Budokan Karate Academy

Budokan Karate Academy

Dojo's Etiquette

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Saho (etiquette) is integral to martial arts and fosters respect and humility towards all people. There are various aspects of etiquette applied to karate-do.

Procedures for entering and leaving the Dojo:

When entering the dojo:

  • Bow At The Entrance
  • Bow Towards The Instructors
  • Bow Towards The Black Belts In General

If you are late:

  • Assume The Seiza (Kneeling) Position And Bow At The Entrance
  • Bow Towards The Class And Instructor In General
  • Wait Until The Instructor Invites You To Join In

If you have to leave early:

  • Notify The Instructor Before The Class Commences
  • As The Time Arrives, Bow To The Instructor And Wait For His Acknowledgement
  • Assume The Seiza Position At The Exit
  • Bow Towards The Class And Instructor In General
  • Leave The Dojo

Procedures at the start and finish of a lesson:

  1. When lining up student’s form rows facing the front (Shomen). The senior student is in the front row on the left hand side. The rest line up in descending ranks from left to right.
  2. The senior student (or some other designated person) gives the command “Seiza!” for students to kneel in the Zazen position (buttocks seated on the soles of the feet) with backs straight and hands resting lightly on the thighs.
  3. The command “Mokuso” (meditate) is given and students close their eyes. After a short time “Mokuso, yame!” (End meditation) is said and students open their eyes. (Note that this period of Mokuso is not mandatory at every session).
  4. The senior student then announces “Shomen ni rei!” (Bow to the front) and a kneeling bow is performed. This bow has no religious connotation; it is performed in deference to our karate history and traditions.
  5. The sensei (instructor) then turns and faces the class and the command “Sensei ni rei” (bow to the teacher) is given as a sign of respect and appreciation for the lesson given or about to be given. All bow together and shout the acknowledgment “Osu!”.
  6. “Otagai ni rei” (bow to each other) is the final command and again all bow and use the acknowledgement “osu.” This final command is a mutual salutation demonstrating respect for each other.

Other points of dojo etiquette that must be observed are:

  1. Foul language, chewing gum, long nails, jewelry and dirty uniforms are not permitted
  2. Bow to each other before engaging in any form of kumite
  3. When asked to sit, either kneel or sit cross-legged. Do not lie down or sit with your legs stretched out in front of you; this is offensive to Japanese social customs
  4. Do not stand in class with arms folded or on hips; this suggests a challenging attitude
  5. Instructors are to be addressed as sempai. The head instructor is to be addressed as sensei.