A Zarei (kneeling bow) or Ritsurei (Standing Bow) is the highest form of respect and etiquette in our Aikido practice. It is about humility, respect and appreciation. Therefore, it should be done at all times in that manner. Never rush this gesture or abbreviate it. Take your time to non-verbally convey these feelings to your training partner, your teacher and our founder.
It is good etiquette to know the proper way and when to zarei and ritsurei in your Aikido practice. Here is a short list to help:
• Ritsurei entering the dojo
• Zarei upon entering the mat
• Zarei to O’Sensei upon beginning/ending class
• Zarei to your teacher as he/she begins/ends class
• Zarei to your training partner before/after each series of practice
• Zarei to your teacher after instruction anytime on the mat
• Zarei upon leaving the mat
• Ritsurei leaving the dojo
Always start your bow before your sempai. Always finish your bow after your sempai as this motion should be smooth, precise and intentional. When in doubt, always make an aikido bow.
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