See also About Kyokushin Karate | Dojo Kun

The way of the dojo

Kyokushin karate is a realistic and practical martial art, one founded and modelled on the traditions of Japanese Budo (way of the warrior). The behaviour and interaction of students inside the dojo is strict and formal.

These rules are designed to help with the running of the dojo and to ensure the safety of you and the other students. Many of these procedures are modelled on the traditions of the Japanese hierarchal system, while many are simply plain good manners.

Initially the rules and code of conduct may seem confusing, and a little strange, however they are designed to facilitate the smooth operation of class and running of the dojo. Learning the rank, place, duties and responsibilities within the dojo takes time, but with a bit of patience and perseverance you will quickly become accustomed to the way of the dojo and its etiquette.

The requirements of etiquette must be adhered to inside the dojo by everyone, regardless of age, grade, or status. No-one is above the common courtesies expressed in the dojo rules. Often a senior student can become too familiar with the dojo and his peers, and finds humour in his disregard of the dojo rules.

Always remember that all students, whether a black belt or beginner, train in the same dojo and on the same floor, all practice the same techniques and aspire toward the same ideals. Therefore, all are governed by the same requirements of etiquette.

Conversely, the instructors understand that we are not Japanese and are willing to compromise and accommodate our own western values.

You will soon realise that these rules are based on common sense, good manners, and common courtesy.

The dojo is a sacred place; treat it as such. It is not merely a gym or any old training centre. Take care and pride in your dojo and treat it as you would any place of reverence.

Dojo Etiquette

  1. When entering or leaving the dojo, always face the front, bow and say “Osu”.
  2. When late to class, kneel facing the back of the class in Seiza (kneeing position). Wait with your eyes closed in Mokuso. When acknowledged, remain in Seiza, open your eyes and bow, saying “Shitsurei shimasu” (excuse me for being late). Stand and turn to the front of the dojo and bow once again with a strong “Osu”, and quickly join the back of the class. We understand that there are times where it is not possible to make class on time however students should try their best to be on time.
  3. Do not remove any part of your DOGI during training without being told to do so.
  4. Do not eat, chew gum, smoke or drink (except when told by the instructor) in the dojo.
  5. When asked to proceed to a position, or when lining up at the beginning of training or for some other reason during training, always move as quickly as possible – do not stroll.
  6. Never practice kumite unless an instructor is present. When practising kumite always work to your opponent’s level. If you spar with a black belt, do your best, but always show respect for their rank. If you think you can go harder then do so, but remember that they have your lower rank in mind and will not be fighting their hardest. Remember respect and humility above all else when sparring.
  7. Do not ask a higher grade for kumite. You should not refuse however, if you are asked by a senior grade.
  8. Do not break rank for any reason without permission from the instructor. If you need to break rank in a hurry for whatever reason then move to the side of the dojo, bow and say “Osu”.
  9. 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.
  10. During a class always address your instructor as Sempai, Sensei or Shihan, as the case may be. Do not address an instructor by their first name in class.
  11. Do not swear, laugh, giggle, talk, lounge or act inattentively during training. Treat your training seriously; it is not a laughing matter. A student should always be 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 students with respect and the seriousness deserved. This includes leaving before the end of training. Unless directed by the instructor, a student should remain in the class until completion of the final bow-out.
  12. When fixing your belt or tidying up, turn to the right, away from the front of the class, or from your partner if you are working with someone, to adjust your Dogi.
  13. Your Dogi must be washed clean and neat at all times. Your belt should be aired dry but never washed, as it symbolically contains the effort of your hard training. Learn to respect your belt as a symbol of your efforts in training.
  14. 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 instructions with a strong “Osu”.
  15. The instructor, whoever it may be, should be treated with the respect that you yourself would expect. 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.
  16. Never speak in class unless asked by the instructor.
  17. For the sake of safety and neatness, do not wear jewellery during training, or when you are wearing your Dogi.
  18. 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 unclean.
  19. 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 to two hours before class.