Dojo Etiquette

JKA Karateka also conduct themselves within the wider and more general rules of Karate etiquette. These practical guidelines are for all members and should be considered the same as common courtesy or politeness as in daily life.

  • On entering the Dojo each student must bow. The same when leaving.
  • The white Karate Gi must be kept clean and in good condition.
  • Toenails and fingernails must be kept short and clean.
  • Every effort must be made to be punctual. If one arrives late they must kneel in front of the class until the Instructor calls them on, then they must take their place quickly in the class.
  • If someone wants to leave the class they must ask the Instructor first.
  • When the class is called to order, line up smartly and face the “Shomen” position, i.e. towards the front of the class.
  • There is a specific order to events prior to and after training. How to line up, how to stand, kneel (seiza), bow etc. All students are carefully instructed in these formalities and should follow them.
  • No jewellery or rings to be worn in the class. If one cannot remove a ring, then put tape around it.
  • No chewing, talking, smoking or any offensive behaviour in the Dojo.
  • "Oss" is a sign of respect and is used generally in karate, especially in the following situations:
    upon receiving any advice or command from the instructor ; when bowing at the start and finish of the class; in any other appropriate situation, for instance during gradings or competitions.
  • During any Karate functions, i.e. training, competitions or demonstrations the student must always address this Instructor as "SENSEI" and must comport himself with dignity at all times.
  • In the event of the Instructor arriving late, the Senior must sign in and take the class, the Senior being the longest serving or the highest grade, and as such, demands the same respect as the "SENSEI".
  • When visiting another Dojo, proper protocol is to obtain a note of introduction from your Instructor and present that to the Instructor of the Dojo being visited. It is discourteous to attend another Dojo without observing this rule. This is particularly relevant in the event that you are travelling Nationally or overseas.
  • Train at least twice a week where possible.
  • Turn your back if you have to adjust your Gi or tie your belt.
  • Any member arriving late must take up a kneeling position at the back of the Dojo and await permission from the instructor before joining the class at the back. On receiving permission, bow and then join the class.
  • At the beginning of the lesson, the most senior grade lines up at the front right hand side of the dojo. After lining up, students kneel down together (seiza). Everyone bows to the front and to the instructor (sensei ni rei).
  • At the end of the lesson, kneel and at the instruction "MOKUSU" shut your eyes and breathe. At the end of the class, students line up and then assume seiza position. There is a brief meditation (mokusu). The guidelines set out in the dojo kun are central to all karate-do training and are meant to apply both inside and outside the dojo.
    On the instruction "Shomen Ni Rei", bow silently.
    On the instruction "Sensei Ni Rei", bow and say "Oss".
    On the instruction "Otagai Ni Rei", bow and say "Oss".
    Students then stand, one at a time, from right to left, in order of seniority. This should proceed quickly and appear like a wave rolling from right to left.
  • Students are not allowed to leave the Dojo before the instructor has given permission or left himself.