Bowing in the Dojo

Bowing is a frequent occurrence in most dojos. What is its purpose and when should it be done?

Bowing is an obvious form of dojo etiquette. When entering a dojo, the student does a standing bow to the practice space in acknowledgement of the spirit of those that came before us, to those who will come after us, to the spirit of the founder of the art, O'Sensei, and to give thanks for the art, the practice area and the opportunity to train in it. A bow is not a religious formality; it is a gesture of respect.

When stepping onto the mat, the student should offer a standing bow in the direction of the Shomen to show respect. At the beginning of class, and at the end, all students bow in unison while in seiza, at the command of the senior student.

During the class, when you begin or end work with any partner, it is important to bow to him or her, both as a sign of respect and an expression of thanks.

Remember, bowing is a form of showing respect not only for the dojo, but for those who you train with during class. The way you bow is a reflection of your respect and honor for the art and what it represents.

Shuyokan Sayings

"It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. --- Aesop"