dojo etiquette


Respect and self control are basic foundations of karate training. Serious practitioners seek to improve their character as well as their physical condition through the training process.

Rei (the bow)

Karate is more than a sport. It teaches a way of life. As such, it commands our appreciation, respect, and honour. This appreciation and respect is owed to the Sensei (teacher), the dojo, and other practitioners. Rei (bowing) is the manner in which our appreciation and respect is expressed. The dojo is the place where we learn both the spirit and the technique of Budo. We must not enter the dojo with malice or antagonism because this can lead to dangerous accidents or even death. When we are in the dojo we must feel purposeful and alert and the bow is the focal point of this feeling. When he bows the first time,a student should have deep respect for his instructor and should want to show this in his bow. When he bows the second time, before the training starts, the student is promising to train hard with purpose. At the end of the training, the student's bow says that he is pleased and that he has had enough training.

Rules of the Dojo


  1. No idle chatter, smoking, alcohol, eating, chewing gum, etc. is allowed in the dojo.
  2. All karate-ka must bow before entering and upon leaving the dojo. To those who practice karate the dojo is a sacred place. We bow when entering the dojo to affirm our intention to train hard and seriously and we bow when leaving to show thanks for a good training session.
  3. All karate-ka must bow to instructors or visiting instructors.We emphasis politeness at all times in the dojo and seek to cultivate a spirit based on gentleness and respect.
  4. When the instructors or visiting instructors enter/exit the dojo, all karate-ka must stop whatever they are doing and face the Sensei at the door and bow. Each person should seek to develop as full a state of attentiveness as possible. Karate requires and promotes as high a degree of training of the mind as it does of the body.
  5. A karate gi, or loose comfortable clothing, must be worn. No socks or shoes are permitted.
  6. Show absolute obedience to your Sensei. All instructions from the Sensei or designated instructor must be followed.
  7. Call your instructor "Sensei".
  8. Always acknowledge criticism given by the instructor or any other person. Respond to the sensei or a black belt instructor with the word hai.
  9. Never stand around with your hands on your waist. The standing position is the one assumed just before a kata or yoi, namely two clenched fists in front of the body in standing position.
  10. When sitting, always sit cross-legged or in seiza position.
  11. Finger nails and toe nails should be regularly cut in order to prevent injury.
  12. Jewellery should not be worn in the dojo. It has no place inthe dojo and can easily be broken or even cause injury.
  13. In all practice, emphasis is placed on control, accuracy, and non-contact.
  14. Do not attempt to learn or teach new forms without the expressed permission of the Senseis.
  15. The dojo is to be kept clean by all students. Please help to keep the floor dry, clean, and free of objects. Please look for a broom to sweep the floor as soon as you enter the dojo, before the start of the class. Each student should do his or her part to contribute to a proper training environment.
  16. If you arrive late, you must perform 10 knuckle push-ups upon entering the dojo. Sit in Seiza (kneeling down) position, bow once and stay seated until the Sensei gives you permission to join in, or any other instructions. Then, bow again and proceed.
  17. Report immediately to the Sensei, any injury or illness.
  18. All karate-ka must stay inside the dojo. Inform the Sensei ifyou must leave the dojo. Then follow the normal procedures for leaving the dojo.
  19. Please check for all personal belongings before leaving the dojo.
  20. Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Strengthen weak hands. Make your knees strong. Don't say "I'll work hard at a latertime", etc. Practice a technique in the exact manner you'd apply it. - with full force.
  21. Each student is considered an integral part of the karate community. Should it become necessary to discontinue training for any reason, please notify the instructor. This is so that we may have an accurate and up to date record of all students.
© AKS 2011