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Dojo Manners and Etiquette


Most students know the proper way to act in the dojo. There are certain things that are done out of respect for your teacher, your dojo, and your heart in general.

A lot of dojo etiquette is simple common sense. We all know most of it.

Bow when you enter the dojo.

Bow when you enter the training area.

Bow to upper belts and especially Sensei when you approach them to ask a question or have a conversation.

You can NEVER bow enough.

NEVER say “yeah” in the dojo to Sensei. This is a personal peeve of mine. “Yeah” is an offensive word when you are speaking to your teacher. “Hai” which means “yes” in Japanese or “Osu” (pronounced ohss) are acceptable.

When sitting and watching others demonstrate kata or kumite you should limit you’re talking or not speak at all. Instead pay attention to what is going on. Not only is this showing respect to your Sensei and fellow karateka, you might learn something that would actually benefit your own training.

When sitting in the dojo sit in the seiza (kneeling) position or cross legged in an “Indian style” position. NEVER lean back on your hands, lay down on the floor, or lean back on a wall!

Make sure your uniform is clean. You should have a bit of pride in what you are doing. What kind of pride is there in having a uniform with punch stains on it or one that hasn’t been washed in a month? Also try to keep it as wrinkle free as you can.
You should also make sure YOU are clean. Good hygiene is very important. Not only does it show you care about yourself but that you respect others. If you’ve ever lined up next to someone who REALLY needs a shower you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Trim your finger and toe nails. A scratch can easily get infected.

Take off your jewelry before you practice. Wedding rings are acceptable in my dojo as long as there isn’t a 200 karat rock on it that can injure someone. Not only can piercings, watches, rings, and other jewelry cause injury to yourself and others, the Japanese had some pretty strict ideas about self- adornment while training. In the dojo you are working to better yourself. It was thought that jewelry would show that you were being self -absorbed and also take the attention of others off of what they were doing to focus on you.

Use your time before class to stretch and warm up. There is nothing wrong with sitting and quietly talking while you stretch. It actually helps build the attitude of togetherness and the feeling s of family. Yet horseplay should be avoided. It is disrespectful to be yelling, laughing loudly, or running around the dojo while others are trying to warm up.

There are many more things to proper etiquette in the dojo. If you use your common sense and remember where you are and what you are there for they tend to be easy to remember or learn.

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  1. September 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

    class etiquette is a standard that should be practiced in life (~_~)
    an excellent outline and a marvelous post

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