Dojo Etiquette

Reigi-saho - etiquette


Etiquette in the dojo IS NOT designed to give airs and graces to senior members. Nor is it designed to contribute to the mystique of the martial arts. Etiquette is common sense, discipline, and manners on the whole, and is an integral requirement for self-awareness and development. If the procedures outlined below are not conducted with the reverence they require and deserve, you cannot hope to gain respect by your actions.



Basic terminology for daily use:

Seiretsu - line up
Kiotsuke - Attention
Seiza - sit in the proper seiza posture.
Make sure you do not sit before your sempai is already seated.
Kiritsu - stand up
Osame to - return your sword (bokken) to the sheathed position
Hi - yes.
Iie - no.
Gomen Nasai - I am sorry, excuse me.

Mokuso - start meditation.
Kamiza (Shomen) - Front of the dojo / Spiritual Center).
Rei - Salutation,.bow.
Wakare - Dismissed
Taito - Bring your bokken to your hip as if it was a sword in a scabbard
Hajime - begin
Dosa - Exercise
Yame - Stop
Mate - wait

In the DOJO, the observation of basic forms of etiquette is integral to the creation of a respectful and attentive atmosphere that is conducive to learning. The bow is a gesture of respect and gratitude. A standing bow (rei) should be performed when entering and leaving the dojo.

 No footwear is allowed on the mat.

 Upon stepping on the carpeted area, bow into the dojo as an expression of respect for the school, our art, and all of the practitioners of the martial arts, past and present.

 Bow at the beginning and ending of the formal class.

 Always bow respectfully to your partner (uke) before and after the practice.

 When arriving late to class, wait to be recognized and bow to the instructor before entering the mat.

 Do not allow your attention to wander during instruction. Do not chat with other students. Make the most of every practice.

 It is customary etiquette to say Loudly and clearly, "Onegaishimasu" while bowing before engaging for practice and "Domo Arigato Gozaimashita" at the final bow.

 Remove watches, rings, chains, or other jewelry before the class. No jewelry is allowed on the mat.

 Keep your fingernails and toenails neatly cut and clean.

 The proper way to sit during the class is in seiza. Do not lean on the walls or sit with your legs stretched out

 Do not engage in roughhousing or needless contests of strength on the mat.

 No food, gum, or beverages are permitted on the mat.

 There should be no discussions on the mat during the class. If you have questions, ask sempai (senior student) or Sensei.

 When correcting your Gi or Obi (in all cases), turn away from the instructor or partner (uke). If only correcting the Obi, drop down to the right knee, turned away from the most senior, and if possible away from others.

 The martial arts uniform (Gi) must be kept clean and in reasonable state of repair.

 A complete martial arts uniform must be worn by all students. This includes the Gi top, pants, and Obi (belt). Do not wear your uniform in public unless you are participating in a demonstration, or are on the way to or from the dojo or demonstration.

 The belt must be worn in the proper fashion, in the color representing your correct rank, and must be worn at all times.

 Always refer to the Instructors and Assistant Instructors by their correct titles.

 Conduct yourself in a formal, respectful manner at all times when in the dojo.

 Any student who shows disrespect towards the art, the Instructors, or fellow students is subject to disciplinary action or dismissal.

 Never touch someone's iaito, bokken, unless requested or invited to do so. To the samurai, their katana was their most valuable possession. In a similar fashion, you must treat your (or someone else's) bokken with respect. Whenever you leave your bokken, make sure it is out of the way, where others cannot stumble over it or step on it. If it rests against the wall, make sure it is turned upside down.

 During the weapons class, you may use dojo bokken with permission from the Sensei. The bokken should always be put back on the rack at the end of the class.

 It is highly recommended that you buy your own bokken, however you should not purchase your own weapon without first consulting with Sensei.

 Never step on or hit a bokken with your feet.

 Help your fellow students. Assist in the cleaning of the dojo.

 Make the most of the opportunity by practicing (whenever possible) with higher ranks than yourself, and never allow a yudansha (Black Belt) to stand idle.

 When a Black Belt enters the mat, the Sempai (senior student) announces, "Yudansha on the mat." At which point everyone turns and bows toward the Black Belt as a sign of respect.

 For the reasons of safety, respect, and courtesy, it is essential that the teacher's instructions be followed exactly.

Conforming to these forms of etiquette helps to create a good and helpful atmosphere in the dojo. Remember that you are here to learn, not to gratify your or anyone else's ego.