Etiquette and Guidelines for Students
Dojo etiquette is based on the traditions of the Japanese martial arts and may not be familiar to beginning students. If you are unsure of what constitutes proper etiquette in a particular situation, try to observe a senior student. If you still have questions, ask the instructor or a senior student after class.
Bowing is a symbol of respect and gratitude for the art, your instructors and your fellow students. Both standing and seated bows are performed frequently and are appropriate on the following occasions:
- When entering and leaving the dojo practice area, perform a standing bow directed toward the kamiza.
- When entering and leaving the mat before and after class, perform a seated bow (in seiza) toward the kamiza.
- During the formal beginning and end of class, perform a seated bow in seiza.
- When entering or leaving the mat for any other reason, perform a standing bow.
- When receiving instruction from Sensei sit attentively is seiza and perform a seated bow after instruction is complete.
- When inadvertently interfering with the training of others, or if a collision occurs, perform a seated bow or standing bow as appropriate.
- Any other time when a show of respect is appropriate.
- Be on time for class. If you must be late, sit in seiza by the edge of the mat and wait for an appropriate moment, then say onegaishimasu toward the instructor and wait for them to signal you to join the class.
- A few minutes prior to the start of class students should line up quietly, seated in seiza.
- Class commences and ends with a formal ceremony. Students bow in unison first toward the kamiza, following the lead of the instructor, and then towards the instructor.
- At the beginning of class or when asking a partner to practice with you, say onegaishimasu. At the end of class and when thanking a partner say domo arigato gozaimashita.
- The proper way to sit in the dojo is in seiza. If you are unable to sit in seiza due to an injury, you may sit cross-legged. Never slouch, lean against walls, or sit with legs outstretched.
- Respect for others and the safety of all are the foundations of dojo etiquette. Always be attentive to the limitations of your partners.
- Beginning students should take the initiative to seek out training partners. Do not wait for someone to choose you.
- Talking should be kept to a minimum during class. Never offer instruction to other students unless you have the permission of the instructor to do so.
- If it is necessary to ask a question of the instructor, approach the instructor and wait for them to acknowledge you. Do not call out.
- When the end of a technique is signaled, stop immediately. Bow to your partner and quickly line up with the other students.
- If you are training with an injury, let the instructor know about it before class and inform your training partners. It is also appropriate to place a piece of red tape on your gi in the location of the injury as a signal to others.
- If you feel light headed, stop and sit down at the edge of the mat, then make sure that you or your partner informs the instructor.
- If you need to leave the mat for any reason, tell the instructor first. If urgent, ask your training partner to communicate with the instructor.
- Take care of your training partner and pay attention to both their physical and emotional state. If your training partner is injured, help them off the mat and assist them with ice or first aid supplies and inform the instructor. If your partner ever leaves the mat emotionally upset, inform the instructor.
- Never use another person’s weapons without permission. Every student should have his or her own equipment. The dojo has a small supply of community training weapons.
- Refer to the instructor as Sensei. The meaning of this Japanese word lies with the passing on of the study (external knowledge and internal experience) of an art, craft or skill from teacher to student, generation to generation. Please respect this lineage.
- It is the responsibility of all members to be attentive to the happenings in the dojo. Be sure to check the chief instructor’s bulletin board, the Dojo News website, and dojo email correspondence on a regular basis to stay informed about news and events.
- It is the responsibility of all members to keep the dojo clean. Makes sure you are familiar with the cleaning schedule and participate in cleaning tasks for the day.
- Fingernails and toenails must be kept short. All jewelry should be removed prior to the start of class.
- Keep your gi and your body clean as a show of respect to the dojo, your fellow students and yourself.
- Your weapons and gi should always be carried in a bag or covered when outside the dojo.
- Do not leave your personal belongings in the dojo overnight.
- Mark your training hours on the attendance sheet.
- Cell phones should be silenced during class unless it is an emergency.
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