Christie’s Karate Newbie Tip of the Week: The Art of Bowing

Writing Contributor: Christie McGowan
Student at Choe’s HapKiDo of Loganville
Info Page: http://www.loganvillekarate.com/

**Past Posts on Karate Tips:
Tip #1: Karate Etiquette
Tip #2: Hands & Wrists

. . .

Types of the common half bows:

HapPicBow

Tip #3: Know that there are methods and etiquette when it comes to bowing.

Mostly used In Japanese and Korean culture, a bow equates to a Western handshake for “hello.” However, this long-respected gesture is far more complex. As the act of bowing calls attention for methods and etiquette, it signifies an act of respect. Especially when a martial art such as HapKiDo originates from Korea, it is good to continue adding to the pool of knowledge of how any culture operates.

As full bows are used sparingly for special occasions and towards highly respected people, the various types of half bows are used daily. One executes a bow when seeing for the first and last time an instructor or peer, regardless of being inside or outside of a martial arts school. When entering a martial arts school, greeting an instructor or upper belt with a bow signs readiness for class. Bows are also executed during and after class. It is also good to bow to the instructor when momentarily leaving the mats of a Do Jang (training studio) for water. Now, when instructors and peers are seen at places like the grocery store or a pizzeria, bowing to greet and to say goodbye still applies.

In regards to half bows, there are three types: the full half bow, the quarter bow, and the one-eighth bow. Depending on who is associated yields the method used. In Choe’s HapKiDo, one executes the full half bow towards Grandmaster Choe, the school’s founder. For the masters and instructors, a person uses the quarter half bow. Finally, towards assistant instructors and students, the one-eighth half bow.

In addition to showing respect when addressing instructors and peers as “sir” or “ma’am,” bowing may appear overwhelming. But it is honestly not when one is open to adapting and welcoming a culture that he/she chooses to engage in. If people can adapt to new job environments, then why not the same to a martial arts culture.

When bowing, the hands are at the side, the feet are together, the eyes and the head are straight forward.

When bowing, the hands are at the side, the feet are together, the eyes and the head are straight forward.

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