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Magazine • the Silk Thread of Gorindo
 
Gorindo - Summer is here!<br />©2013 Photo by Claudio Iedwab


The Silk Thread of Gorindo - Ottawa - Canada

- What's Self-Defense - Part 1

- Why Do We Bow?

- Pearls of Gorindo...

Cover 'Hanging Out' - Photo by ©2013 Claudio Iedwab

 

 

Why Do We Bow?

 

Bow

 

First we bow to remind ourselves that we are entering a special place. A dojo, dojang or kwon, wherever it is, is a place to study martial arts, and if we want to be martial artists, we should think about it in a special way.

The second reason we bow is to let everyone know (including ourselves) that we are ready to train. We have left our everyday thoughts at the door, we have prepared our minds when we dressed our bodies for practice, and we feel calm and happy. We are looking forward to what we will learn today.

The third reason, which may be the most important one, is that the bow shows our respect to our teacher, our school and its history, and our fellow students. We are happy that they are present so that we can learn and practice martial arts. Never forget when you bow that you are a small part of a much bigger thing.

People have studied martial arts for many years throughout history and they bowed just like you. Different schools may have different ways of bowing. Their hands might be at their sides or joined in front. They may look to the floor or look directly at the person they are bowing to.

These differences have to do with the history and the culture of the school, but their meaning is the same. One way to recognize a good martial artist is the quiet, careful way he does his bow. You can always feel that he means it even if it looks a little different from yours.

If you meet your sensei or senior student outside the training area you may want to bow to her if it is customary in your school. When you bow, whether it is to the dojo, your teacher, your friend, or someone that you are meeting for the first time, you will want to do it because you are telling them something. It expresses something you want to convey. Instead of saying it with words you are communicating with your actions. Although as a martial artist you will be expected to bow at appropriate times, it shouldn’t be done just because you have to. Think about why you are bowing.

In the martial arts we are not trying to give a religious meaning to our bow. We are not trying to say “I am your servant, master,” which is a meaning that may have been true historically in some cultures. We want to show respect and understanding of our responsibilities, but we are not saying that someone is better than us; only that we are happy that they are there. Many animals bow to each other when they want to play.

When you bow to a sensei you bow to her experience with thanks that she is willing to teach us some of what she knows. Martial artists bow because they want to learn. They bow to those who have made it possible. Bowing is an international expression of greeting, beyond languages. A bow means that you will give of your best in return.

 

Excerpt from the “The Peaceful Way - A Children's Guide to the Traditions of the Martial Arts" published book by Claudio Iedwab & Roxanne Standefer available at askSensei.com >>

Photo by ©2013 Roxanne

 

 

- What's Self-Defense - Part 1

- Why Do We Bow?

- Pearls of Gorindo...

 

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