Bowing
 
     

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Chinese custom

In Chinese culture is has always been customary to bow at certain times. Most martial arts classes require some degree of bowing.
Japanese schools use the kowtow (head knocking) quite a lot whereas Chinese schools reserve this for special occasions.
In a tai chi class, a polite bow can help to encourage an environment of respect and mutual consideration.


Acknowledgement


Bowing to the founder of the school is a show of respect. It is akin to going to somebody's house for a meal/party and finding the host to say "Hello" and thanking them for inviting you.
You are not being asked to humble yourself. The custom is about being friendly and polite.
 

Favour is given to the left hand of gentleness
Rather than the right hand of force.

(Lao Tzu)

The tai chi bow/salute

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your right fist palm down in front of your sternum. Place your left hand on top. Bend to a
30 bow, with your eyes to the ground.
Pause, then straighten-up. The right hand symbolises yang/power/combat. The left hand indicates yin/restraint/compassion.


Entering and leaving the hall


Do not bow to the room. Reserve your bow for people. Bowing to the hall is a Japanese custom, not Chinese.


7:00 PM


Our class officially begins at 7:00 PM (although members may begin training at 6:30 PM). At 7:00 PM, the whole class forms a circle and bows to the
instructor. This process is led by a tai chi student:

  1. Make a fist with your right hand and cover with your left

  2. Bow & say "Good evening Sifu"

  3. Sifu Waller will return the bow


Partner work

When commencing any kind of partner work, begin by bowing to your practice partner. This confirms that they are ready.
Bowing before partner work serves to focus the mind, settle the emotions and encourage more productive training.
It reminds students that they are training a martial art and that messing about or talking can lead to injury. When the drill is over, bow again and say thank you.


Group work

For group partner work, the group bow to the person in the centre - to confirm readiness. The student in the centre then bows back, acknowledging this.
At the end, the centre student bows to the group, signifying conclusion of the drill. The group bow back, indicating compliance.


End of class

To end the class,  the whole class forms a circle and bows to the
instructor. This process is led by a tai chi student:

  1. Make a fist with your right hand and cover with your left

  2. Bow & say "Thank you, Sifu"

  3. Sifu Waller will return the bow


End of class

Do not approach Sifu Waller or Rachel to ask questions after the bow. The lesson has ended and you should leave.
 

If you're going to bow, then bow sincerely.

(Lao Tzu) 
 


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Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 27 April 2020