Understanding Dojo etiquette

In any karate dojo, one of the most important rules of etiquette is behaviour.

Since by nature we all learn by trial and error, many things will be forgiven in a dojo, but bad behaviour is definitely not one of them. This rule applies to every student within the dojo society regardless of their rank. All students are expected to know and respect the following dojo etiquette.

Dojo kun 


Be humble and polite
Train considering your physical strength
Practise earnestly with creativity
Be calm and swift
Take care of your health
Live a plain life
Do not be too proud or too modest
Continue your training with patience

—– Sensei Teruo Chinen

Basic dojo etiquette

  • Always be on time for your classes.
  • Remove shoes and all jewellery before entering the dojo.
  • Let seniors enter the dojo first.
  • Be polite to your instructors, seniors and elders.
  • Line up according to belt (the highest belt on the left of the dojo) and start warming up.
  • When entering and exiting the dojo, remember to bow.
  • When bowing at the beginning of the class, say ‘onegai shimasu”, which means ‘please teach me’. At the end of the class, you will bow again and say ‘arigato gozaimashita”, meaning ‘thank you for teaching me’.
  • While training, listen carefully and seriously to the advice of your sensei and always acknowledge that you have heard and understood the advice.
  • Keep your ‘gi’ (training clothes) neat and tidy.
  • Keep your fingernails and toe nails short to prevent injury.
  • Know your physical condition, stamina and strength well – do not force yourself to do the impossible.
  • Handle all equipment with care and put it back in the right place.