Bowing. in and out of...Everywhere?!

ShotoJon

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I find it rather hilarious. I've found that, if i dont pay much attention or im thinking about kata or some self defense move, occasionally ill be leaving my classroom at school or even sometimes leaving my house and unconsciously turn and bow myself out. I usually dont notice that I've bowed untill after one of my friends comments on it or i notice the whole room staring at me. My girlfriend who joined the dojo a few months ago texted me laughing at herself because she just experienced the same thing. Anyone have any funny or interesting experiences with this as well? Id love to hear it :D i just think its funny how something can be drilled into your head so much that you dont even notice when you do it anymore lol
 

MaxiMe

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I was heading out of the office one day on my way to the dojang and had changed and was seriously thinking about forms (preping for a belt test that week) and bowed out to the receptionist. She gave me a quizical look and returned the bow. No it's become the inside joke, I bow out at the desk any day I'm headed out to the dojang.
 

MA-Caver

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Asian cultures have been doing it for centuries... showing respect. Why should that be funny to us round-eyed Americans? :asian:
 

Bill Mattocks

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Haven't really found myself doing it. I do it in the dojo or when I meet a fellow karateka or sensei on the street; otherwise not. Perhaps because I started karate so late in life, and it's not part of my ingrained habits.
 

tayl0124

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Our dojo is at the ymca, so there is a flooring type change from the wood studio to the carpeted hallway. I sometimes find myself wanting to bow as I enter the locker room. I am guessing that is because the flooring changes again from carpet to tile. I have never done it, but it is always in the back of my mind.
 

Balrog

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It's part of the "You know you've been doing martial arts too long when...." list. :)

My cow-orkers find it funny when I bow going into the conference room for a meeting. I also find that I now shake hands with everyone with my left hand under my right elbow.
 

Big Don

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Haven't really found myself doing it. I do it in the dojo or when I meet a fellow karateka or sensei on the street; otherwise not. Perhaps because I started karate so late in life, and it's not part of my ingrained habits.
I'd bet you always step off with your left foot...
 

Bill Mattocks

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I'd bet you always step off with your left foot...

That's from the Marine Corps. Yes, I do. I also stand at Parade Rest when in the dojo and not at attention or sitting down.

Heck, I even still hear the shout from boot camp
"Sir, take a 30-inch step with the left foot, aye, aye, sir!"
 

ATC

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Yeah I think this is normal for any Martial Artist that is required to bow in the dojang/dojo in and out, on and off the mats and to each other. Some arts or schools do not require this.

I have bowed in to the grocery store, my own house, and most recently at an interview for my current job, to the front desk girl. She jokes with me now about it, but now understands why now that she knows I do and teach Martial Arts.

My CEO thinks it is a great thing as I bow to all cutomers, VP's and Execs when shaking hands. Even my kids do it. My son got an academic award for school and when he went up to recieve the award he had to shake the presenters hand. Well he bowed at the same time as the hand shake. No one seemed to think anything of it but out of the all the kids he was the only one that bowed also.
 

oftheherd1

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Haven't really found myself doing it. I do it in the dojo or when I meet a fellow karateka or sensei on the street; otherwise not. Perhaps because I started karate so late in life, and it's not part of my ingrained habits.

I think some of us just learn to compartmentalize things. I never have a problem bowing in or out of any dojo, but not other places. I will touch my right elbow only when shaking hands with a Korean man. I will bow to any person of higher MA rank when they identify themselves as such. Actually, I sometimes do that to others as well, since I have spent so much time in the far east and around asians here in the USA; usually only asians, but sometimes I catch myself bowing slightly to others, who usually don't seem to notice.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I think some of us just learn to compartmentalize things. I never have a problem bowing in or out of any dojo, but not other places. I will touch my right elbow only when shaking hands with a Korean man. I will bow to any person of higher MA rank when they identify themselves as such. Actually, I sometimes do that to others as well, since I have spent so much time in the far east and around asians here in the USA; usually only asians, but sometimes I catch myself bowing slightly to others, who usually don't seem to notice.

I don't know where the touching the right elbow came from with Korean MA's. I was in Korea, I never saw it. When pouring drinks, yes. But the position of the left hand on the right (pouring) hand was adjusted due to the 'respect' owed, either higher on wrist or more towards the elbow. I never saw it with shaking hands.
 

jks9199

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Some of you all aren't going to like this. But I don't really think these are cute/funny things. I think it's bad situational awareness, and the over-romanticization of Eastern culture among martial artists. I've learned a lot, in many areas, from my teachers -- but they're just my teachers. I look after my students -- but I'm not their father. I bow into class. When class is in session, I expect students to bow at appropriate moments, and at gatherings of the association or in martial arts environments, to bow to instructors. But if I'm walking down the street, and I see someone I know to be even a very highly ranked black belt -- Nope. I may say hi, depending on how well I know them. I certainly don't look for my students to bow to me outside of training. And if you're so distracted that you don't know the difference between a training hall and the grocery store... you're so distracted that you're going to be vulnerable to attack.

Because I'm aware of Eastern culture and custom, I will bow in some cases when I am dealing with an Oriental person. I put that on the same level of courtesy as speaking Spanish to someone who doesn't speak English, or speaking first to the father/head of household.
 

Brandon Fisher

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I have done it before. Especially when I was younger trying to make it a habit.
 
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ShotoJon

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to a point i agree with what your saying, however being too serious all the time isnt healthy. its good every once in a while to sit back and laugh at yourself a bit. and its not like i try to bow everywhere i go, and it doesnt happen nearly as often as it used to, its just every now and again it just happens. kinda like a reflex
 

David43515

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It`s a cultural habit, but not one from our culture. I don`t really do it from habit anymore like I occationally did when I was young because now I`m much more aware of it. My track team ( and all the teams at the jr high for that matter) bows in at the begining and end of practice. I`ve seen deparment store workers bow out as they leave the sales floor. And they say a sure sign you`ve been in Japan too long is when you catch yourself bowing during a telephone conversation. (Guilty as charged)
 

Ken Morgan

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From the military years ago, we had to come to attention and remove our head gear when ever we entered the mess, so everytime I enter a pub i think of those days, i never do it, but it brings a smile to my face.
 

Big Don

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From the military years ago, we had to come to attention and remove our head gear when ever we entered the mess, so everytime I enter a pub i think of those days, i never do it, but it brings a smile to my face.
Yeah, I can't wear a hat inside.
 

oftheherd1

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I don't know where the touching the right elbow came from with Korean MA's. I was in Korea, I never saw it. When pouring drinks, yes. But the position of the left hand on the right (pouring) hand was adjusted due to the 'respect' owed, either higher on wrist or more towards the elbow. I never saw it with shaking hands.

Touching the upper forearm of the right hand with the left is simply another sign of respect between men in Korea. I don't recall seeing it for pouring drinks though. But I didn't drink that much either.

Some of you all aren't going to like this. But I don't really think these are cute/funny things. I think it's bad situational awareness, and the over-romanticization of Eastern culture among martial artists. I've learned a lot, in many areas, from my teachers -- but they're just my teachers. I look after my students -- but I'm not their father. I bow into class. When class is in session, I expect students to bow at appropriate moments, and at gatherings of the association or in martial arts environments, to bow to instructors. But if I'm walking down the street, and I see someone I know to be even a very highly ranked black belt -- Nope. I may say hi, depending on how well I know them. I certainly don't look for my students to bow to me outside of training. And if you're so distracted that you don't know the difference between a training hall and the grocery store... you're so distracted that you're going to be vulnerable to attack.

Because I'm aware of Eastern culture and custom, I will bow in some cases when I am dealing with an Oriental person. I put that on the same level of courtesy as speaking Spanish to someone who doesn't speak English, or speaking first to the father/head of household.

I don't often meet people outside a dojo who are of higher rank, and would not normally bow to them outside a dojo other than the first time they identified themselves as a higher ranking MA. But there are differences in the depth of a bow as well. When I learned Hapkido, I was surprised that we didn't bow as low as when I was studying Tae Kwon Do many years ago. We also kept our eye on an opponent when bowing to begin a sparring match. We weren't disrespectful, but we kept our sense of where we were and the possibility of the need for defense.

In oriental society, the depth of the bow is important. You don't bow deeply unless to a person of much higher social status. That is why there were so many comments on President Obama's deep bow on his trip to Japan. It was inappropriate.
 
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