In the Orient, bowing is a form of showing respect. In some cases, it is equivalent to shaking hands when greeting someone. It also has other uses. Uechi Ryu uses two types of bows. Each has a certain set of circumstances in which it is used, although the exact usage may vary from school to school. The most important thing about the bow is the thought behind it. As Kanei Uechi once said, “Without sincerity, the bow is meaningless. Rather than be concerned about its outward appearance, put your heart and soul into the bow; then it will naturally take on a good shape”.
KNEELING BOW (Seiza)
The kneeling bow may be used in the following cases:
When entering the dojo, prior to starting your workout.
As part of the ceremonial class opening and closing.
When leaving the dojo for the final time.
At the beginning and end of each class, the students say the following:
Beginning “One Gozaimas” Meaning please (as in please teach me)
End “Domo Arigato Gozai Mashta” (Thank you very much)
This terminology is also used when bowing to the Sensei at the start and end of each kata and also when doing a standing bow to your partner before and after doing partner drills. (Thank you very much can be abbreviated to “arigato gozai mashta” during class).
STANDING BOW (Ritsurei)
The standing bow is the most common way of showing respect. The standing bow is used in the following situations:
Whenever the instructor bows to the student.
Before asking a question of the instructor and after receiving his reply. Depending on the circumstances, this practice may be slightly relaxed. The student should be alert and follow the instructor’s lead.
When entering or leaving the dojo together with two claps.
At the beginning and end of all kata.
Before and after doing a two person drill with a fellow practitioner. Generally, this bow need not be repeated between each repetition of a two person drill. It suffices to bow when the partners begin working with one another and when they are finished.
When doing a two person drill in certain formal situations a standing bow is directed to the front before the opening bow to one’s partner and after the closing bow to one’s partner.