Dojo Etiquette - Adults

The dojo is the hall in which you train, refine your skills and understanding of the Art. A deeper meaning is 'the place where you forge your spirit'. As such, it should be cared for and respected.

Master Funakoshi, the founder of our Art, used to have 5 dojo rules which were called the dojo kun as shown below.


Translated into English, they mean:

  • Each seek perfection of character
  • Each be faithful (protect the way of truth)
  • Each endeavour (foster the spirit of effort)
  • Each respect the rules of etiquette
  • Each refrain from violent behavior (guard against impetuous courage)

Dojo etiquette is an essential and core aspect of their training and, as such, is non-negotiable in concept and one that we expect any student (who wishes to be taught the Art) to accept.


    • Friends - Are they allowed to watch/be present? Most traditional dojos do not permit this, believing that the training environment should be free from all types of distraction. However, we currently do allow friends this privilege, on condition that they adhere to the following principles:

    • - They ensure that there are no disruptions to the flow of the class (e.g. from ringing mobile phones etc).

      - They tidy up after themselves, e.g. putting chairs etc. away after their use.

  • Appearance - Change from your street clothes and put on a training uniform (a karate gi +/- hakama if possible). This will help you shed outside concerns and focus on the current task (karate-do training). Make sure your clothing is well ironed and your appearance is well groomed. Those students who come in crumpled/unironed/dirty clothes may not be permitted to train.

  • Dress Code in the dojo - No shoes, jewellery or wrist/ankle/neck items are permitted (e.g. watches) except for medical reasons (in which case the items should be covered in such a way that they are not loose/exposed). It is expected that:

      - Men wear such clothing that at least covers them from their mid-shins to the belly button.

      - Women wear such clothing that at least covers them from their ankles to the neck (e.g. by wearing a t-shirt under their gi).

      - If you must wear headscarves etc. for religious reasons, that is fine. But the clothing on your body must be loose, to permit freedom of body movement when performing martial arts training/techniques.

  • Preparing the dojo - It is the responsibility of the student body to prepare the dojo for their karate-do and kobudo studies/training prior to the teacher entering the dojo. The senior assistant or, in their absence, the senior-most student is responsible for co-ordinating/overseeing the student body in this endeavour.

  • Entering the dojo - When coming onto or leaving the practice mat/dojo, bow to the front of the dojo (or if the teacher/senior is present bow to the teacher or the senior who is teaching). This expresses your intent to concentrate fully on karate-do training, and provides an opportunity to remind yourself to be grateful for the chance to train in karate-do.

  • Arriving late

  • - If you arrive for class late (a practice that is not encouraged, unless given special permission by the teacher), it is proper etiquette to wait standing just outside the mat or edge of the dojo quietly, until Sensei invites you to join in. Once you enter onto the mat or into the dojo, you should kneel at the back of class, close your eyes and meditate for a few moments to calm your mind to prepare for class.

    - If you arrive late for line-up, but before Sensei has come onto the mat or into the dojo, you should take your place in line after the white belts so as not to disturb the class.

    - Offer your apologies and explain why you are late.

  • Other important aspects of etiquette deal with more commonplace concerns. Please remember to pay your dues on time . It is easy in our enjoyment of karate-do to sometimes forget our responsibilities to karate-do, and to our instructors.


  • Respect the dojo - Take off your hat and shoes, put out any cigarettes, dispose of chewing gum, turn off radios, and stop any other distracting practices that might interfere with Karate-do training. Visitors are also expected to observe these guidelines for conduct.

  • Behaviour towards teachers and assistant teachers/senior students

      - Do not sit in the presence of the teacher or assistant, unless given permission to do so.

      - Do not raise your voice above that of the teacher or the assistant.

      - It is very poor etiquette to question a teacher's or assistant's authority or technical knowledge, and especially so during a class. If you are confused about something, ask respectfully. Don't insist on your point of view.

      - When Sensei is instructing the class, or if you wish to listen to an explanation given to another student in practice, you should kneel politely in seiza. When corrected by Sensei or another senior student, bow and say "Osu!".

  • Behaviour towards students

      - When you greet a fellow student or an instructor, greet them with respect by bowing and saying "Osu! ". This is customary in the practice of Japanese Budo.

      - Always begin and end your training with your partner by bowing to each other.

      - Never shout, curse, or become angry on the mat or the dojo.

      - Talking on the mat or in the dojo during class is impolite and interferes with the concentration of other students. When discussion is necessary, keep it brief and quiet.

  • Starting the class
    • - When the class is ready to begin, before the teacher enters the dojo, all students should line up sitting in seiza in a straight line. The person sitting to your right should be of equal or higher rank; the person to your left, equal or lower rank.

      - The highest ranking student will command " Moku so." This means to close your eyes and prepare yourself mentally for class. The same student will then say " Moku so yame " (open your eyes) and " Shomen ni rei " (bow to the front), and then " Sensei ni rei " (bow to Sensei).

  • Leaving/entering the dojo during a class - During the class, any student wishing to leave the mat or to practice something other than what the class is practising, must first ask the permission of the instructor.


  • Etiquette for students

    - When the class is ending, you should quickly line up before the instructor sits. Remain in the dojo until the instructor has left the mat.

    - After the class you should find your partners and bow to each of them, thanking them for training with you.

    - If the dojo is no longer required (e.g. for another class after your one), then the student body should dismantle and tidy up the dojo.

    - Always leave the dojo with rei.

  • Etiquette for friends
  • - Friends should put away any chairs etc. that they have used and also ensure there is no debris left behind prior to their departure.

    The 3 Golden Rules of Training in Our Dojo

    • Karate ni sente nashi (there is no first attack in karate) - if you attack other children (either inside or outside the dojo) or abuse your skills, you will be asked to leave the club and the club coaches will refuse to teach you.

    • Karate begins and ends with courtesy - rude behaviour will not be tolerated.

    • When the sensei says "yame" (i.e. stop), you stop EVERYTHING that you are doing.