn ready to be offered, folding an instructor's hakama, carrying the instructors's dogi bag, making sure your belt is tied before walking out of the changeroom, keeping the dojo clean, being aware/alert to whatever signals the instructor is giving (as uke, or if they want a kleenex, or if they want their beer filled - or even not to be filled - or whatever)...the list goes on.

Aikido is not just about the techniques we practice. In fact, I would say that the practice of techniques is the smallest part of what Aikido is. Practicing techniques is merely one way to catch a glimpse of what Aikido is all about.

I would also suggest that we don't bow as part of our training because it is Japanese etiquette, but because it is Aikido etiquette. If you can fluff off something so basic in your training perhaps you aren't training hard enough.

Of course, these comments are based on my experience, so if your training differs then you will have a different outlook...and that outlook may include the idea that bowing isn't important. I recognize that...but I can't help but feel that you are missing out.

--Michael
Sounds like you have been training to be a personal assistant, maid or house keeper... 変な外人
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Old 02-04-2005, 01:16 PM   #24
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Bowing...

Gozo Shioda thought the kind of training Michael descibes was crucial...he speaks about it in his autobiography, at some length. These types of tasks are also typically seen in uchideshi environments, something which is legitimately rather rare today.

I think there are two sides to this coin. On the one hand, this type of training can seem outdated, capricious, and open to abuse. On the other hand, people who have gone through it in various environments often proclaim its usefullness. Personally, I think it would be hazardous to dismiss it out of hand. Since almost every major student of Ueshiba went through something similar...and most did indeed seem to find some value in it. I would be extremely carefull about the environment where I subjected myself to this kind of training...I think that only wise. But to dismiss it out of hand? Without understanding the framework in which it exists? Seems kind of foolish...

Ron (but hey, whatever floats your particular boat is fine with me)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-04-2005, 07:56 PM   #25
xuzen
 
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Re: Bowing...

Quote:
Miha Sinkovec wrote:
I can certainly relate to that.

And as the Chinese say: "If you bow at all, bow lowly."
Hi Miha,

I am Chinese, and I don't bow (in normal everyday activities anyway) and I have not heard of the above saying, maybe it is Japanese. The Chinese civilisation did bow/kowtow but then such practice became arcane since circa 1920; eversince China underwent a huge change in management (i.e. overthrowing of the Imperial Ching dynasty and founding of the Republic of China).

Just a piece of cultural policing.

Boon.

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