Understanding The Karate Bow (Rei)

The Shotokan Bow

It is upsetting when I see someone bow disrespectfully.

Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of shotokan karate, said, ‘Karate begins and ends with courtesy’.

I used to love the fighting more than anything else in karate, but the older I get, the more I realize, karate is more than just fighting.

Let us get to it! People with good characters are liked and are content, people with bad characters, are not liked and are not content.

One of the best ways to start working on the development of character through karate practice, is the shotokan bow.

When someone first starts karate, the Sensei will always emphasize the importance of the bow.

The Shotokan Bow (Rei)

1. Starting from the feet together, toes out stance (musubi-dachi), thumbs bent, hands open and placed flat against the outside of the thighs.

2. Bend from the waist, keeping the back straight.

3. Head and eyes remain fixed, so as you bow you look down.

4. The degree of bend in the body, does not have to be great, but the sincere attitude you have when you bow, should be!

5. Hold the final bow position for one to three seconds, then slowly return to the straight back starting position.

6. Breath out naturally and silently on the downward movement of the bow.

When someone first starts to learn karate, it is really important to spend time on the basic techniques and the shotokan bow or rei, is classed as a basic karate move.

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Shotokan Bow

It's very important for karateka to understand the Karate Bow (Rei), it's all about respect!

We hope you found this shotokan bow video useful.

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Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle