Dojo etiquette

Etiquette

As a Japanese martial art there are a number of formalities incorporated into training.

Before arriving for training make sure you are clean and that your gi (karate uniform) is clean and in good condition. Your finger and toe nails must be short and smooth.

Always do your best to be in the dojo and ready to train a few minutes before training begins (allowing time for getting changed).

If you've had a bad day, leave it at the dojo door! Twenty-minutes into karate and you'll have forgotten about it.

If you know you're going to be late (or are unable to attend at all), please try and let Sensei know. If you arrive and the class has already started, wait for Sensei to invite you to join in.

If you have any jewellery it must be removed before training begins. If it cannot be removed then it should be taped over.

As you enter and leave the dojo you should bow (rei) at the door - a sign of respect for the training area where fighting techniques are to be learned with seriousness and focus.

Each session starts with the students lining up in grade order, and then a series of bows - shomen ni rei (bow to the front of the dojo, traditionally there would have been an altar here, it is a bow to the art and recognition of its history and traditions); sensei ni rei (bow to sensei, the teacher); and otagai ni rei (bow to your fellow students).

Throughout the session the line-up is usually kept in grade order, though sometimes the lines will get mixed up, either for partner work or perhaps to move things around when doing kata.

When training with a partner you should bow to your partner at the beginning and the end of working together. Respect for your fellow karateka and safety through control are of the utmost importance in training.

Remember, when sparring with a partner it is not about competition and trying to beat your opponent - it is about learning together. Give each other opportunities, second chances to get things right, and keep good control.

If your partner is having trouble with something, be patient, be generous. Help each other to learn.

Always try your best and don't give up. If you can't do a high kick, do a low kick, if you can't kick at all, do a punch.

If you need to leave the class for any reason, please ask Sensei first, and bow out. When you return, wait for permission to join and bow in again.

There should be no swearing, chewing, eating or spitting in the dojo. There should be no horseplay.

Karate must never be used outside of the dojo unless as an absolute last resort in an emergency situation. It must never be used as an aggressive act. Avoid trouble, or do your best to walk (or run!) away from it.

Training should be carried out with seriousness and dedication, so discipline and etiquette are an important aspect of practicing a martial art. Even with this, we pride ourselves on being a friendly club and do not take discipline to militaristic levels - we want training to be worthwhile yet enjoyable!

Sensei of the Japan Karate Association headed by Masatoshi Nakayama (1913-1987)

The Dojo Kun

Although, as a club, we do not recite the dojo kun (dojo rules), students should try and make themselves familiar with this set of principles and keep them in mind for training ... and life!

- To strive for the perfection of character

- To defend the paths of truth

- To foster the spirit of effort

- To honour the principles of etiquette

- To guard against impetuous courage