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  • rei in iaido.

    the meaning of sensei ni rei, otagai ni rei and to ni rei is quite understandable and obvious.
    What symbolic value is put on rei to the shomen in the contemporary iai context? Is the meaning set, or is it a grey zone, open to individual interpretation and value to a certain degree?
    Is it something that is just done out of custom, and never spoken of? Is the rei to the gods, the past, the ancestors, the hall, the emperor or what?
    In the context of iaido, what can further be said about shomen, shinzen and kamiza?

    Interrelated questions, hopefully it has some didactic value not only to me.

  • #2
    It really depends where you practice. There are very few purpose built Iaido Dojo. People usually use a Kendo dojo or some other place in Japan. Each dojo has its own particular etiquette.

    There could be a small Shinto shrine, perhaps one that is dedicated to a departed teacher. Then again there are dojo with the countries flag.

    Principally you find that Iaido has a base in the Shinto religion The ZNIR have a Budo Jinja (Shrine) dedicated to Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (Picture shown on the page below)

    http://www.bunbun.ne.jp/~sword/Kiso1.html

    There are ceremonies held here every year. I also do many, many other Hono Embu throughout the year.

    All Renmei (Associations) will at least have a flag at ceremonies when everyone will stand for the anthem.

    This is a very debatable subject in Japan. Visits by the Prime Minister to Yasakuni shrine to venerate the war dead etc. etc.

    The standing to the flag and the anthem principle has also been strongly debated in Japan as to whether it should be done in educational establishments as a standard. Some people still object to it as a removal of ones fundamental freedom also not wishing to appear to be returning to pre-war requisites.

    You are never going to get away from the fact that what you do translates as Martial Art and indeed has militaristic tendencies.

    So saying one should not consider that one must bow to a religious deity or ones country. Simply we follow a tradition and first and foremost is to work on ones own spiritual training. As you say your own individual interpretation.

    When I bow In and out I am saying a big thank you to general to the fact that I am here and training. But I do like to think that those departed have had a part in the path I follow today. Admittedley there were some bad ones among them but doesnt that apply to all religions that have started and will again start wars.

    I bow in the hope that there will be peace and that our weapon training is an spritual/educational means of self development

    Hyaku

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    • #3
      hyaku,

      You raise a few good points. Admittedly, I have never subjected my rei to such close scrutiny. Rei to senseis and sempais is a way of expressing gratitude, however toward the shomen is merely respecting tradition. I'm not about to be rude. it's hardly kendou no kokoro.

      c

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      • #4
        Doing any action mechanically, out of tradition, habit, or because you are told so without explanation sure is a kind of no-mind, but not the kind of no-mind I mind.

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        • #5
          My sensei says that iaido without the rei is just a barbarian using a sword. When I do rei I think of him at home in Japan, and what he would think of my training today, and a few other things as Hyaku says in his note. Certainly helps me put the outside world out of my mind!

          Tim Hamilton

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          • #6
            I would like to point out, Mr. Roar, that I ascribe to the 'unexamined life is not worth living' school, and that I have my own reasons for rei, however I have not put them under close scrutiny in such a context as was previously under discussion. As stated before, I do rei as a sign of gratitude and respect. hardly mechanical.

            c

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            • #7
              is the way u take it . i dont think i have much to say after all the reasons other people have gave but i do rei for respect, grattitude, in honor to all those people who practices and it helps me to get in contact with the the spirit of the dojo and my comrades. but if u think is mechanical of course its gonna turn out that way and is not going to help you in anything.

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