The first lesson taught and the last lesson learned is HOW to bow.

It's not a religious thing...
It is about respect, to some degree, but more about humility and emptying the vessel to allow room for fresh waters.

It is a relatively easy lesson as a beginner...but a more complex lesson as a senior in any system...

When seniors from other systems come to train with me, it is very hard for them to empty their cups...hard for me to share when the lesson is met with resistance.

I went through this myself...and am a little ashamed at my being FULL when entering another's training hall...I learned many lessons, but, unfortunately, after I left because I didn't think there was anything of value to be gained byt training with the "other" group.

External disciplines applied by a school are a start...but the student must internalize that lesson...must not let any advanced rank from getting in the way of learning...

my thoughts...worth little.

Originally posted by Skarbromantis

Maybe for Karate, but with CMA, its very diffrent, we dont have to wear any uniform, will that make my Kung Fu any better? I do agree on bowing when meeting others outside of the club, like at a seminar, or school meet, or if I meet a fellow MA on the street or in passing then I bow, but in class never.

Not that is a bad thing, just diffrent by style.


Yes it is very different with most PM schools I think. Its allways fun to see a new student that comes from karate or somehting come in and start bowing to everyone and everything! Kinda funny actually. We call our instructor Sifu, but I have never heard him say anything about calling him Sifu, we just allways do. Some bow when entering or leaving the school, but its usually a small bow. I think thats about it. IT all just depends on the student. Most of us shake hands rather than bowing to each other, some of our students hug, its really up to the student. I usually don't see many people act disrespectful to my Sifu, he is just so nice and respectful, most people just feel normal being respectful back.

DWright wrote:

"The only etiquette that I was not familiar with was to turn away from the flag and senior ranks when straightening the uniform. "

Really? I thought this was normal. Any dojang that I visited/trained at all did this.

One thing that makes feel like a little kid is that we are not even allowed to "flinch" during the student oath. I donno why, but every time we say the student oath, my nose itches LOL.
To thoughs who do not belive in the importance of bowing in the dojo. Bowing is the start of discipline, which is one of the foundations of MA training (in my mind). Without discipline we are not martial artists we are thugs and bullies. I feel that it is grossly iresponceable to train some one in the arts of combat and not teach them the discipline to know when to use that training, I feel that bowing and etiquette are the start.

Despair Bear
Ya even an art like Muay Thai is big on bowing and respect. In fact I can't think of any art I do that doesnt have some sort of bowing or sign of respect. Pencak Silta, Kali, TKD, Muay Thai, BJJ.... it's almost universal.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
I think if a little more of this "etiquette" you guys have all mentioned showed through more in everyday life and on this forum, it would make things quite a bit better.

雿瘜 (Saho) is a very important aspect of the Japanese sword art I practise. I like to explain the general behaviour as that which you might assume during the first meeting with your significant others parents or perhaps bank manager from whom you want a loan: trying to create a good impression.

Then all the very specific rituals are applied over the top of this: bowing to the sword in a kneeling position, handling the sageo (cord) and ones clothing etc. I felt very uncomfortable with the ritual at first, but became accustomed to them since we were all doing it together and eventually it felt comfortable. Then recently I read Ritual - How seemingly senseless acts make life worth living by Dimitris Xygalatas and the importance of rituals in humans and in many animals existences, became clear.
Hi all,

I was curious about etiquette in general.
I know that people have bows and salutes, and say sir, yet
is this taught the first class, or on going over the first few classes or monthes?

My first instructor was Korean we had to bow when coming into the school with the instructor right there, had to bow before walking on the mat, had to bow before the class started and when the class ended, had to bow to the training area when leaving. When starting kenpo the only time we had to bow was when we walked on and off the mat, in both arts could not call the instructor by his first name only by Sifu or sir.
So you think bowing a bit is etiquette! Are you ready for this? This is how Iaido practitioners are supposed to step in and out of the dojo!
So you think bowing a bit is etiquette! Are you ready for this? This is how Iaido practitioners are supposed to step in and out of the dojo!
View attachment 29160
I'm looking at that diagram and trying to figure out where you enter. Looks like most of the area is 'reserved' so the entrance can't be there. Do you have to jump past it like the hikae seki is lava?
in Kenpo class we do kenpo salute but when a sifu enters we say lets all bow to Sifu Tony or any other sifu who enteres but 1st we have to bow to the head Sifu then the 2nd highest 3rd highest and so fort

also when your late you have to do push up then you have to do the kenpo salute/bow to the sifu whose teaching and then you you do that they gonna let ya in but you have to be in the back of the line cause your late

when a sifu is talking you have to be in natural stance the military called it parade rest

also when walking you have to go around not in front of the student

no running and no learning agains the wall always listen to the sifu
I'm looking at that diagram and trying to figure out where you enter. Looks like most of the area is 'reserved' so the entrance can't be there. Do you have to jump past it like the hikae seki is lava?
The entrance should be directly opposite the Kamiza.
Its seems that rituals tend to have specific traits:

1) They have no outward purpose - so ones morning/evening routine probably wouldnt be classed as a ritual.
2) They are performed in exactly the same way. Order, tools, dress are all the same.
3) They tend to have a group element and thats draws the group together.
4) Closely related to 3, they give the group a sense of shared identity - were in a gang together!

What is fascinating is that animals have rituals. Elephants gather and gently stroke the bones of dead relatives. Chimpanzees have been seen gathering around large, old trees and vocalising loudly and placing rocks and stones in the trees hollows and crevices. Pigeons will repeat the same movements - spinning around, poking their heads into the corner of an enclosure - that they previously performed before receiving a pellet of food!

It has also been found that the more uncertain an endeavour, such as going into battle or fishing on wild, open seas in canoes (rather than in calm, sheltered lagoons), the more elaborate the ritual that accompanies the preparation (carving the canoe accompanied with spells, donning armour while incanting deities and forming mudra etc).

It seems that Homo sapiens sapiens must perform ritual, it is an innate phenomenon that appears to reduce fear, anxiety and make our lives seem safer, more certain and better.

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