Bowing to the training hall is a way to give special attention to the place where you train. Bowing to partners is also a way of showing respect to those you work with. It gives you a greater sense of awareness of where you are and who you are with. Obviously this carries over to other areas of your life.
I’m not one for rules. They can be annoying, but for some reason I’ve always felt that the rules of the Dojo have special significance. They don’t over-do rules at the Dojo, at least not where I’ve trained. But it’s easy to understand the rules. They are simply a way to show that we respect each other and feel that our training and where we train are special. It is a way to signify that we care about what we are doing and who we are with.
Noticeably, the people you train with actually feel that way about it. I’ve never run into a disrespectful person at the Dojo. This is also why I consider bowing and the Dojo rules meaningful. It’s not like other areas of life in which the rules are followed by the worst of hypocrites. The Dojo is a place where those rules actually have meaning.
It’s not merely a following of tradition that makes bowing important. Bowing makes us aware of the significance of place, people and actions. It is a way to give attention to the world in which you live and to respect people, places and activity.
This is why bowing and respect is so important.