This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.
If we look at almost any activity or custom we will probably be able to trace it to a practice that has become a tradition over the centuries of recorded history. In American culture, we have grown up and lived with the fact that our great country is a melting pot of all races and cultures, although in the post modern era that we live in it appears to be more like a salad bowl recently. This melting pot had a language that has hundreds of borrowed words and, as the nature of language is, it is even in and of itself constantly changing! Enter into the equation of American culture and change the thought for what we take for granted comes from somewhere and was added not all together for the right reasons.
- Are foreign cultures any different?
- Is a Simple bow a form of worship? (martial arts or otherwise)
A story was once shared by a missionary to the Philippine Islands. He was asked to give a Bible to a man in a large city on another island. The woman told the missionary that this man was very important and people would bow to him. The missionary went to see him, and did not bow but used the Western custom of a hand shake and explained his purpose and gift (The bible). The missionary explained to us that bowing was considered to be a sign and acknowledgment of the “god” within each person. This point could be argued effectively for the sake of Christianities superiority to other religions however; is it wise to go against common courtesy of the society we live in unless there is a serious reason for going against it? For example, if it was expressly forbidden in the Bible then it should not be performed. We think nothing of a performer bowing on stage, or the acknowledgment of participants of a parade. The simple bows of respect in Karate denote nothing less than mutual respect and not an acknowledgment of the “god” within a person. Bowing is a tradition that is kept alive in the martial arts just as it is in the Orient. Some traditions may have more than one meaning or source, but to say that a tradition is bad or evil just because of a connotation to one aspect of another culture is a shallow argument.