Dojo Etiquette and Attitude


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KARA        TE          DO

(empty)  (hand)  (the way)

Karate is taught in a training hall called a “dojo.” A dojo can take many physical forms, from a school gym to a converted bowling alley or a basement. It is not the physical shape or size of the dojo that is important but rather the attitude and the spirit of the students towards the place of learning. The dojo is almost a sacred place. Most dojo’s allot some time for the practice of meditation. In some, it begins and ends the training session and may last anywhere from a minute to half an hour. At the end of meditation, and upon entering or leaving the dojo, each student must bow to the front of the dojo to show a sign of respect.

Respect is an integral part of Karate-do and it is shown at all levels. The lower belts show respect to those of higher ranking, with the ultimate respect being shown to the “Sensei.”  These gestures comprise a formalized ritual that is part of Karate-do etiquette which determines how one behaves in the dojo, during a sparring match and at tournaments.

Etiquette will only be an empty shell of physical movement until made to come alive by a student’s positive attitude. In developing student’s positive attitudes we will
stress both the virtues of respect, kindness, courtesy, patience, humility and the drive to develop personal skills to the maximum possible.


What's Ossu?

Ossu is a phonetic expression, formed out of two characters. The first character means “to push” or “control” and determines the pronunciation of the whole term. The second character has a literal meaning of “bear, endure and suffer.”


The expression ossu was created in the Japanese Navel School and is universally used for everyday expressions such as thank you, please, I understand, sorry, greeting someone etc., as well as inside the world of Karate nearly every time a response is required. In Japan it is, for the Karate-ka, “The word of words.”

Ossu must not be uttered loosely by the vocal cords and the upper third of the body, but, as ever thing in Karate

the word should be spoken from the lower abdomen. Spoken while performing a bow, the word ossu expresses respect, sympathy and confidence to the partner. Ossu also tells the teacher (sensei) that the instructions were understood and that the student will do their best to follow them.
At the ceremony, before and after training there is no Ossu during the salutations to the front of the Dojo, only a silent bow. There’s Ossu when salutations to the sensei or sempai at the beginning of class as a request to go together in the Way of Karate Do, and at the end of the lesson, in thanks.


Procedures and Protocols

Presented here are a few guidelines that will make it easier for you to study Karate-Do in the traditional manner.

Dent of Karate
1.  Please take off your shoes before you enter the Dojo.


(Note: Some dojos allow the use of shoes. Especially if the floor of the venue/dojo is not in a good condition. In this case the student may wear the shoes)

2.  Please SIGN IN, each time you come to class.


3.  Make sure you have WATER with you for training every class.

4.  Should your uniform come undone while in class etiquette requires that you turn away from the front of the Dojo, and fix your Gi quickly. Your uniform should be clean and tears repaired.

5.  Please remember class begins and ends on time. Should you be late, observe etiquette by kneeling quietly at the door and wait to be invited into class.

6.  Upon entering and before leaving, the students must bow toward the front of the Dojo.


(Note: Currently at our dojo is required to also say USS, to let the sensei know that you're leaving the dojo)

7.  Training at least two classes a week is recommended.

8.  If you do not feel well in class, raise your hand, to get the instructors attention. Never leave the Dojo without permission.


(Note: Also let the sensei know if you didn't feel well the past few days, or you have gained an injury.

In case of a child is not feeling well? The parents/guardian should stay around in case they're needed. 2: Or the carers should be no more than 5 min walk away.

Remember, no one knows your child better than yourself)


9.  Let the sensei know if any changes to your medical conditions.


(Note: By doing so the sensei can then better look after you. In case of a child the parents/guardian should communicate it to the sensei)


10.  Make sure the Sensei has your up to date contact details.


(Note: In case of a children the parents must provide their correct contact details and of anyone else. 2: Store the club contact details so you know who is calling you) 

11.  When you are sitting in the Dojo, sit on your knees of sit cross-legged with your back straight.

12.  Finger and toe nails must be kept short to prevent injury to oneself or partner.

13.  Boisterous behavior, foul language, or loud talking is not permitted in the Dojo.

14.  Students will behave at all times like ladies and gentlemen both inside and outside of the Dojo.

15.  No jewellery shall be worn during class. Only a white Karate-Gi, or approved training clothes, will be worn in the Dojo at any time. Leave your valuables at home.

Female students should wear a plain white T-shirt under their uniform (Gi).

16.  A violent, argumentative, of belligerent attitude during class will result in dismissal.

17.  In the Dojo, the head instructor will be addressed as “Sensei,” the other black belts will be called “Sempai,” and any adult belt shall be referred to as “Mr., Mrs., or Miss.”

18.  You are expected to show courtesy and respect to higher belts and instructors. You will receive the same in return as well as the added benefit of the higher belt’s knowledge and experience.

19.  Criticism of other Karate-ka is not permitted.

20.  No alcohol will be taken before class. Chewing gum or eating candy during class is forbidden.

21.  All protective equipment is the responsibility of the student to bring to each class.


(Note: If you forget bring what is needed it may affect your training for the day. Will also effect other to some extend)

22.  Once you’re in the dojo practice and avoid messing about, you there to train.   

23.  If you are off training for a month or more, it is customary to wear a white belt after you return to practice to indicate that you have been away and may not be in top condition.


Thanks for reading.

The sensei

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