Martial Arts Midtown : Why do we bow in karate?
Martial Arts Midtown



Martial Arts Midtown : Karate City Parent’s Insights


Martial Arts Midtown : During karate class, your child will bow numerous times. We do this for various reasons, but it is mainly a sign of respect and gratitude. Bowing as they enter the dojo is also a mental cue to focus on training and leave anything else outside.


History of the bow in karate


The origins of the bow have several different schools of thought. The rise of Buddhism in Japan saw the bow become a sign of loyalty and respect. Giving a bow to the statues of Buddha is a mark of devotion. Followers of the religion will also bow to masters as a sign of respect and admiration.


As the feudal military government came to power in Japan, the warrior or samurai class became more prominent. Following the principles of Buddhism as well as adding more of their own discipline, the bow becomes a standard greeting among samurai. During this time, many people would carry a sword. When you bow, you expose the vulnerable parts of the body. The samurai bowing is a sign of trust. They use it as a gesture of thanks that their life is in the hands of the person they are bowing to.


The samurai sat at the top of the class ladder in the minds of the Japanese people. Due to this, the gesture of bowing become typical among the common classes of the population. The people had the desire to emulate the samurai and began to use the bow as a greeting and show of humility. The bow became, and still is, the typical way of greeting each other in Japan. This sign of mutual respect is also the way we start and end the practice of karate.


Bowing in karate class


We use the three bow rule in Karate City. The student will bow as they enter school, step onto the mat, and finally bow to their instructor. Again, we use this as a sign of respect and also gratitude. We show our appreciation to the school and the instructor. This is an appreciation of the teachers’ mastery of the sport and the time they are giving the student. Martial Arts Midtown