When And How To Bow In Karate

why, when and how you should bow

"Rei Ni Hajimari, Rei Ni Owaru"

It is a saying in Japanese Budo. It means Budo starts and ends with a bow. Good manners, respect and etiquette are a very important issue taught in Karate training. Bowing is a part of these etiquette.

For standard, there are two ways of bowing: Standing up and sitting down.

I will demonstrate both ways but first this:


Bowing a cultural thing and therefore attached to Budo.

It is a sign of respect.

Respect and cherish the opportunities, efforts and contribution of anything and anyone to all of your made and to be made accomplishments. 

Don't forget..

  • Without your sensei
  • Without your fellow students
  • Without the Dojo

you would not be practicing Karate...

THE KANJI SERIES
what is the meaning of rei?

Give me 3.32 minutes. I'll explain exactly what the Kanji means and how that affects your understanding of the mentality in Karate.

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6 reasons WHY you should bow

  1. To show respect for the Dojo
  2. To show respect to your teacher and fellow students
  3. To acknowledge past efforts that made it possible for you to practise
  4. To show that you accept whatever is coming, even injury in case of accident
  5. Because it's custom in Karate, you are not a kickboxer
  6. Almost in any Dojo there are some kind of rules or motto (Dojo Kun), setting the basic rules of conduct for students as well as visitors. It's like accepting the terms of use when you bow.

5 times wHEN you should bow

Seriously, it would be rude not to bow:

  1. When you enter and leave the Dojo
  2. When you see your Sensei
  3. At the beginning and end of class
  4. When you start practising with your partner and when you finish
  5. When your Sensei finishes explaining and you continue training

Tachi Rei: How To Bow When You Are Standing

The way that I show is the most common. Some Dojo may practise variations that look like it and others may use ways that are completely different.

Tachi Rei - Ritsu Rei

zarei: how to bow when seated

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DIGI DOJO KIDS LESSON 1
how to bow


if you don't bow, can you call it karate?

Is Karate training possible without bowing? For sure, you cannot understand Karate completely without the mannerism. This is called Shigusa. Shigusa can be translated to action, gesture and also mannerism. How do you conduct yourself as a human being?

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