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  • Writer's pictureSensei Stacy Pursell Jr.

Shake or Rei

What does all this bowing mean in the dojo? I have been confronted by

this many times. Some Christians had issue because they considered it as

a sign of worshiping an idol others thought of it as a master/slave

relationship. A bow can mean many things but in the Dojo it means only

one, Respect.

There are many different ways to show respect as a greeting. The

handshake dates back to even before it could be written. This gesture

varies from different cultures but for the most part it is to show that I am

unarmed. The knights would extend their hands and grasp each others

forearms searching for hidden weapons. Back in the wild west most

shooters were right handed. Shaking hands (right hand) kept the hand

away from the gun as a sign of peace. Some cultures tip the hat. When a

gentleman lifts or tips his hat it is a greeting to show respect.

The bow is used in Japan. There are many meanings with bowing. The

Saikeirei bow is the highest most respectful standing bow. You would

bend at least 45 degrees from the hip. You would not use this on a

regular basis but only when you are extremely grateful or your

apologizing for something. The Eshaku is a bow we use in the dojo. You

would bend around 15 degrees from the hip. We say Osu as we bow to

show respect. (osu has many meanings. I will cover this in another blog)

Bowing is a form of Dojo Etiquette. Before entering and leaving the dojo

we are to bow in acknowledgement of those who trained before and after

us, and to give thanks to the art and place of training. It is not a religious

formality but a sign of respect. During class we bow to our partner. It is a

way of saying thank you. You could never bow to much.

Bowing is a Japanese custom for showing respect, and humility. It has

nothing to do with bowing down to a superior. Even the highest of Black

Belts bow to the lower Belts. Osu

Simple, Humble and Pure

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