Just FWIW... Maybe Consider Not Bowing like Girls (unless you are a girl)

Not a big deal, but I have recently seen several men in BJJ bow by putting their palms on the FRONT on their thighs & bowing.

This is literally how Geisha bow.

Your hands go against the sides of your thighs when you bow, if you are a man and the front of your things if you are a woman.

Ignore Judo, --where BJJ’ers normally learn everything-- as they went to “non-gender specific bowing” years ago.

BJJ is gay enough, we don’t need to bow like Japanese cocktail hostesses. That is all.


Can I still curtsy?


Every jiu jitsu gym could use a woman’s touch.

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I had to learn and perform the nage no kata to get my judo black belt. I’m pretty sure I had to do the geisha bow you described. I knew it felt a bit strange and now I finally know why.

i’ve seen pictures of helio with his gi crossed right over left

So he was dead?

helio or the fag bower?

Helio. Last I recall is that right over is done when you’re dead for the funeral.

it’s female

Had an old Judo instructor say it was for funerals. Just looked it up.

5 Embarrassing Kimono Mistakes - Japan Talk (japan-talk.com)

interesting, never heard the funeral thing, heard it was for females a long time ago

I’ve heard both as well

It’s not your fault! Feel no shame.

But it’s kinda interesting.

I don’t know when they changed, but it’s like a “unisex” bow.

A curtsy is considered acceptable if they do a little wink, too.

No doubt --And I’ve seen picture of the BJJ “Grand masters” with their belts tied on the “wrong” side --which is fine, BUT it’s just something you would NEVER see in a legit Japanese Martial Art.

I’ve said this before, but BJJ is a really a “pseudo-Japanese” martial art.

The rituals adopted by BJJ are mostly “Japanese seeming”, but not really traditional Japanese etiquette, per se. Anyone who has trained Japanese martial arts at a traditional dojo, is well aware of the difference. I don’t mean it as a put down --because I do like the relaxed nature of BJJ-- but BJJ has always half-assed the traditions while simultaneously clinging to them.

Carlos Sr trained for --what?-- a couple years then taught his juvenile delinquent brothers. It’s in no way surprising that the subtleties of traditional Japanese Budo & Bujutsu etiquette were not “properly” transmitted in full. --And, one could well argue, maybe they shouldn’t have been transmitted at all?

But, either way, BJJ & Japanese etiquette are always strange bedfellows.


But the hands on the front thigh is better for back issues.

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Great point

I like the relaxed BJJ vibe

But the select Japanese traditions, some wrong, are interesting

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This is a very good point. It does seem to have a cargo-cult vibe to it. I’ve been at schools that do a half-assed imitation of the rituals, but it seems like they’re not sure why they do them.

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If you’re an American BJJ practitioner you’re basically doing an imitation of a Brazilian guy’s idea of what Japanese people act like. It’s kinda interesting.

As a child, my first martial art was a style of Japanese/Hawaiian Jujitsu (not a strictly Japanese art) which OVER TIME as it existed in America became more and more “Japanese” in the hands of the Americans who ran it.

I started training that art again as an adult (18 years later) and in the meantime a lot of changes took place: Black Belts began wearing Hakamas in formal situations, promotions became more elaborate & ritualistic, people were getting physical scrolls of techniques as they sat in seiza, seated bowing was done, etc. --I mean they went full Benihana; the style became more what Americans THINK Japanese martial arts are supposed to be like.

Oddly the Japanese themselves didn’t do this with the Chinese Martial Arts they learned. Instead they made them their own; they made them Japanese.