Etiquette

  • When entering or leaving the dojo, always face the front, bow and say Osu, then face the general direction of the other students in the class and say Osu again.
  • When late to class, kneel facing the back of the class in seiza. Wait with eyes closed in mokuso. When acknowledged, remain in seiza and bow, saying “Shitsurei shimasu” (Excuse me for being late). Stand, turn to the front of the dojo and bow once again with a strong Osu, and quickly join the back of the class. Students who are late for class should try harder to be on time.
  • Do not remove any part of your dogi (Karate Uniform) during training without being told to do so.
  • Do not eat, chew gum, smoke or drink in the dojo.
  • When asked to proceed to a position, or when lining up at the beginning of training or for some reason during training, always move as quickly as possible – do not stroll.
  • Never practise kumite (fighting) unless an instructor is present. When practising kumite (fighting) with a black belt, do your very best, but show respect for their rank. If you think that you can go harder then do so, but remember that they have your lower rank in mind whilst they are sparring, and so will not be fighting their hardest.
  • Do not ask a higher grade for kumite. You should not refuse however, if you are asked by a senior grade.
  • Do not break rank for any reason without permission from the instructor. Never walk between rows, or between the instructor and those training. If you must leave your position, walk behind the row you are in to either side of the class and proceed from there.
  • Address your instructor as Sempai (1st & 2nd Dan Black Belt), Sensei (2nd & 3rd Dan Black Belt) or Shihan (5th Dan Black Belt and higher), as the case may be. Do not address an instructor by their first name in class.
  • Do not swear, laugh, giggle, talk, lounge or act inattentively during training. Treat your training seriously; it is not a laughing matter. A karateka is always alert and well behaved. Possession of a senior grade (especially black belt) is not your ticket to relaxation and familiarity in the dojo. Do not waste your time and everyone else’s if you are not prepared to treat your training and your fellow karateka with respect and the seriousness deserved. This includes leaving before the end of the training. Unless directed by the instructor a student should remain in the class untill completion of the final bow-out. Abuse of this rule will not be tolerated.
  • Kneel on your right knee to adjust or re-tie your belt. Turn to the right, away from the front of the class or from the partner if you are working with someone, to adjust your dogi (Karate Uniform). Learn to respect your belt as a symbol of your efforts in training.
  • Your dogi (Karate Uniform) must be washed clean and neat at all times. Your belt should be aired dry but never washed, as it symbolically contains the spirit of your hard training.
  • Listen carefully to the instructor’s directions. Remember that the instructor will not ask you to do what he or she would not do also. Acknowledge all instructors with a strong Osu.
  • The instructor, whomever it may be, should be treated with the respect that you yourself would expect as common courtesy. Karate begins and ends with courtesy. If you cannot find it in you to show respect to a person who is taking their time to teach you, then you do not belong in a karate dojo. Never question his/her direction; never speak in class unless asked by the instructor. Such obedience develops a bond between the instructor and student, which improves mutual receptivity, simplifying and speeding the learning process.
  • For the sake of safety and neatness, do not wear jewellery during training, or when you are wearing your dogi (Karate Uniform).
  • Keep your toenails and fingernails clean and cut short at all times. Always be sure your feet, nails and hands are washed clean for training. In training you often work closely with others. Nobody likes to train with someone who is dirty.
  • Be sure to go to the toilet prior to training. An accidental blow to a full bladder can be extremely dangerous. Try also to remember that it is not good for the body to train on a full stomach, so avoid eating for at least one hour before class starts.

How To Line Up

When we line up, we line up from highest to lowest belt. With someone behind, in front as well as next to you. The reason for the highest belts always being in front is that they are there to set an example, because if the front row behaves the rest of the class will behave as well.

Bowing In and Out of Procedures

The most important thing you must understand about bowing is that there are no religious aspects related to the bowing in our form of karate, it is only there to show respect to your instructor, fellow students and to show your own humility.

We have a full-face bow from sieza (Kneeling position). You start off by going down on your right knee followed by your left. Your feet are placed flat down on the ground and your left big toe rests on the right one. When we bow your line of sight should be at a 30 degree angle approximately, and your fist should be one fist’s width away from your knees. Your first two knuckles should be touching the ground.

The samurai used this type of bowing years ago. Today we use it in the beginning and end of our classes to show respect and to prepare ourselves for the intense training that lies ahead of us.

Another type of bowing we use starts from Heiko Dachi (Open Parallel Stance/Ready Stance). All you do is give aloud Osu (I understand/Term of respect and acknowledgement to others/perseverance under pressure) and at the same time bow your head and upper body so that your line of sight is at a 30 degree angle approximately. Remember that the block start from your shoulders.

This form of bowing is used to show respect to your instructors and fellow karate-ka and when entering and leaving the class or dojo.

Tying Your Belt: Method 1

  • The tying of your belt (sash) is an essential part of karate, so here are a few easy steps to help you in tying your belt.
  • First fold your belt in half so as to find the middle point.
  • Once you have found the middle point place it just below your navel, holding an end in each of your hands.
  • Now wind the belt around your body so that the two ends are now in the front.
  • Try to make the two ends equal in length.
  • This is where it starts to get a little tricky, so try to keep your head.
  • The end you are holding in your right hand must now be lined up with the part already raped around your waist.
  • While you hold it there take the other end and weave it under both straps so that it looks like the first step in tying a knot.
  • Now take it and weave it over then remaining end (the same as the final step in tying a knot).
  • Now pull the two ends away from each other and Hey Presto your belt is tied.

Tying Your Belt: Method 2

  • Take any point on your belt (sash) and hold it against the right side of your body.
  • Now take the rest of your belt and wind it round your body twice so that two layers of belt are formed.
  • Both ends should also be in front so try and make them equal in length.
  • Then take the piece in your left hand and weave it under the two layers.
  • Then take the piece in your left hand and weave it under the two layers.