Karate training is a serious matter, and all club members are expected to behave in a manner which is safe, respectful, and courteous. The general guidelines to follow are in the Dojo Kun, but the rules below are meant to help provide more specific guidance for proper etiquette.
The following is a list of rules to follow to maintain proper karate etiquette. The rules are in place to maintain a level of safety and respect that is expected in a karate dojo.
It is up to you to make sure that you and your juniors are following proper etiquette - that's part of your role as Senpai.
Keep in mind that you should maintain the same respect and etiquette both inside and outside the dojo. This applies to interacting in daily life (hanging out, parties, etc.) as well as any interactions that you have in the digital world (e-mail, Facebook, etc.). As a karateka, your actions reflect not only on you, but also on your dojo and on your instructor. Be mindful that social media makes everything much more public, so treat the world as your dojo and you can't go wrong! If you ever have any questions about proper etiquette, please feel free to ask Sensei Baran or Senpai Matt.
Always refer to the
senior instructor as "Sensei" and any other instructors and
senior students as "Senpai". Treat all members of the dojo
- Within the club, if you are unsure who your Senpai are, you can check the list of current club members, which is kept in rank order.
- Always bow upon
entering and exiting the dojo (training area), when you are bowed to,
when joining or leaving class activities, before addressing an
instructor, when addressed or summoned by any senior ranked person, and
upon meeting or leaving any student during partner practice.
- If you need to take
more than two steps in the dojo, run.
- Do not talk with your
fellow students during class, unless specifically instructed by Sensei. The instructor talks and students listen.
- Focus on your own training during class. Do not correct other students or give unsolicited feedback. It is the role of the instructors to correct students' techniques and provide feedback. You cannot simultaneously focus on yourself and trying to correct others. You help others by doing your best and setting a good example.
- Especially in kumite, do not verbally correct mistakes unless you are specifically asked to do so. It is part of your training to learn to read your opponent and learn to exploit their weaknesses. Your partner will learn if you are able to exploit mistakes - and if you could not capitalize on the situation, the mistake didn't matter anyway!
- Time in the dojo should be spent actively training. Do not assume that because you are in a dojo that you are training - you are responsible to actively put in the effort to train. Time spent talking about karate and philosophizing about training is done outside the dojo.
- Unless prompted by the
instructor, wait until after class to ask any questions. An emergency or
illness is different.
- If you will not be able to make it to training or if you will be late for training, please inform Sensei. The sooner, the better. If you will be away from training for extended periods of time, discuss this with your instructor.
- Arrive early for
class. When arriving late, warm up before entering the dojo. Then kneel
at the side of the class and wait for recognition from the instructor
before bowing, then joining class activities. If you have not informed
Sensei that you will be late, you will be expected to do 20 push-ups
before joining the class.
- If you arrive late, do not expect to get special attention to be caught up to what is going on. It is your responsibility to follow along and catch yourself up.
- Be attentive during
class and warm-ups. Do not stand with hands on hips or with arms folded,
and do not lean on anything. If you need to sit, kneel or sit with legs
- During class, students should always pay full attention to the instructor. When advice is given, it should be acknowledged with the word "oss" and a bow when appropriate.
- Practice should be done with the best of your effort. Time in the dojo is very limited, so make the most of every moment that you have in the dojo. Never leave the dojo feeling like you could have done more.
- Follow all instructions that are given by Sensei, and always strive to set a good example for your fellow karateka.
- The highest level of trust and respect should be given to your instructor and training partners.
- While any class is
bowing in or bowing out, stand silently and respectfully. Do not enter
or leave the dojo while the rest of the class is bowing in or bowing
- If you need to leave
class for any reason, seek the attention and permission of an
- If you have to adjust
your uniform, bow to the front, turn and fix yourself, turn back to the
front, and bow again.
- For warm-ups or any
class exercise, stand in a position that makes a straight row aligning
with the person at the far left.
- Inform the instructor
of any medical problem or condition which may affect your training.
- For safety, do not
wear jewelry, watches, or rings during training. Remove glasses for
sparring. If a piece of jewelry cannot be removed, it should be taped over for training to ensure safety.
- Good hygiene must be
observed. Uniforms must be kept clean. Finger and toe nails should be
kept short to reduce the possibility of injury.
- Following each class, everyone should help to keep the dojo clean by helping to sweep the floors.
- If you plan to visit another dojo, inform Sensei. Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to obtain a note of introduction or for Sensei to contact the other instructors.