…In the measure that we are human, should we not wish to live in a world which loves and values its children? In order to build a society based on mutual respect, what would you think of bringing back to the light that etiquette that some have wanted to discard like an old, useless piece of furniture but which nevertheless is part of the common heritage of all humanity.
Let us consider the simple fact of placing your shoes carefully [in the shoe-rack]: this teaches us to classify and to place tidily, and allows us to feel the satisfaction that comes from that, and the importance of this state of mind. To accomplish with care an act, is to be already preparing the conditions favorable to the accomplishment of the following act, and precisely because of that, to be [preparing the conditions favorable] to the practice of budo.
The world of rei is not only about achieving personal satisfaction. The satisfaction that others feel is also a part of it. The development of aesthetic awareness creates the need to put tidily in their place the shoes of other people if they are not in their right place.
If the spirit of gratitude towards a kohai expresses itself just by this thought: “Thank-you for having enabled me to work well today”, the kohai will be happy, just the same as if one thanks one’s sempai for their teaching, they will be pleased. Etiquette, like everything else, should be worked out in one’s inner self: that is to say that your spirit should imbue every gesture. It is grotesque to have to say “Respect me because I am your sempai“, “Place me on a pedestal because I am your Sensei”. Respect towards a sempai should not be dictated or requested, the kohai should quite naturally have the wish to respect his sempai. As for the sempai, he takes care of his kohai precisely because the kohai occupies the position that he does, and by that, deserves to be included and considered. The spirit of gratitude, of respect, of recognition, when it imbues your etiquette, is felt quite naturally by the other party.
So etiquette rules reciprocal relationships. Hierarchy is created quite naturally when etiquette is respected. It is absolutely essential that etiquette should be the expression of the humanity of your heart. It is not good enough to bow according to a pattern. If the heart is not inhabited by respect, the pattern will be an empty shell without a soul. You must respect the personality of the other party. Acts which conform to the rules of etiquette create and nurture a pure heart and a noble attitude. I tend to think that a sense of compassion is in a very simple manner linked to harmony and peace.
You must engrave this in your spirit in order to [be people who can] pass on etiquette and discipline.
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– – – Tamura Nobuyoshi Shihan, Aikido, étiquette et transmission pp. 36-37