#79 Etiquette Trivia - 礼作法の雑学


We shake hands with others as a sign of friendship. Originally, the act of showing an open hand means that you have nothing hidden in your hand. Most people are right-handed, so the right hand is considered the attacking hand. By letting others grab your right hand, you show that you have no hostility.

Likewise, there is a way to show that you are not hostile, even if you are holding a sword. If you hold the sword in your left hand, people will not trust you because you can pull out the sword with your right hand. So, when you hold the Saya (scabbard) from above with your right hand, with the Saya-jiri (tip) in front and the Tuka (handle) behind you, you show that you do not intend to pull out the sword.

By the way, in Shinto (Japanese religion), there is an idea that the left side is the higher side and the right side is the lower side. For this reason, it is said that even left-handed Samurai hold their precious swords on the left side.

In the old days, Dojos were designed and built according to the orientation of the land. But nowadays, most Dojos are rented, so the general rule is that “the right side of the Dojo is the upper seat and the left side is the lower seat when facing the front”. This is because the Dojo master sits with his back to the front, so his left hand side is the upper seat.

In the etiquette, there are various differences between Aikido's etiquette and Kendo / Iaido's etiquette. The most obvious difference is the highest form of respect.

Japanese Dojos have a household Shinto altar at the front. In Aikido, bowing to the altar is the highest courtesy. However, in Iaido, bowing to the sword is the highest courtesy.

Also, in Aikido, the way you stand up from the Seiza position is different from Iaido. In Iaido, since the sword is held in the left hand, you step out from the right foot. However, in Aikido, some people step out from the foot on the lower seat side according to Shinto etiquette.

In NZ, there is no Shinto altar in the dojo, so instead of the altar, bow to the front. So, like any other martial arts, I think it's best to think of it as "sitting with your left foot first, and standing with your right foot first".

To define the front of the dojo without the altar, you must display a picture of O-Sensei, the national flag, or the dojo motto.

Highest courtesy (bow to the altar, bow to the front):

> Do it in Seiza position
> Place your hands on the floor in the order of left and right hands
> Put your hands to elbows on the floor, tilt your upper body deeply
> When you raise your head, place your right and left hands on your knees in that order

Ordinary courtesy (courtesy to others):

> In Seiza postition, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and tilt your upper body at 45 degrees
> In standing position, place your hands in front of your thighs and tilt your upper body at 45 degrees

Now, the kenjutsu of Aikido is called Aiki-ken. It was handed down from O-Sensei to Saito Shihan, and it is also called Iwama-ryu Kenjutsu. However, since the Iwama Ryu Dojo became independent from the Aikikai in 2004, opportunities to learn the Aiki-ken are very limited.

So, I did a little research on the Iwama-ryu etiquette for "bowing to the front", so I would like to share the information with you.

Here's what to do when bowing to the front with your Bokken.

For sitting bowing:

> Hold the Bokken in your right hand with the blade facing up.
> From an upright position to Kiza (kneeling) and Seiza (sitting).
> Place the Bokken sideways in front of you.
> The Tuka (handle) is on the left side and the blade is on your side.
> Sit up straight and make the highest courtesy (bow to the front).
> Hold the Bokken in your right hand and place it at your right side, you stand up straight from Kiza (kneeling) with the Bokken.
> Afterwards, when bowing to the others, change the hand holding the Bokken to your left hand.

For standing bowing:

> Hold the Bokken in your right hand with the blade facing up and stand upright.
> Hold it from underneath with both hands, with the Tuka (handle) on the left side and the blade on your side.
> Raise the Bokken above eye level.
> Bow to the front.
> Turn the Tuka (handle) up and grab it again with your right hand.
> Lower your right hand to the right side and stand upright.
> Afterwards, when bowing to the others, change the hand holding the Bokken to your left hand.

In NZ, after bowing to the front, you usually move the Bokken to the left, which I think is an influence of Australia. The sword is moved back to the left side in Iaido, too. In any case, etiquette is a matter of mind, so it is not a matter of which one is correct.

In Ueshiba Sensei's Aikido, we bow to each other not as enemies, but as a sign of friendship. I've heard that O-Sensei changed the depth of his religious beliefs and martial arts philosophy as he got older, but it would be rather natural for anyone to do so. No one can deny that he has changed.

Swords are essentially a weapon for killing people, but we who live in the modern world are not practicing it in preparation for killing each other. Martial arts also change with the times. I would like to continue to enjoy Aikido as a martial art of harmony.

Thanks for reading.

Related article: Mutual respect

[ 礼作法の雑学 - 正面に礼 ]





















テーマ : 合気道
ジャンル : スポーツ





初心者にも分かりやすく、理論的に基礎知識を説明します。なんとなく他人の動きを真似るのではなく、普段から考える力を育てていくことを目的としています。In this blog, I explain the basics in a theoretical way that is easy to understand for beginners. The aim is to help you to develop your ability to think, not to copy the movements somehow. Aikido is not magic. I will explain things that are not so clear, such as Ki and O-Sensei's philosophy.