In a fight or self defense situation attitude is everything, technique or skill sets are beneficial and will reduce your risk of attack and injury, but the right attitude will determine whether you survive or not and how you deal with it emotionally afterwards.
Let me stress this now. Unless you are psychotic you will not walk away from a violent altercation unscathed, you may be uninjured physically but there is a psychological damage anytime a person faces violence. Violence is a horrible traumatic event that can stay with you long after your physical injuries have healed. Think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Once again use your tactical training, street awareness and common sense to avoid trouble whenever possible. But if you are forced to face violence and defend yourself or others, your attitude is of vital importance. Think Rocky Balboa or John McClane in the Die Hard movies. That never-give-up attitude, no matter what. Once you’re in a fight you must keep fighting until you’re safe or the last breath has left your body. Attitude is everything, it’s why you hear of grandmothers fighting off would be muggers with their purse, and martial arts trainees being attacked. Some of this attitude comes out of years of life experience but can also be developed in the dojo (training hall). There is an old karate saying, “The more blood, sweat and tears shed in the dojo, the less you shed on the street”.
Determine today to make the decision (and train it in the dojo) to do whatever it takes to protect yourself. You may be hurt, you may even be bleeding, but you must keep on fighting until the fight is over. You will know it’s over when you are safe or have escaped the situation. A part of the right attitude to keep fighting no matter what means if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. If a kick doesn’t work, try punching, if punching doesn’t work try elbows or knees, or biting, clawing or poking. Keep fighting until your safe, your attacker is not a threat or backs off to find an easier victim.
Don’t believe your attacker, just because they say they won’t hurt you, doesn’t make it a fact. Stay alert and aware of all possible threats. A few years ago a group of nurses sharing a house together, woke up to find an armed intruder in their home. The burglar brought them all together in one bedroom, assuring them he would not hurt them that he only wanted money and jewellery to feed his drug habit. One at a time he took each nurse to their room leaving the other scared and alone. One of the nurses urged her friends to overpower the intruder when he returned to the room. To scared to work together they argued if they did what he wanted he would leave them alone. Hoping the intruder had not counted his victims before locking the door, she hid under the bed as each of her friends was led from the room. She only climbed out the next morning when an alarm clock was not turned off, to find her friends and colleagues, stabbed to death. She lived because she refused to believe her attacker.
Another reason not to believe any attacker is if you appear too passive the crime may escalate. Quite often minor crimes become combination crimes, a mugger facing no resistance on demanding a purse decides to rape or assault a victim.
Preparation for an encounter is a necessity. A self defense course is a good start, regular martial arts training is even better. This preparation is similar to wearing a seat belt when you get in a car. When you strap yourself in, you are not saying “today I expect to have a car accident”. But you are prepared in case somebody else driving has a bad day. You must develop the same heightened awareness and casualness about self defence. Being aware of your surroundings, potential threats and your own actions can all lead to better threat management. All this plus regular training can insure you don’t become a victim.
In becoming prepared to fight you must ask yourself, “What are you afraid of?” And give yourself an honest answer. Are you afraid walking down the street? Are you afraid to ride public transport? Are you afraid when you see a particular type of person? Facing your fears and planning strategies to counter or avoid these situations will diminish your fears and empower you if you are forced into a situation.
Research has shown that forceful physical and verbal resistance strategies (e.g., biting, hitting, fighting back, yelling, screaming, forcefully fleeing or using a weapon, martial arts or other physical self-defense techniques) are effective in thwarting assaults on women. Moreover, these strategies do not appear to significantly increase the risk of serious injury.
Conversely, non-forceful strategies (e.g., pleading, crying, reasoning) and not resisting (e.g., freezing) are generally not effective. Some evidence suggests that passive strategies can even increase the risk of injury.
Fighting back also has mental health benefits. According to Judith Herman, M.D., author of “Trauma & Recovery,” “The women who fought to the best of their abilities were not only more likely to be successful in thwarting the rape attempt, but less likely to suffer severe distress symptoms even if their efforts ultimately failed. By contrast, women who submitted without a struggle were more likely to be highly self critical and depressed in the aftermath.”
I’m not suggesting that you should always fight back in a sexual assault. There’s no substitute for good judgment in the moment. Only you can assess all the variables. What’s most important is remembering that you possess the option to fight, and the readiness of heart and presence of mind to back it up. This means becoming physically literate in the strategies of combat.
The 1st rule of street awareness is to trust your instincts, 90% of people in prison probably fit the stereotype. A gut feeling or instinct could probable be explained by your senses (RAS) picking up something unconsciously. Ignoring your instincts to be fair to a stranger or potential attacker is being unfair to yourself. Better to keep yourself safe then putting yourself in harm’s way so as not to offend a stranger passing by on the street. Crossing the street and risking offending someone you don’t like the look of, is far better than being attacked or killed by someone you don’t like the look of. Remember criminals won’t always look the part, pick pockets could be dressed in 3 piece suits, or that child running up and down the train/luas/bus, or the little old lady who is a professional shop lifter.
When outside of the house, your awareness must act like a radar, constantly scanning for danger. The American army uses a colour coding system, think traffic lights, to assess the threat level. Green means no danger (sitting at home watching TV), orange means being aware there is a potential for danger but none has been identified (riding a bus, walking through town, being in a bar), red means imminent danger, you are under threat and in danger. Good common sense and tactical training, should insure you always stay in the green, and you will take decisive action if you enter a level orange.
The interview is basically a precursor to a fight. It’s the set up. From a self defence view point, you should never engage in “the interview”. Avoiding the interview is the only sure fire way to avoid a fight. Some variations of the interview, allow you to avoid a fight, some variations mean no matter what answer you give a fight can happen. An example of the first kind, could be a potential mugger/attacker, asking you do you know the time? A simple confident no and a refusal to be stopped, could avoid trouble. This response also works with someone asking for a light. The act of looking at your watch or reaching for a cigarette lighter, can be enough of a distraction for an attacker to launch a surprise blitz attack.
Other forms of the interview, means no matter what response you give, a fight is unavoidable. Failing to engage is the only way to avoid trouble, act like you never heard the question. An example of this could be, are you looking at my girlfriend? Answer yes and your attacker can act offended and defensive that you where staring at his girlfriend and start a fight. Answer no and he can claim you are calling his girlfriend ugly and start a fight. Remember in a interview your attacker holds all the cards, no matter what your response if he wants a fight he will start one.
Another example this time in a bar, would be someone claiming you spilt their drink. Deny you spilt the drink and you attacker will claim you are calling him a liar. Say you did spill his drink and that is an excuse to start a fight. Even in this situation being diplomatic and offering to buy a new drink can enrage someone looking to start a fight.
Interviews come in many different ways but they are all designed to force you into a confrontation or to distract you from another threat. As a friend of mine experienced abroad, a young child kicked a football at him as he walked down the street, in the confusion that followed another child stole his wallet and ran away. That person pressing against you in the queue, to get on the bus or train may in fact be robbing you, leaving you stranded as the doors close, watching your mugger casually walk away.
Elite Karate Academy will host a free Self Defence Seminar on Saturday 4th November 2017 between 1pm-3pm. Places are limited and only by advanced booking. Contact us on here or on Facebook or text/phone 086 822 4902 to secure a place. We will be covering simple effective techniques, tactical training, armed attack survival, threat management, fight psychology and street awareness. All the topics about to be covered in this 4 part free online course.
TRUST YOUR INSTICTS, ALWAYS. Being fair to a potential attacker is being unfair to yourself. If you feel unsafe/unsure/threatened take action, better to prejudge a stranger wrongly then allow yourself to enter an unsafe situation. Thinking like an attacker/criminal and being aware of potential threats, and taking steps to avoid compromising situations, will greatly reduce the risks of you being a victim of a crime or attack.
Remember all cases will be treated independently in a court of law, maybe months or years after the event. Always use reasonable force in defending yourself. Only you can decide if you must use physical force to defend yourself.
When human beings communicate 7% is verbal, 38% is tonality, and 55% is physiology or body language. Your brain processes approximately 2,000,000 pieces of data through your five senses every second. To maintain your sanity, this deluge is filtered through a network of cells in your brain so only a minute proportion of the information gets through to the brain. This network is called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS works like antenna noticing stimuli and alerting your brain to pay attention. The RAS lets in only data that meets one of the following 3 criteria:
- It is important to your survival. For example when you are in a deep sleep but wake up because you hear a strange noise in the house of if you are walking and in a daydream you will be alerted to traffic bearing down on you.
- it has novelty value
- it has a high emotional content. For example the survival aspect also applies to others than yourself and you will be alert instantly if your baby’s breathing changes but sleep through your husband’s snoring or mumbling in his sleep.
With some forethought and mental training, the RAS can be trained to be more alert to potential risks. So trust your instincts, you may have noticed something you were unaware of at the time, i.e. a gesture, or a weapon.
When something shocks us, we typically freeze, and that’s what the bad guys rely on. The key to not freezing is having a plan. Plan your run, your trip home, how you will exit your home in case of fire, if somebody threatens or attempts to causes you harm.
If you see an unsavoury character or potential threat ahead of you on the street, cross the street, if it is an innocent member of the public nothing happens, if the person crosses after you, he/she has given you some notice of their intentions.
When passing a group on the street you must take in to a number of factors. Firstly that group may have been there for a long time and is probably bored. By continuing to walk into the midst you may be presenting them with a pleasant diversion. If there are displaying mocking fighting or rough housing behaviour beware they could start this on you if you give them the chance. If you must walk through a group or gang, beware of groups that try and stop you with a question. Do you have a match? Do you have the time? This is called the “interview” and may be used to distract you to pick pocket you or attack you. As long as you keep walking they won’t be able to corner you. Do not engage them in conversation either, they have all the answers, and some statements no matter how you answer them will lead to a fight.
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! What about carrying a fake/empty wallet?
A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
- Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor and in the back seat.
- If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars. Hopefully this is more appropriate for the US of America…
- Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side… If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
As women, you are taught to always try and be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
If you think you are being followed, walking into a shop or knock on the door of a house. If the person remains outside, phone the police. DO NOT LEAD THEM TO YOUR HOME.
Not all criminals are adults. Unfortunately in this day and age young children are trained to be criminals. The child running around on the train or street may be trained to pick pockets etc.
Verbal street harassment, by acknowledging it, you are giving him what he want; attention. Sticks and stones can break you bones, but words should never hurt you. It can be humiliating or offensive but you gain nothing by answering, but risk the situation escalating.
Getting into a taxi notice the taxi number? Is the driver displaying his details? Tell the taxi driver you are texting a friend or family member his taxi number, legitimate drivers will not be offended and will greatly reduce the risk of you being attacked.
When running, plan your route be at your freshest at the darkest dangerous part of the run. Bad guys don’t work office hours. Many rapists have described woman running as akin a “call of the wild”.
You’re in a parking garage and you’re loaded down with lots of shopping bags. This is an ideal opportunity for an attacker.
- Walk toward your car with your keys ready. Don’t be distracted with your shopping bags.
- If he’s asking for your property — purse, money, car keys — give it to him.
- Run, preferably toward a well lit, public area where there will be people.
- If he’s trying to get you into your vehicle, fight! Scream, scratch, bite, kick, strike — do as much damage as possible to stun the attacker, so you can run away. If possible take your keys with you.
- Use your environment. In survival confrontations, everything at hand can be used to help you escape. Throw your keys, purse, coins, sand, gravel, rocks at the attacker’s face. Use it as a distraction so you can escape.
- Don’t get into a vehicle with the attacker. You never want to let him take you to a second location. Statistically, it is not in your best interest. If you get into the vehicle, he has a much better opportunity to drive to a quiet place where you’ll be 100 percent at his mercy and have no way of getting help. Even if he’s pointing a knife or gun at you, do whatever you can to get away. It’s much more likely that he will leave to find an easier target than chase you and draw attention to himself.
You’re at the ATM and have just gotten cash. As you walk away, you’re distracted with putting your money away.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. The number one self-defense technique is being aware of potential threats. Know what the possible dangers are. Note where the exits are.
- Notice the people in your area. Make eye contact — aggressors tend to back down if they notice you noticing them.
- Put your money into a pocket immediately.
- If you see a suspicious person nearby watching you, change your route and walk in the opposite direction.
- Act confident. Do not act or look like an easy target.
- Don’t be oblivious of your surroundings.
- Don’t count your money or be putting it in your purse as you walk away. This distracts you and is a perfect opportunity for the attacker.
- Don’t wander without direction. Walk briskly, head up, with purpose. Don’t look intimidated
Self Defence Course Part 3 – Fight Psychology coming soon (the mindset of self defense)
Self Defence Course Part 4 – Street Awareness coming soon (being more aware of danger)
ELITE KARATE ACADEMY NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2017
Welcome to our October Newsletter. This email newsletter will hopefully keep you up to date with all you need to know about what’s going on in Elite Karate Academy over the coming months. Please feel free to share this newsletter with family and friends, I hope you find it informative. Feel free to comment on our Facebook (insert link here) page with comments and be sure to like our page while you’re there. Sign up for our newsletter at https://www.elitekarateacademy.com/contact-us/
News – Updates – Events
- There is a grading coming up shortly for eligible students. Click the following links to view the child’s syllabus or adult’s syllabus, to view what you need for your next grade.
- If you wish you can now pay your fees by Credit/Debit Card or set up a Standing Order, simply ask for a standing order form to complete the next time you are in the dojo.
- Join for 2 months in October and get a third free for new members in Child/Adult Karate Classes.
- As of 1st September 2017, absolutely no class credit will be given without prior consent. Unfortunately, every summer a minority of parents abuse my goodwill. You cannot go swimming or to the cinema and pay later, so too with karate classes. Students, especially below green belt, who owe class fees will be made to sit out the class. Do not put me or your child in this situation.
- Parents now get an email 7 days before fees are due and another email the day the fees are due. Students will also receive a card on their last prepaid class.
- Donations for St Vincent de Paul of clothes, bedding, toys, books, household items, DVDs etc. as always may be dropped off at the dojo anytime.
- Saturday 4th November 2017, we will be running a free 2 hour free self defence seminar for parents and adults. See info further down for details.
- Saturday 11th November 2017 Parent/Child train together class. See link below.
- That so many of you recommend our Academy is a great source of pride for me. Please go our Facebook page and write a review your club and it may be posted on our website.
- As always parents are invited to join either our Cardio Combat Fitness Boot Camp. Ask Sensei about a FREE TRIAL.
- I have Elite Karate Academy T-shirts back in stock in all sizes from child 5-6 through to adult XL
Free Self Defence Seminar
ELITE KARATE ACADEMY WILL HOST A FREE SELF DEFENCE SEMINAR ON SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2017 BETWEEN 1PM-3PM.
PLACES ARE LIMITED AND ONLY BY ADVANCED BOOKING. CONTACT US ON TEXT/PHONE 086 822 4902 TO SECURE A PLACE.
COURSE CONTENT WILL BE COVERING SIMPLE EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUES, ONES ANYONE CAN LEARN AND REMEMBER.
TACTICAL TRAINING, WHAT TO DO IN A THREATENING SITUATION.
ARMED ATTACK SURVIVAL, HOW TO DEAL WITH EDGED WEAPONS.
THREAT MANAGEMENT, HOW TO HANDLE OR AVOID A SCARY SITUATION.
FIGHT PSYCHOLOGY, THE MINDSET OF A FIGHT, MAKING A DECISION TO STAY SAFE AND
STREET AWARENESS. RAISING YOUR AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS AROUND YOU.
ALL THE TOPICS WILL BE COVERED IN OUR 4 PART FREE ONLINE COURSE. PART 1 AVAILABLE HERE
TO SIGN UP WE SIMPLY REQUIRE A NAME AND CONTACT NUMBER OR EMAIL, USE OUR CONTACT US PAGE OR ON FACEBOOK OR TEXT/PHONE 086 822 4902. PLACES WILL BE LIMITED AND ARE ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS. PARTICIPANTS MUST BE OVER 15 YEARS OF AGE.
Tell Your friends share the link
Online Self Defence Course
We are also running a 4 part online self defence course in conjunction with the above seminar. Follow the link to share or read some tips for self defence.
Parent/Child train at home together
There is nothing better then a parent who wants to see their children improve. Helping your child train at home is a great bonding experience and helps improve your childs performance and keeps them motivated. Elite Karate Academy will run a run a hour and half seminar for parent & students to teach parents some simple drills and exercises to train together at home. Click the link to find out more.
Anyone interested in starting Yoga on a Saturday morning click the link for details
Student of the Month
This month’s student of the month is Roisin Kavanagh. Click here to follow her story.
The winner of this year’s summer photo competition was Sean Smith winner the titled Sean Claude Van Damme. Click here to view.
Cardio Combat Introductory Offer Get Fit – Lose Weight Before Christmas
This October we’re offering a special offer on our Cardio Combat Fitness Classes to any new participant. Class are high intensity interval training adapted for your fitness level and are designed for fitness and weight loss. The class consists of karate, circuits, core and ab work and is ideal for beginners. Participants must be over 15 years of age and not tried the classes before in order to avail of the offer. Click the link for our amazing special offer.
Every week we have new blogs on our website. Click the links to read about
Dojo Kun Programme – Most club’s dojo rules consist of no shouting, no chewing gum etc. Our Dojo Kun program teaches your child 25 rules of life. These rules teach your child how to follow and make their dreams come true, through hard work, passion and dedication.
Elite Karate Academy teaches our students how karate training can improve their lives. Read more in our blog section below.
Word of the Week – Our word of the week program teaches 14 core values to your child in a 5 minute ‘mat chat’ within their normal class. Your child will grow as people not just stronger and fitter. Read the lessons in our blog section.
Our 14 words are: Courtesy, Growth, Honesty, Obedience, Courage, Sincerity, Humility, Perserverance, Honour, Loyalty, Self Control, Knowledge, Respect, Integrity.
Elite Mental Training – This program teaches students the mental strategy of fighting, topics introduced can be used in all areas of life, reducing stress and increasing mental well being. Read some lessons covered in our blog section below.
Anti Bullying Programme – We teach your child how to deal with bullying in a non aggressive way without having to resort to violence. A great program for boosting confidence and self belief. This starts in September.
That so many of you praise our Academy is huge source of pride to me. Please write a review/testimonial here. They will then be added to our website. Student / parents or both may write a review and you may write a new one if you wrote one before.
Each Month I will be posting teaching videos on our Academy’s channel on the grading syllabus for students to train at home. These videos will have points for parents to watch out for in order that they may help their child learn and improve quicker.
Any Student who got their grading Passport for the first time last September, it is now due for renewal. Renewal Fee for the year is €10 and can be paid in class. Students cannot grade without an up to date passport.
To ask is a moments shame. Not to ask and remain ignorant, is a lifelong shame.
Increase exercise daily is small manageable ways. Walk up escalators instead of standing still, take the stairs instead of the lift. Park further from work and walk the remaining way. Walk down one flight of stairs then take the life the rest of the way.
All of our circumstances in life are a reflection of your subconscious beliefs. That voice that plays incessently in your head, guiding you to success or failure. Giving you all you belief you deserve or think you are worth. Thankfully once you become aware of this tape their are many techniques available to change it. Check out NLP techniques or BCT techniques, which I will cover later in this series.
To change your subconscious beliefs we using auto suggestions. Specially chosen tapes we can use to rewire the voice in your head, to achieve success. This can work very simply, by changing how you view yourself, you can change your behaviour, which in turn changes how you see yourself. Think of wanting to own your own home. You start to imagine yourself owning your own home, liking the idea of becoming a homeowner. So you start to change your behaviour, you spend less, you go out less, start to save more. As you savings increase you start to make more sacrifice in order to get the money together. Then when you have enough to start to view houses and seeing banks. Eventually taking out a mortage and buying a home. In time becoming the homeowner you wanted to be.
Subconscious beliefs start with changing how you think about yourself, which in turn changes your behaviour, which in turns gets you what you inititially wanted. These auto suggestions can work on any thing you wish to change in your life, weight loss, friendships, romance, money, or any goal. 1st step involves working out your current subconscious belief
What is Social Bullying?
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. More likely to happen in primary school then in secondary school, and also more likely to happen to girls more then boys.
Social bullying includes:
*Leaving someone out on purpose
*Telling other children not to be friends with someone
*Spreading rumors about someone
*Embarrassing someone in public
The effect o social bullying?
There are many effects of social bullying. There are effects like depression that can lead to suicide. think the four main effects are low self-esteem, the victim feels rejected, unwanted or hated. Rejected and unwanted because if a group of person bullies you and treat you like if you’re nothing, you’ll feel like nobody likes you and then you’ll feel rejected. Hated because when you’re a victim, you know that the bully hates you. Your self-esteem won’t be as good as a normal person. These four words are the ones that say the most about how the victim of social bullying feels. I think the word unwanted describes better how the victim feels than unloved and unpopular, but they are still good words to show how the victim feels. Humiliated, intimidated and inferior are also good words to describe the victim’s feelings.
Dealing with it
Support your child emotionally. Let them know its ok to feel upset, talking can have a huge effect, also knowing someone will listen can greatly help. Concentrating on other friends can help also. Ignoring the excluding children, or making light of their behaviour or focusing on friendships with other children can be good tactics in trying to move on from the situation. However, it is important to acknowledge that for many children who feel socially excluded these tactics can be very hard to put into practice. Feeling excluded can make you feel powerless and isolated, especially when there is more than one child involved.
For advice on dealing with it read this report from the Irish Times
When we stand in the dojo (training hall) we have some rules. But the purpose of these rules is not to make everyone the same, but to allow each to express their own self more freely.
We must own our own physical bodies… We must exist right here, right now… When we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way.
But usually, without being aware of it, we try to change something other than ourselves, we try to order things outside us. But it is impossible to organise things if you yourself are not in order.
Studying books on karate is a kind of food for your brain. Of course it is necessary to take some food for your brain, but it is more important to be yourself by practicing the right way of life (karate).
Referring back to the story of the hole in the ground (majority of people will say the hole is too deep, never their arm is too short) you must practice coming back to ourselves. Not blaming the external world without 1st looking at the internal. Time spent training is time away from your everyday life, what happens before you train is forgotten, what will happen after you finish training is forgotten. This time is your time, to focus on the now, to focus on you now. A timeout from the worries of your world. Train the correct mind set, to be focused, to be strong, to be determined, to be confident, to be self aware, to be present in the here and now. Practice the correct form, practice the correct mindset. Practice become habit and habit become a way of life, if the practice is right…
When we train in our dojo we have some rules. But the purpose of these rules is not to make everyone the same, but to allow each student to express their own self more freely.
Take Yoi or ready stance as an example. Standing feet shoulder width apart, hands clenched loosely, unmoving looking straight ahead. This ready stance allows movement in all direction and all poosibilities exsist. A shy person is able to stand and learn confidence in this posture, while a loud or arrogant person can stand and express humility. Both students training the same thing from different ends of the spectrum.
Other traditions like wearing the traditional suits, allows students to feel a part of a club, which they associate with the emblem on the chest. It also makes everyone the same, not male or female, rich or poor, only their belt around their waist gives them any rank.
The japanese system is based on a junior – senior relationship. With the Sensei (Instructor) as the head of the family, with senior (Sempai) members acting as older brothers/sisters to their junior (Kohai) lower graded members. Senior students instuct junior students under the watchful eye of their Sensei. Senesi should always be referred to as such, never by their birth name, this is a matter of humility, courtesy and respect.. Respect is paramount in the martial arts and your Sensei has travelled further down the path you’re on. He is there to guide you over the obstacles they have already conquered.
Bowing is a act of humility and respect. It is not religious but an act of humility. Does your ego refuse to allow you to show respect to yourself or others. Bowing is showing respect to your dojo, thank a training partner for allowing you the chance to improve, or bowing to your own potential to reach your authentic self, and sometimes recognising the difference in rank between yourself and who you’re bowing too.