Q: Is it permissible to bow down before the instructor in karate?
The works of the jurists suggests that bowing down when doing karate is a Makruh (disliked) act and should be abstained from. Although if one bows down to the sensai without the intention of worship, but merely as a gesture of respect or greeting , one will not become a Kaafir.
(for further information please refer to the Arabic texts like Shaami: 6, 383 & Hindiyyah: 4, 481)
Mufti Shafiq Jakhura
Iftaa Department, Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre
I concur with the answer:
Mufti Zubair Bayat
Ameer, Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre