Karate Etiquette (Reigi-Saho) at KimNik Dojo

A dojo is a building in which Japanese martial arts training occurs. The word “Do” means way, road, or path. The word “Jo” means place. Therefore, “Do Jo” means the place of the way. As a karate-ka we must respect Dojo.

Following are some karate etiquettes in our dojo:

​       ·       Be in the Dojo before class commences. Do not be late!


     ·       Shoes are not to be worn in the dojo by members or visitors. This is a sign of disrespect. Exceptions would be for medical reasons; but permission needs to be obtained from sensei in advance. If permission was given, only proper dojo shoes can be worn. Please tell your parents, guests to remove shoes at the door. Shoes should be put neatly away from the dojo entrance. 

·       Be sure your gi and obi are in proper order before entering the dojo. You should also check your gi and obi frequently during class to make sure they are in proper order. 

·       Bow and say Osu on entering and leaving the Dojo. 

·       Approach sensei and bow even from rather distance if sensei is busy teaching or performing his or her kata. 

·       Respect must be given to all Instructors  and any other high grade student which Sensei has appointed to teach

·       SENIORS must be always respected

·       Seniority does not always mean having a higher grade. Seniority comes with years of training, age, and a higher grade. 

·       Sweep the Dojo floor, if it has not already been done. Lower ranks should relieve higher ranks. 

·       Entering the Dojo saying Osu!, then greet your fellow students quietly, warm up, practice Kihon or Kata until the lesson begins; but never do Kumite (sparring) without Sensei’s permission!

·       Class commences and finishes with Seiretsu (line up) followed by meditation. All students line up in order of Seniority, facing the Shomen (front of the dojo). Students line up in one row (space permitting) in order of rank! Within each rank, students also line up in order of seniority. The line should be centred behind the Instructor. 

·       After lining up, first Instructor will kneel, then the Senpai or the most senior student will announce Seiza (kneeling) then students kneel down together, the Mokuso will be announced for meditation. This is a brief period of meditation. During the meditation; close your eyes and focus on your breathing. This is a very important part of your training. Meditation at the beginning of the class helps you to get ready for a great training of mind and body. Meditation at the end of the class helps you cool down and relax before leaving dojo. Mokuso Yame is announced for finishing the meditation. At the end of the class, Dojo Kun will be repeated by all the students.

Following Dojo Kun there will be three salutes (etiquette): 

1.    Shomen-ni-rei; the shomen is the front wall of the dojo. The word “Sho” means true while “men” means face. The shomen is to be a sacred zone in the dojo for Japanese, but may not be felt the same by some none Japanese to be a sacred zone in the dojo. However, it is simply the wall that everyone faces during class. Some clubs will hang the country’s flag together with some pictures of instructors. This salutation is to the front of the dojo and there is no Osu during this salutation. Only a silent bow is done.

2.    Sensei-ni-rei; salutation to the instructor

3.    Otagani-ni-rei; salutation to each other

At the end of the salutes, Sensei stands up for training to commence or to finish. 

·       After sensei stands up for training or to finish; students then stand, one at a time, from right to left, in order of seniority. This should proceed quickly and appear like a wave rolling from higher degree to lower ones.  

·       Members arriving late must sign their name and take a Seiza (kneeling) position at the back of the Dojo and wait for the instructor’s permission before joining the class. On receiving permission, bow and say Osu from seated position; and join in once directed. 

·       If you have to leave the dojo before class is over, it is best to inform the instructor in advance. 

·       No one is to leave the class without first obtaining permission from Sensei or Senpai if sensei is busy. 

    ·       Referring to senior ranks by their title is required when training, if either you or them are uniform, or in confines of the dojo.

·       Noise prior to and after classes is to be kept to the minimum level. Do not disturb the class in progress.

·       If you have a question during a class raise your hand. If you understand the information say “OSU”.


·       Osu is a sign of respect and is used generally in Karate, especially in the following situations:


-         Upon receiving any advice or command from sensei

​                          -         When bowing at the start and finish of class

-         When bowing to your partner during Kumite

-         In any other appropriate situation

·       Always wear clean Karate-Gi – there are no excuses for a dirty Gi. Make sure your Obi (Belt) is correctly tied. When you secure the knot in your Obi, this symbolises that you are willing to train with your heart as well as your body. 

·       Hair must be neat and away from face. 

·       For safety reason jewellery; rings, bracelets, neck chains, watches or similar things must not be worn during training; if you cannot remove jewellery then it must be covered with tape.


​      ·       No chewing gum during the class 

·       It is considered very disrespectful to:  stand with crossed arms, lean against walls, yawn during class. A big part of your training is learning to stay focused regardless of distractions.

      ·       For health and safety reasons, finger and toe nails must be kept clean and short

·       If you have any medical problems, or are not able to attend the class, please make sure your instructor is aware of this. The best way is by emailing your sensei in advance.

·       Talking without sensei’s permission is not acceptable from anyone with any rank

·       Note that Rei is not a religious bow; it is a sign of respect

      ·       A Karate-ka must never loses sight of what karate is. It has no place for arrogance or ignorance.

·       Bullying of any kind (physical/verbal/emotional) by anyone will not be tolerated.

·       Note that during photo session students should always stay one step behind the sensei; unless you have been asked by sensei to stay on the same line.

     ·       Sensei is here to help you succeed and achieve your individual potential.