“Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect”
Reishiki comes from two Japanese words, the first is ‘Rei’ which can be interpreted as a bow, courtesy, thanks and appreciation. The second word “Shiki” can be interpreted as a ceremony. The word Reishiki can therefore be interpreted as ceremonial manners or etiquette.
The Reishiki procedure that is observed at the beginning and the end of the class is as follows:
- Ritsu rei – standing bow to Sensei.
- Seiza – Sensei sits (formal sitting position), the class sits in seiza facing shomen and prepares for class.
- The head student (Sempai) calls out:
- Mokuso – which means close your eyes and clear your mind (Silence for approximately 1 minute or more)
- Kaimoku – meaning open your eyes or “Mokuso Yame” meaning finish meditation.
- Zarei – next the class performs three zarei or sitting bows when the head student calls out –
- Shomen ni rei – meaning bow to the front of the dojo. After this the Sensei will turn around and face the class.
- Sensei ni rei – meaning bow to the teacher. As the class bows to the teacher the teacher will return the bow. As a student bows they recite “Onegaishimasu” which can be interpreted to mean please teach me.
- Otagai ni rei – meaning bow to each other. Both the teacher and the students will bow to each other at the same time. This is to acknowledge that we are all students of the art of Karate do.
- At this point the Sensei will indicate that the class should stand up and training will begin.
After the training session is finished, the above procedure is followed again except in the Sensei ni rei section, the students bow and recite “Sensei arigato gozaimasu” which means thank you.
Dave Hatte – Sensei arigato gozaimasu.
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