How to bow.

In the advanced Karate class that I take with Sensei Cieplik, we always begin in seiza, after that, everyone stands up and we do a quick, two second or so, bow to Sensei Cieplik. We have been doing this for some time now but in a recent class, he mentioned that if we are going to bow, he was going to show us the correct way to do it.

  • The back of your neck needs to touch the collar of your gi throughout the bow.
  • Both heels are touching and the toes are pointed out about 45 degrees.
  • Bend slowly at the waist and exhale until all the air is expelled from your lungs.
  • When you bend at the waist, make sure to expel all of the air from your lungs for as long as it takes.
  • While bent over, keep your eyes on whoever you are bowing to with an alert gaze.
  • If you are bowing to someone who is a higher rank than yourself, bend over lower than them.
  • After all the air is expelled from your lungs, straighten up while inhaling until you are upright again.

I had always thought that a quick upper body tilt at any level was a bow but instead, it was showing disrespect to those who I was bowing to. Doing a quick little bow is the same as pulling your hand away when you reach out to shake another persons hand.

I know that many Martial Artists and Karate-Ka have different opinions on bowing and some even suggest that bowing in the dojo outside of Japan is silly but for those of you who have never had it explained, I hope this gives you a little clearer picture.

Leave a reply