Book-Ending Classes


In jujitsu we’d start every class with a semi-formal bowing ceremony. More formal than we do in judo, but less formal than what the Bujinkan group used to do. Everyone would line up by rank. Kiotsuke! Seiza. Mokuso… Mokuso yame. Sensei ni rei. If you were going to do it in English, it’d be something like “Stand up straight. Kneel. Meditate. (after a minute or two of quiet contemplation) Okay, we’re done meditating, bow to the instructor.” Class ended the same way it began.

The jujitsu bowing ceremony’s meditation was nice because it was a time to delineate between mat time from the rest of life. You meditate to start class so no one is thinking about normal life stuff like what they’ll be eating later. You meditate to end class so people can come down from a high adrenaline state and be ready to be normal people again when they step off the mat. It was nice.

When I run class we stretch between rolling and lining up. That’s just how it is. No one has complained about it. A few people have actively commented that they enjoy it. For me it serves the same purpose as that meditation period – it’s quiet contemplation so you can come down from the adrenaline of rolling and be ready to go back into the normal world. It doesn’t hurt that it helps my back feel better or that we all end up with more flexible hips. But my point for it is really to help myself (and hopefully others) chill before we formally end class. I don’t feel like we need any more than the warm-up to get into class mode. Having someone yelling “sprawl!” as you run is usually enough to get your heart going and keep you from thinking about too much else.

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