Rei, Reiho, Reigi - What are they, and what are the differences among them?
Grab a nice cuppa (tea, coffee, matcha, beer, wine, or whatever you fancy...), settle down, and let's have a look.
Note: The exact techniques on Reigi is beyond the scope of this article, and it is more appropriate to consult your Senseis and Sempais on such matters.
'Rei' translated means 'courtesy'. In this respect, 'Reiho' outlines the principles of courtesy/ respect. 'Reigi' may be interpreted as the actions & accompanying techniques of conveying courtesy/ respect.
Collectively, they form a critical aspect in physical, mental, and spiritual training; the inculcating of values essential to character building. Therefore, they should not be overlooked as part of the practice. The assessment of proficiencies begins from Reigi, before the wazas. It should come at no surprise that it forms a part of the assessment in Shinsa.
In the context of Iaido, the practice sessions begin and end with Reigi (expressing thanks and gratitude to fellow practitioners, Sensei, and the Bokuto/ Iaito). Some might wonder about the emphasis on Rei - 'Yes, it is important... but why exactly?" or "Are we doing it simply because it is part of keeping the tradition?"
Iaido is a living art, in the sense that the principles, and teachings are refined and passed on from generation to generation. Rei brings a balance to the table and helps rounds off the waza and technical strengths. At a higher level, it is an anchor to help keep practitioners rooted in mutual respect in interactions.
By now your hot beverages should be cool enough to enjoy. Enjoy~
Til next, stay safe and take care.