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Thread: Dumb Question About Turning

  1. #1
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    Default Dumb Question About Turning

    A discussion came up in my dojo recently and I thought I would throw it out here for any answers. After bowing to the kamiza at the beginning of class, normally the yudansha turn around while standing to face the kyu ranks and both kyu and yudansha bow. The question is: Is there a correct method to turn while standing? Right foot across left (counter clockwise) or left foot across right (clockwise)? I was amazed at the number of answers just in my dojo. I have always stepped right across left (same as when I turn in seiza) but I can't for the life of me, remember anyone actually teaching me that that is the "correct" method.

    Any comments?
    Rick Sbuscio

  2. #2
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    My guess is that the "correct" answer is do it the way that the Japanese Army performed "about face," ca. 1930.

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    I asked my connection in Japan. He replied, "I know how the Japanese military does it [about face] but have never heard or seen any conformative instruction in martial arts. Most slop through it, just turn around."

    So, if that's what you're doing, then you're probably doing it about the same way that most modern Japanese would be doing it.

  4. #4
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    In addition to Joe's impeccable answer, I'd then add that the "about face" still exists in the Japanese school system.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

  5. #5
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    Don't turn your rear end to the kamiza. So if you sit, as we do in our dojo with kamiza at the far end of the dojo from the entrance, as you stand in the doorway the sensei are to the right and the students to the left.

    So instructors turn to the right to face kamiza and to the left to face the students, students do the opposite.

    If, as I suspect your dojo does, instructors sit on the kamiza side, you would turn so as not to stick rear at gods, so if it's in the middle, upper ranked instructors (further away from door) turn right, closer to door turn left to face students, opposite to turn around to face kamiza.

    Don't stand right in front of kamiza because I can't remember which way you turn if you're there.

    Clear as mud I know, but every room is laid out slightly differently so do as dojo does, if dojo turns any old way, that's correct. Mostly don't turn your back on the kamiza otherwise.

    Kim.

  6. #6
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    It's probably a good idea to copy whatever the most senior instructor in your art does.

    That being said, as far as "proper" Japanese etiquette goes, the polite way - from my understanding - is as follows:

    While standing in front of the shinzen / butsuden, the right side is the "high" (senior) side while the left side is the "low" (junior) side when lining up (though I've seen some dojo adjust this based on where the entrance is located, and in locations where there is no shinzen or butsuden). As far as the feet, the left foot is considered the "passive / polite" foot while the right foot is the "aggressive / zanshin" foot. For example, when going through a doorway (as a warrior), it was considered cautious and tactically sound to enter with the right foot first, and polite / negligent to enter with the left first.

    So in regards to the shinzen/shomen, the right foot should be angled or moved further away from the shinzen/shomen than the left whenever possible (sideways to the shinzen is best during training, or offset so that you are not standing directly in front of it). When standing centered in front of the shinzen, it is most polite to step back with the right foot, pivot 180 degrees to the right, then draw the right foot back to the left again to resume shizentai (military style). From seiza it would also be a turn towards the right.

    FWIW,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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