No, absolutely not. Aikido is not a religion and we do not preach any religion. The bowing that you see simply shows humility of oneself, respect for the dojo and the other practitioners and thankfulness for the opportunity to train in Aikido and the gifts that aikido and the dojo experience bestows. Because Aikido is a Japanese art it retains the traditional custom of bowing as a mutual sign of respect and appreciation. However, if that bowing conflicts with one’s religious beliefs it is not required-so long as mutual respect, appreciation, thankfulness and humility are still sincerely demonstrated to others and to the dojo. Aikido, though not a religion, definitely has its spiritual aspects. It supports the basic tenets of all religions in that we must seek to understand, respect and love both ourselves and all others – even our enemies. Since Aikido is based on the philosophy, ethics and wisdom of mutual protection it encourages this mutual respect, understanding and love within its physical practice. Therefore, men, women & children of any and all religions practice aikido together at Aikido Center of Lancaster as they do all over the world regardless of sex, creed, color, size or shape. Friendships result and a sense of both local and global community are developed and shared.