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    Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

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    Smitty2A35

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    Join date : 2013-01-02
    Location : Wyoming, USA

    Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Smitty2A35 on Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:36 am

    I'm sure this has been discussed; but I could not find any threads regarding this using the search function.

    I was caught off guard last night just prior to my kids' class. I had a parent come to me and advise that "I understand bowing is a sign of respect, and I have no problem with them bowing to you, to other students, and before stepping on/off the mat. But when I saw you make them bow at 'that picture on the wall' on Tuesday it made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable. I really feel that it is not appropriate for my children to do that."

    Discussion was then had regarding why we bow to shomen, who "that guy" on the wall is, the fact that it is NOT idolatry, etc. She was also told her kids may end up feeling uncomfortable because they would be the only two NOT participating. It was explained that even if I allowed an exception during my class, her children would be expected to abide by normal rules of etiquette at any tournaments or visits to other dojo.

    Short version of events is this: I ended up telling her that if she felt that strongly about this, I would not "force her children" to do something in class that she felt conflicted with her family's religious belief's. Two reasons: 1) I don't want to punish the kids for their mother's ignorance/unwillingness to learn. The kids are always pumped to be in class and are good students. 2) Her husband is the program director at the y. m. Capital C. a. that I run my program out of...I haven't ever had any issues before, and the Y has been good for our program. I didn't see many positives coming out of pursuing that argument any further.

    Not sure if this was the right way to go with it, but that is what I did. Anyone else run into this? How did you handle it?

    Stacey

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Stacey on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:10 am

    The picture of Kano is just a picture of a person, and bowing is the respect we show him for creating judo.

    The US flag is just a symbol of the US - a political and geographic entity. They probably don't have a problem with their kids holding a hand over their heart during the Star Spangled Banner.

    They are choosing to make a religion out of a picture. Their kids are paying for it. So are you, so's your class.

    I think you handled it well in terms of taking extra time away from class to explain things to them, and I understand the pressure that a highly christian community can put on you, especially as you use the related resources. In the end, you have to make your own decisions. I'm personally opposed to making a religion out of judo and to interpreting bowing to the picture as a religious practice. Glad you pointed out that they'd be expected to follow the process in every other situation other than your classes.

    afulldeck

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by afulldeck on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:17 am

    I have not run into this exact problem, but I have been asked why we bow at that "picture on the wall". My explanation is that the bowing is an outward manifestation of saying 'thank you with gratitude' for the founding of Judo. Its a communal thank you. And it is similar to the North American custom of when we bow or curtsy to thank an audience who just watched our performance. Our mats are another type of stage.

    If they say, but heck it just a picture of a dead man and not an real audience. I will ask them if they have ever read a book which they truly treasured and did they tell another individual how thankful they are for reading it? Its outward praise of a similar notion. Aren't all books in a sense just a picture of a dead guy on the wall. How is that outward voiced thankful praise different that the thankful introverted bow?


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    BillC

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by BillC on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:45 am

    I wonder how many non-American readers understand what you meant by "capital-C" and the challenges that present to a teacher, especially in a very Red State. Sorry, but I think you know well you are not going to win that particular fight any more than you are going to win any number of other goofy-ass arguments in a blue State. For what it is worth, I think you are taking the right approach. This could be the type of person that goes on crusades, the kind that is always looking for something to be against on behalf of her children. Goodness knows school teachers these days have to put up with that "you are picking on my kids" crap all the time.

    And judo is foreign. And therefore scary. And we have to look for reasons to be suspicious. Because if it is not C then it must be against C ... and you know where that lands you.

    Our club has the luxury of its own building, the passive support of a Japanese Cultural Center. So while that arrangement is far from pain free, we don't suffer from this particular problem. People are free to take their kid elsewhere. Plus we are SoCal laid back and not much on ritual or orthodoxy.

    I think you have decided that as long as she doesn't want to turn the rest of the parent group against you, make some kind of campaign out of it, you'll let her kids quietly opt out. After all, you are presumably facing the other way. Over time you may find that if you are lucky she will give you the opportunity to differentiate judo, and judo reigi, from the BS some people in other martial arts cook up.

    Heck, suggest her kids bow and quietly say "domo arigatou Jesus."





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    BillC

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by BillC on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:58 am

    Separate comments here in a separate post .... a couple of questions.

    Our dojo has an American flag front and center, the deceased Kan-shihan and deceased founder of our dojo are to the left and right of that. It happens to cover an old butsudan from the days the building served as a schoolroom and a temple, but only a couple of us know that. If there are accusations of idolatry from that particular large minority in our country, they do tend to ignore the religious sentiments aimed at the Red, White and Blue. I guess I really just don't understand why people feel the need for a picture in the first place ... especially when there is so much confusion about its purpose ... and we must admit that the photo does take on near-religious or religious aspects for some people.

    Second ... I wonder what goes on in the BJJ world where people commonly bow to pictures of people who are still living, people who are making a living off the students doing the bowing. Now THAT creeps even me out!


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    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    afulldeck

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by afulldeck on Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:25 am

    BillC wrote:Second ... I wonder what goes on in the BJJ world where people commonly bow to pictures of people who are still living, people who are making a living off the students doing the bowing.  Now THAT creeps even me out!


    Nightmare Sorority Hazing?


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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:01 am

    Idolatry is in the heart of the idolatrer-er is what I say. If the kids are not worshiping the photo or the man in their hearts, then there is no idolatry happening, whatever physical motions they are making.



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    Smitty2A35

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Smitty2A35 on Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:38 am

    Thanks for the comments and thoughts... One of those things where I don't know if there is a "right way" to handle it.

    People can put a pseudo religious spin on reigi; I admit that. It is different and doesn't look like a fist bump or our western handshake. Questions were asked, answers were given. Acceptance of the answers is something I have no control over.

    As mentioned in some of the above posts, I have no delusions of winning that particular argument. Nor do I really have any desire to take it further with her; especially given the position my club is in. We have a good thing going now, with the exception of this one incident, and a promise of good things to come (including a permanent large space to be converted to a judo dojo) when new facilities are built next year.


    Stacey

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Stacey on Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:46 am

    understand where you're coming from, and respect it. Still doesn't feel very good though, does it

    DougNZ

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by DougNZ on Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:10 am

    It is positive that she is okay for her kids to bow to sensei.  Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.

    Richard Riehle

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Richard Riehle on Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:07 pm

    DougNZ wrote:It is positive that she is okay for her kids to bow to sensei.  Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.

    It is not unusual for us, at our dojo, to have students from religious traditions that will not bow even to each other, let alone a picture on the wall. We tell them they may simply stand silent while the rest of the group are bowing. I would rather have them involved in Judo than not. As long as they are respectful of each other and their partners, that is enough. Of course, this means they will never be comfortable with tournament, but most of them are in their thirties anyway, so we do not expect that of them.

    Raj Venugopal

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:30 am

    DougNZ wrote: Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.


    This is, hands down, one of the best things I have read on this forum. Or any forum for that matter. Well written.


    DougNZ

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by DougNZ on Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:52 am

    Raj Venugopal wrote:
    DougNZ wrote: Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.


    This is, hands down, one of the best things I have read on this forum. Or any forum for that matter. Well written.


    Thank you. These thoughts, however, are those of far wiser people than me, simply expressed in my words. Understanding that 'flow' is essential in a ryu and having it pointed out that a sensei is a conduit for information from past sensei to sensei of the future is very humbling and grounding. For me, it redefined my role as a teacher in one stroke.

    Raj Venugopal

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:59 am

    I help teach our club's kids class. Next time I bow in the class I will (if I remember to write it down) read this line to them and explain the idea. Thanks!

    Hanon

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Hanon on Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:50 am

    Richard Riehle wrote:
    DougNZ wrote:It is positive that she is okay for her kids to bow to sensei.  Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.

    It is not unusual for us, at our dojo, to have students from religious traditions that will not bow even to each other, let alone a picture on the wall.   We tell them they may simply stand silent while the rest of the group are bowing.  I would rather have them involved in Judo than not.  As long as they are respectful of each other and their partners, that is enough.   Of course, this means they will never be comfortable with tournament, but most of them are in their thirties anyway, so we do not expect that of them.

    Sensei Riehle the point is they are NOT involved in judo as reigi are judo. Once we make an exception judo becomes segmented the very thing that Kano tried all his life to avoid. There is no religion in a dojo to that end a rei is NOTHING to do with a religion but a sign of respect. IF pupils dot show or refuse to show respect they disqualify themselves from judo.
    More importantly, if you allow a student NOT to rei you are acknowledging yourself the rei is more than it is.

    I have a very healthy dislike for cults and those who follow them. The psychology of those who lead cults and those who are members are simply disaster areas for all concerned. If a handshake is seen as a religious action then I would not shake hands.

    The main point of kodokan judo is health and fitness of mind and body under once practice for us all. No colour, race, religion, gender is a must to ensure the goal of judo that being world peace. If there is one rule in judo it is there is no doctrine, we are all one and the same as soon as we step in that dojo. It has to be this way, soon as you open one door to exceptions you must accommodate all other factions and judo becomes a sport or hobby.

    If a person WRONGLY and judo ignorantly identifies the rei as a religious bow then one, they are wrong and two they are free if after an explanation has been given, to choose another activity. Mutual welfare and benefit, the wording speaks for itself.

    Mike


    Last edited by Hanon on Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:21 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : addition)


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    WARNING. I write as a pupil of judo. what I write should be researched by the reader and not accepted as in any way factual or correct.

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge" S Hawking.

    Hanon

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Hanon on Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:59 am

    DougNZ wrote:It is positive that she is okay for her kids to bow to sensei.  Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.

    It is even less complex than that. The rei to showmen is a simple and uncomplicated 'thank you'. Thank you for giving us the activity we are about to enjoy.

    We are taught to respect our parents, why? Because it is they who gave us life, it is they who bought us into this world. Its just one word really. Respect.

    If respect cannot be taught and enforced then judo is a danger to all who practice it. Accidents can so often be caused by a lack of self respect OR respect for a partner.

    Judo must remain neutral for it to be used as a vehicle to spread world peace. Judo should be about building bridges and making friends destroying divisions and differences making all who practice judo one group. One of the main reasons the white gi is important. It just makes us all look the same and from their we can build.

    Mike


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    Steve Leadbeater

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:10 am

    I have told many people in the past that there is absolutely no religious significance with the bowing that is done in my Dojo.

    Those spoken to are often very vocal and argumentative over this matter, and quite often openly state that they will "under no circumstances" bow to Kano, me or anyone else in the Dojo.

    My reply is usually along the lines of..."of course you won't bow to anyone in here, because this is MY Dojo, it is run MY way, and if you want to argue before you even join this Dojo, you are not welcome"

    Simply put......

    FOLLOW THE RULES OR GO ELSEWHERE !!


    Not exactly correct Regei for an Instructor towards a potential Student, but if I am getting "attitude" during a conversation about classes, then I will have trouble at a later time, therefore, I stop it before it begins, thus losing a potential Student, but maintaining Dojo Harmony.

    Input from Senior Sensei would be appreciated on my behaviour.......

    Mike Sensei ??
    Richard Sensei ??
    C.K. Sensei ??

    Hanon

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Hanon on Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:25 am

    Steve Leadbeater wrote:I have told many people in the past that there is absolutely no religious significance with the bowing that is done in my Dojo.

    Those spoken to are often very vocal and argumentative over this matter, and quite often openly state that they will "under no circumstances" bow to Kano, me or anyone else in the Dojo.

    My reply is usually along the lines of..."of course you won't bow to anyone in here, because this is MY Dojo, it is run MY way, and if you want to argue before you even join this Dojo, you are not welcome"

    Simply put......

    FOLLOW THE RULES OR GO ELSEWHERE !!


    Not exactly correct Regei for an Instructor towards a potential Student, but if I am getting "attitude" during a conversation about classes, then I will have trouble at a later time, therefore, I stop it before it begins, thus losing a potential Student, but maintaining Dojo Harmony.

    Input from Senior Sensei would be appreciated on my behaviour.......

    Mike Sensei ??
    Richard Sensei ??
    C.K. Sensei ??

    Who carries the can in your dojo if a person takes litigation against you for failure to supervise your class correctly? If it is you then YOU MUST enforce your rules. Make no bones about it should the awful day ever arrive when you ended up in court under some charge of negligence you would not find the argumentative parents or pupils in the same state ULESS they are the buggers suing you!

    For good bad or indifferent YOU carry the burden in law for the responsibility of what happens in your dojo! If you cannot accept that responsibility, get out. If you do, make your rules and yourself known.

    If we cannot educate a potential member that the rei is what it is NOT what THE judo uneducated make of it, what hope is there of teaching them judo and higher principles?

    If religion is rammed down your throat and despite calm explanation on your part then your actions are absolutely correct.

    Are we going to segregate white from black? Women from men? Catholic from protestant? East from West? North from South? Where does this end? NO NO NO. Don't open the door for people to stick their toe in. Reigi IS kodokan judo. Kodokan judo is totally and absolutely free from such outside pressures and groups.

    Steve, you must always think for the good of the group and YOURSELF. How many pupils do you have who would think twice about visiting you in prison because you lost control over your class, an accident occurred, a person was hurt and you ended up being found guilty of negligence? Particularly if the injured was a child? NO ONE would come near you............ You read the forum you see the venom among some judoka? It is unparalleled in my experience of groups. There is always a balance in life. For every good solid judoka there is one the opposite. it is generally the more unpleasant ones who get the most attention.

    I personally thank you for dedicating a major part of your life in teaching a dojo. NO ONE knows how demanding this is until they have that responsibility.  Your life revolves around the club and today litigation looms even larger with some people trying to make a fast few dollars. In all honesty it is a wonder we still have many dojo left considering the problems involved in running one today. Some need to be ran as businesses simply to exist!! Who needs that after coming home from a days work! Thanks again for your dedication to teaching, you deserve the judo communities respect as do all the teachers here.

    This may well sound hard but its YOUR neck mate not theirs.............NEVER EVER forget that.

    Mike


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    Richard Riehle

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Richard Riehle on Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:10 pm

    Hanon wrote:
    Richard Riehle wrote:
    DougNZ wrote:It is positive that she is okay for her kids to bow to sensei.  Bowing to shomen is really just bowing to the invisible line-up of sensei between the current sensei and the picture of Kano and all the invisible sensei beyond Kano.

    It is not unusual for us, at our dojo, to have students from religious traditions that will not bow even to each other, let alone a picture on the wall.   We tell them they may simply stand silent while the rest of the group are bowing.  I would rather have them involved in Judo than not.  As long as they are respectful of each other and their partners, that is enough.   Of course, this means they will never be comfortable with tournament, but most of them are in their thirties anyway, so we do not expect that of them.

    Sensei Riehle the point is they are NOT involved in judo as reigi are judo. Once we make an exception judo becomes segmented the very thing that Kano tried all his life to avoid. There is no religion in a dojo to that end a rei is NOTHING to do with a religion but a sign of respect. IF pupils dot show or refuse to show respect they disqualify themselves from judo.
    More importantly, if you allow a student NOT to rei you are acknowledging yourself the rei is more than it is.

    I have a very healthy dislike for cults and those who follow them. The psychology of those who lead cults and those who are members are simply disaster areas for all concerned. If a handshake is seen as a religious action then I would not shake hands.

    The main point of kodokan judo is health and fitness of mind and body under once practice for us all. No colour, race, religion, gender is a must to ensure the goal of judo that being world peace. If there is one rule in judo it is there is no doctrine, we are all one and the same as soon as we step in that dojo. It has to be this way, soon as you open one door to exceptions you must accommodate all other factions and judo becomes a sport or hobby.

    If a person WRONGLY and judo ignorantly identifies the rei as a religious bow then one, they are wrong and two they are free if after an explanation has been given, to choose another activity. Mutual welfare and benefit, the wording speaks for itself.

    Mike

    Sensei Hanon,

    Here is a place where we must disagree. Our dojo is not entirely under our own control because it is a facility funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The members of the dojo come from many religious and cultural backgrounds. Some of from Islamic nations, others from other places around the planet. We have members who believe that bowing is not appropriate given their own religious beliefs and practices. We are not allowed to discriminate or exclude any prospective member on the basis of their personal religious beliefs. We are required to accept anyone who wants to be a part of the dojo, anyone who wants to be a member of the Judo club.

    Our dojo is predominantly adults. Rarely do we have anyone under the age of eighteen. We never have anyone under the age of fourteen. Our members range in age from early twenties all the way to newcomers to Judo at the age of 55 or older. We do not turn anyone away. Therefore, we need to tailor our training to suit our membership. Our members who are over forty years old usually have no interest in competing. They are working on physical fitness, or satisfying some other personal goal.

    For those members, and they are very few in number, who choose not to bow, we allow that. It is their personal choice. Judo is not about bowing. Regei is certainly a tradition, and we encourage everyone to participate in that tradition, but we cannot force anyone to do so. Even without the regei, the are involved in Judo. We are offering the best instruction we can, including jita kyoei and Seiryoku Zenyo, which no one seems to perceive as religious ideals. We also ask that everyone be respectful when we are bowing-in and bowing-out. One interesting thing that happens is that, when we do not force people to bow, they eventually start doing it with their partner automatically when their partner bows to them. It just seems to take a little time for them to become comfortable with the custom.

    My rule in the dojo is that every member has the right to say, "I don't want to do that," for everything and anything. Moreover, I do not require them to provide an reason for not wanting to do something. They are adults who make their own choices about what they do or do not want to do.

    petrip

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by petrip on Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:22 pm

    I really do wonder why to bow to a picture in 1st place? Not all old habits are really worth preserving. IN our practice whowver is directing the practice and people attending practice bow to each other. I see no point starting look for a picture and bowing for it?

    And as an cultural issue it will easier for religious people to accept bow as replacement of handshake in that situation.

    It is quite okey change the rituals. Keep the judo but icing can be changed.

    Like when I attended a judo camp where Neil Adams was teaching he did not want have people in row and to bow to him Instead he wasnted people to stand up make a wide circle all bow to center i.e to each other. As he felt that he would not like place himself above other, which is okay. How we bow and start the training is not essential

    EternalStudent

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by EternalStudent on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:35 pm

    Richard Riehle wrote:Judo is not about bowing.
    I tend to disagree. Sure, I can relate when you say that judo is not about the act of bowing, its about judo!
    But, what is the meaning of bowing to eachother? Its about respect to one another, its about thanking eachother for without Kano sensei, judo would not exist. Without your teacher, you would have no one to teach you. Without your training partner, you would have no way to train. In this respect judo is very much so about bowing.


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    EternalStudent

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by EternalStudent on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:36 pm

    petrip wrote:I really do wonder why to bow to a picture in 1st place?
    As a sign of respect and to give thanks to the founder of judo (or others if relevant to your dojo). "Thank you for founding judo, so that I may practise it today".


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    noboru

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    Kano is highest senior in judo

    Post by noboru on Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:24 am

    petrip wrote:I really do wonder why to bow to a picture in 1st place?

    You can try to explain the reason about first bow to founder in this way (Kano is highest senior in judo).

    Judo is japanese educational system for young people based on studying fight. Some values in Japan culture are (comming) from Confucian philosophy. There is one value "respect to parents and older people". Respect to parents, older people and seniors is important value in teaching judo too.
    The Jigoro Kano is a founder of judo and he is the oldest senior in judo history. It is the reason for the first bow to him - he is the oldest, he has our the highest respect for founding of judo. Second bow are to senseis (they are next in order in seniority and they teach us the judo), Next bow is to other people in dojo , we can learn judo together - we have to have a sparing partner in practice judo, during practice we teach our partner and learn from our partner too - for this he has our respect too ).

    Is it usable for you?

    Davaro

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by Davaro on Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:16 am

    If you want the answers to the questions you ask, read this entire thread.


    _________________
    Dew wrote:
    We could have a poll - but if the majority vote for "Judo roly poly" its going to ignite fascist dictatorlike tendencies lurking within me.


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    NBK

    Posts : 1060
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

    Post by NBK on Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:44 am

    Richard Riehle wrote:Sensei Hanon,

    Here is a place where we must disagree.   Our dojo is not entirely under our own control because it is a facility funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.   The members of the dojo come from many religious and cultural backgrounds.  Some of from Islamic nations, others from other places around the planet.   We have members who believe that bowing is not appropriate given their own religious beliefs and practices.   We are not allowed to discriminate or exclude any prospective member on the basis of their personal religious beliefs.   We are required to accept anyone who wants to be a part of the dojo, anyone who wants to be a member of the Judo club.  

    .....

    For those members, and they are very few in number, who choose not to bow, we allow that.   It is their personal choice.  Judo is not about bowing.  Regei is certainly a tradition, and we encourage everyone to participate in that tradition, but we cannot force anyone to do so.   Even without the regei, the are involved in Judo.   We are offering the best instruction we can, including jita kyoei and Seiryoku Zenyo, which no one seems to perceive as religious ideals.   We also ask that everyone be respectful when we are bowing-in and bowing-out.   One interesting thing that happens is that, when we do not force people to bow, they eventually start doing it with their partner automatically when their partner bows to them.   It just seems to take a little time for them to become comfortable with the custom.  

    My rule in the dojo is that every member has the right to say, "I don't want to do that," for everything and anything.  Moreover, I do not require them to provide an reason for not wanting to do something.   They are adults who make their own choices about what they do or do not want to do.    [/color]
    Working around the US government puts some idiotic restraints on you, but your comment about people eventually bowing on their own is very interesting. In Japan over thirty years I've seen it time and again; the acknowledgement of another's bow seems innate in most normal folks, and most will pick it up unconsciously, no matter their conscious indoctrination.

    In prewar judo books, there is often an entire chapter devoted to reigi 礼儀 and its role and importance in júdó. Repeating it to most people today is a waste of time.

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    Re: Parent "extremely uncomfortable" having her children "bow to that picture on the wall"

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