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Bob Davies
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Christchurch, New Zealand
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Wu-Shin News Reishiki in practice

reiOur previous post on Dójó etiquette or Reishiki introduced the concept of dójó etiquette and why it is important. In this post we look at some specific examples of dójó etiquette in action.

 

Specific Reishiki...

(With thanks for D. Lowry's input).

Each art and each instructor in the art will establish a distinct code of behaviour for their students. The main thing to remember is to act at all times with full awareness of what you are doing and why. What follows is a discussion of several forms of Reishiki that are common to most dójó practising the Japanese arts.

...Bow at the dójó entrance

As you enter and leave the specific room or training area (often outdoors) you stop, bring your feet together (heels touching, toes separated at 30o) and bow toward the Embujó (central keiko area), or, in the case of Tenshindó a kneeling bow is executed in the entranceway with all your weaponry placed by your right hand side. This is often described as an acknowledgement to the dójó that you will concentrate fully and perform well and energetically, recognising it as a place where many have trained passionately for lengthy periods so as to acquire the skills that appeal to you. Many students make it a moment for a small meditation to oneself. You leave the busy, confused, and quarrelsome world outside and enter the wholly concentrated world of the dójó. This is the first step and is followed by a series of actions that remind you on a subconscious level that the outside world should be left outside.

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12 February 2013, 19:00
 

Wu-Shin News Dojo etiquette or Reishiki

reiRight off, let's make it clear that bowing and the other forms of etiquette in the authentic martial arts (bujutsu/bugei - e.g., Tenshindo), martial ways (budó - e.g., Wu-Shin Todejutsu; the civilian defense art as taught by our Foundation) neither portray subservience nor embrace any religious connotations. They indicate respect – which is something entirely different.

The forms of polite behaviour in the dójó have meaning beyond an acknowledgment of the Oriental root of our arts.

 

Origins of Reishiki in the West

The etiquette observed in authentic and nominal martial arts, ways, and some of the modern combative-sport derivatives in the West is, of course, derived from their Japanese and Chinese roots. The men and women who first introduced these arts/sports to the West also brought the methods of teaching that they were given by their oriental instructors, particularly following World War II. These methods included 'reishiki' (the Japanese formal culture of respectful interaction).

After a couple of generations in the West the bowing and scraping may now seem a bit artificial. This is only natural since we express our politeness in ways other than the bow. We shake hands, and call people "sir". We open doors for people. We have dozens of ways to express politeness and respect that we think of about as often as Japanese would think of bowing (even to the telephone) - not often.

Perhaps we should examine in further detail just what it is that we are doing when we bow in such a perfunctory way, and how we can use these transplanted rituals to our advantage.

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10 February 2013, 23:56
 

Wu-Shin News Kindly remove your shoes

The sign (kindly provided by a student) outside our Hombu dojo used to read: Leave your ego, with your shoes, at the door.

Catching newbies and visitors before they walked, dusty shoes and all, onto the dojo floor required a careful balancing act of maintaining the right dojo etiquette while trying not to scare newcomers off with a regime of barked orders as their smile in greeting faded to a look of this is all too much, already!

There are of course a number of reasons why you are requested to remove your shoes before entering the dojo. Principal among these is the simple desire to keep the floor clean. Imagine trying to do pushups when you're too scared to breathe for inhaling road grime traipsed in by the unsuspecting... practicing your grappling on a wet and muddy floor... or trying to retain your calm T'ai Chi composure as the person next to you picks up a sole covered in dirt and transposes said dirt to their rear, creating a blurred imprint on their butt, during play guitar.

1
27 January 2013, 02:34