It is important to abide by both the etiquette and the rules in judo, as well as in many other forms of martial art.
To bow or to “rei” in judo is a mark of respect. Judoka will rei in several different situations, in two different ways. You can refer to these two methods either using their individual names, or by using the word “rei” which encompasses them both, at the club we tend to do the latter to keep things simple. it is important to note that the rei is sometimes misinterpreted as a form of prayer or worship; it is not religious in any way and only serves as a sign of respect.
Zarei (seated bow)
A seated bow or “zarei” is done before and after both sessions and newaza (groundwork fights). zarei is done from a kneeling position; to kneel properly one should rest their hands on their thighs and straighten their back. At the beginning and end of a session, players will be told to “line up”, at which point players will form a line in grade order (white belt at the bottom, yellow, orange, green, blue, and brown belts at the top) and the dan grades (black belts) will sit opposite. while we are all in a kneeling positions, the sensei often says a few words (during which noone else is to speak), the highest grade in the line wait for the sensei to turn and face Joseki and will shout “shomen ni rei!” and everyone zareis at the same time. The highest grade will wait for the sensei to turn around to face the line and the shout "sensei ni rei" and everyone zareis at the same time. At the end of the class, this shall be done in reverse order; 'sensei ni rei", then "shomen ni rei". To zarei you place your hands on the floor, and then press your forehead to the ground.
Ritsu-rei (standing bow)
A standing bow or “Ritsu-rei” is used before and after randori (sparring), competitional judo fights and during kata (demonstrational judo), it can also be used as a general mark of respect. You should ritzu-rei when stepping onto and off of the mat and should be facing the pictures of the dan graded judoka at the end of the room. To perform a ritsu-rei, you should stand up straight with your legs together and bend your upper body forwards about until your hands reach your kneecaps.
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