Dojo Etiquette

Chosin Chibana

Traditional dojo etiquette

The Federation's First DojoTraining Rules
On May 1956, the Okinawa Karate-do Renmei (the Okinawa Karate-do Federation) was established and Choshin Chibana, 10th Dan, was appointed as its first president. The following rules were set up and approved by Chibana Sensei and are presently in use on Okinawa.

  1. Upon entering and leaving the training floor all students will show the proper respect by bowing to the Shomen("front") area.

    1. Personal appearances of the greatest concern in Okinawan Karate-do. All students are expected to be neat and clean at all time when training. Toenails and fingernails are to be properly cut so as not to injure yourself or your training partner. The training uniform is expected to be neat and clean with all tears well mended. The official training uniform for Okinawan Karate-do is the white training uniform (gi) without any markings except for your Association emblem or your Dojo emblem. Trim or writings will not be permitted on any training uniform.

    2. When lining up for class, the highest-ranking student will be to the right of the Shomen area. If more than one student is of the same rank, then the one with the longest time-in-grade will be to the right If both have the same time-in-grade then the oldest will line up to the right.

    3. Before beginning of class, the senior student will call the class to attention and bow to the respective Shomen area. He will then direct the class to bow to their Instructor. The same gestures will apply at the end of the class.

    4. Should the Instructor ask a student a question, the student will answer in a respectful manner with a yes or no, sir. Should a student wish to ask the Instructor a question, then the student should bow and address the Instructor with the proper respect due him. The same courtesy is expected when a higher-ranking belt is authorized to take over a class.

    5. There will be no talking in class at any time. All questions concerning techniques or other matters should be directed at the Instructor either before or after class. Only the Instructor is to talk during class or one so designated to teach the class by the Instructor.

    6. As a matter of proper conduct, no student will ask a higher-ranking student or Instructor to spar. There will be no sparring in the dojo without the permission of the Instructor.

    7. No student will excuse himself from class without first obtaining permission from the – Instructor.

    8. When entering the training hall you must enter with the intention of training. When you put on your training uniform you should put it on with the wish to train seriously. The senior student should, if wearing the training uniform, ask the Instructor is he would like to help in teaching the lower ranking students. This is a privilege and an obligation on the part of the senior students.

      Bowing Methods

      Ceremonial Bow

      This is the traditional kneeling bow (seiza). It shows a great deal of respect. It is also the formal Japanese way of sitting on the floor with one's knees bent. Seiza literally means to "sit correctly" and requires that a person sit not rigidly but with his back straight and with an alert feeling. While sitting on one's heels, you will then place the right hand palm down in front of the right knee and then follow with the same action using the left hand. You will then bow forward deeply. The ceremonial bow is used in the following situations:

  2. As part of the bowing in procedures in a formal class.

  3. As part of the bowing out procedures at the termination of a formal class.

  4. When requested to sit to receive formal instruction in technique, theory or history.

  5. When receiving a special award or presentation.

  6. When formally awarding a rank of black belt.

    Student-to-Instructor Bow
    This is a standing bow (tachi-rei). With the hands at the sides, bow forward to a 45-degree angle. This bow is done at the waist and not at the neck. Bow smoothly; do not jerk. While bowing, lower the eyes to the floor. The student-to-instructor bow is used in the following situations:

  7. Whenever the instructor bows to the student, the student should

    Respond immediately with this bow.

  8. The student should respond and initiate the bow in. the following


    a. When a senior ranking black belt enters the dojo.

    b. Before asking a question of the instructor and after receiving a reply.

  9. This bow is also used in the following situations:

    a. When entering or leaving the dojo.

    b. Before and after practicing a kata.

    c. When taking leave from your instructor.

    d. As a form of greeting a black belt or an instructor.

    e. When in doubt... bow.

    Contacting Maryland Shido-kan Shorin Ryu Karate

    Maryland Shido-Kan Shorin Ryu Karate
    16010 Annapolis Rd
    Bowie, MD 20715
    Phone: 410-562-1431
    email:dailey @ kokoro -karate. com