REI is based on the respect of human dignity, and the willingness to express this respect. It is a way of improving relationship between individuals and is a contributing factor to social harmony.

SETSU is the way to express this concept in action, Those who practice Karatedo must deepen their understanding of the spirit of Rei, and in inter-personal relationships, strictly observe the rules of Setsu. DOJO KUN Narated by Kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa here : Rei & Setsu

  • Strive to perfect character
  • Defend the paths of truth
  • Guard against rash courage
  • Foster the spirit of effort
  • Honour the rules of etiquette
  • Hitotsu. Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutomuro Koto.
  • Hitotsu. Makoto no Michi wo Mamoru Koto.
  • Hitotsu. Doryoku no Seishin o Yashinau Koto.
  • Hitotsu. Reigi o Omonzuru Koto.
  • Hitotsu. Kekki no Yu o Imashimuru Koto.

REI (BOW, Etiquette)

The first lesson in KARATE begins with the practice of REI. Then it is always practiced and reminded. Its importance is stressed even more when beginning training in KUMITE.

Only those who understand the depth of its meaning reach a high level of proficiency. KARATE-DO is a martial art and as such has no end or explanation in itself. It is through a process of hard training and rigorous discipline that we try to understand and reach the Way (MICHI or DO). Master FUNAKOSHI was fully aware of its importance as he often reminded his students of it, and one of the twenty principles (SHOTO NIJUKKUN) is that KARATE begins with REI and ends with REI.

The REI may be defined as the will to establish a relationship based on mutual trust, goodwill, understanding, and respect of individual feelings by showing our respect. In society, it is a means of maintaining harmony between people for a better society. The REIGI is the code (SAHO), or the way of expressing this concept. Those who learn KARATE-DO must understand the depth of the meaning of REI and always behave according to the principles of REIGI.

KARATE-DO is natural and should be applied to daily living. In practice REI is a ceremony or a formality by which two people facing each other exchange mutual signs of their respect and trust.

SAHO: How to execute correctly the REI in training or in KUMITE.

The two partners face each other, in the position SHIZENTAI HACHIJI DACHI, they assume the position MUSUBI DACHI (heels together), the attacker bringing his right foot to his left foot and the defender his left foot to his right. They look at each other in the eyes for a moment. Then, leaning forward with the upper body straight, at an angle of approximately 30 degrees with a total view of the opponent’s lower body without staring at any specific point (one second). They straighten up, look at each other in the eyes and then resume the stance HACHIJI DACHI (the feet return to their original position). When they are ready to begin (KISEI), they assume their respective stances.

For instance, in GOHON, SANBON and KIHON IPPON KUMITE, from their respective stances, at a certain distance (MAAI) from SHIZENTAI HACHIJI DACHI (Natural stance), the attacker steps back with his right foot (or left) to assume ZENKUTSU DACHI (front stance), HIDARI GEDAN BARAI (left or right gedan bari downward arm block) or (MIGI) and informs his opponent of the target and type of attack, while the defender maintains his position. The attacker must retreat. This is part of the REIGI towards his partner.

After each execution, each returns to his initial position of SHIZENTAI HACHIJI DACHI by inhaling while bringing the displaced foot back, then exhaling while tensing the abdomen (HARA) with the feeling that the KIis in the lower abdomen ready for the next movement.

It is of utmost importance that breathing is linked to the proper movement and awareness of the situation, whether executing REI, taking a position, or practicing KUMITE. Always remember that breathing has a very great influence not only on the health, but also on the physique, ability, technical level (power-speed) and the brain of person.

(Selected from the book – S.K.I. Kumite Kyohan by Soke Kanazawa)