""Bowing" are you serious? It is against my religion!!!" Many students, and parents have said that to an aikido or martial art instructor over the years. Bowing is not associated with any religion. It is a greeting gesture.
It shows respect.
It is rarely seen in our society however it is common for stage's actors to bow to the audience at the end of a play.
And in the past, gentlemen used to bow to greet women.
In Japan and in Korea, for example, bowing is still the custom when people greet each other.
Aikido or other martial arts from Japan follows the same etiquette protocols. And in our school, we also use the Japanese language for counting and for respectful expressions.
Shaking hands and bowing have the same meaning and we all must adapt to where we are, and we must be respectful to everyone present. I have found that if a student has very good manners, then he can travel and visit any dojo in the world.
Manners are part of Bushido.
What are the bowing manners in an Aikido dojo?
Those manners will vary from dojo to dojo, and it is up to the chief instructor and senior students to reinforce them.
We must follow the rules.
If you are visiting the Aikido headquarters, Hombu dojo in Japan, please watch students' manners and follow them. Observing people is part of Aikido and bushido.
Greetings are part of Bushido. No openings! We never want to offend anyone and we always want to show respect and create a peaceful atmosphere!
Common Aikido etiquette protocol:
1. Bow when entering the dojo.
2. After changing to a clean uniform, enter the training floor, bow to the kamiza where the pictures of Ueshiba Morihei and Ueshiba Kisshomaru are.
3. Then bow to all the other students that are on the mat.
4. After the teacher, Doshu, enters the room, we all bow together to the Kamiza and then to teacher.
There are protocol’s variations all over the world so again it is very important to observe if you are planning to visit a dojo and when you are there, please, ask or follow a senior student to receive the proper protocol.
Etiquette and manners are part of Bushido. Respect the training ground: the dojo!
Respect others will make you a better person! And respect yourself!