Central Coast Shotokan Karate Dojo
A Member Dojo of Shotokan Karate of America
Dojo Etiquette & Guidelines for Beginners
ďForce is used as a last resort where humanity and justice cannot prevail.Ē - Master Funakoshi
Dojo Etiquette and Rules of Conduct:
Dueling is prohibited.
Bow when entering and leaving the room.
Keep yourself, your gi, and your dojo clean.
No training under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
No shoes on the training floor.
No leaving practice, except with permission of instructor.
No unnecessary talking while training.
No wearing of jewelry while training.
No gum chewing while training.
Always act in a respectful manner.
Report all injuries to your instructor before leaving the dojo.
Observers are welcome but must remain quiet and not distract participants.
General Guidelines for Beginners:
Practice starts and ends with meditation (mokuso) and a bow.† Mokuso is a chance to clear your mind and prepare yourself for practice; the bow is similar to a mass handshake. Line up by rank and then seniority. Beginners will line up on the left end of the line. Wait for the person to your right to kneel before you kneel. Kneel two fist-widths from your neighbor, with your back straight. Men kneel with knees apart, women with their knees together.
During practices: General practices are designed so that all ranks from beginners to experienced may benefit. Practice is a cumulative experience and everybody is awkward at first.† Do your best to copy what the instructor is demonstrating.
You will be using different muscles than you may be accustomed to. Sore, fatigued muscles are normal, even desirable.† This is how our bodies get stronger and learn.† You will also sometimes get minor blisters, cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises.† This is also common and should be ignored.† As we are practicing a martial art, we must learn to† ignore minor annoyances.† Our bodies are capable of much more than we think.† However, if you are experiencing serious pain, particularly in the joints, let the instructor know.† Many of these problems can be eliminated by correcting form. Karate is meant to be practiced for your whole life, it will not cause damage to your body when performed correctly.
In contact situations, it is the responsibility of each participant to remain fully alert at all times. Techniques will be realistic.† Maintain eye contact at all times.† Do not assume that your opponent heard a command to stop (yame).† In this manner, both the experienced and inexperienced will have a chance to learn without careless injuries.
Practice helps!† A habit of taking time to make a personal practice each day can make a big difference.
Alertness, awareness, foresight, and clear assessment of the situation at all times, are among the major goals of karate training and tradition. Accordingly, in the dojo (training hall) safety is uppermost in our agenda, and all participants are required to learn and practice the following:
1. Courteous manners are required by karate tradition. In feudal Japan, any sign of disrespect was a direct challenge for a duel to the death.
2. In addition to the physical form of karate, we also seek to learn about the culture of budo (the Way of martial arts) and bujutsu (the practice of fighting skills). Toward this end it is the responsibility of all new students to learn the basic Japanese vocabulary used in class.
3. When a student enters the dojo, it is customary to stop and bow as a sign of respect and mental preparation for serious training. Shoes must be removed at the door.
4. Horseplay, fooling around, or behaving carelessly in the dojo is strictly forbidden.
5. Smoking, eating, or drinking of any beverage is strictly forbidden inside the dojo.
6. Toenails and fingernails must be trimmed. Ill or injured students are not allowed to practice without specific permission of the instructor.† Make the instructor aware of any serious medical issues.† Make sure the instructor has your emergency contact information.
7. For safety reasons, no necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches or other jewelry are permitted during practice.
8. A gi (karate uniform) should be worn during practice. Students may alternatively wear plain, loose comfortable workout clothing if they do not yet own a gi.
Ranking (Kyu) System in Shotokan Karate
Rank is an award of recognition presented to indicate the progress of the student with regard to both the physical and the mental aspects of karate, and is thought of as a learning experience for both students and instructors.
Benefits and Value of Karate Practice
Karate as Athletic Training:† The values of Karate to modern man are numerous. In our everyday lives we often forget the value of exercise to both our physical and mental health. The practice of karate tones the body, develops coordination, quickens reflexes, and builds stamina.
†††††††††††† Three Areas of Karate Practice:
†††††††††††† †††††††††††† Karate Practice is divided into three categories:
†††††††††††† †††††††††††† †††††††††††† Kihon (basic blocks, punches, kicks and stances);
9. Classic karate stances are taught for technical reasons. Moving from a strong, balanced foundation prevents injury during practice and allows you to control the situation during kumite (sparring). Pain is immediate feedback letting you know that you are not doing a technique correctly.
10. Practice for students at all levels emphasizes many repetitions of kihon (basic techniques ) in order to gain mastery of their application. Whenever a basic karate stance is introduced, the essential points of joint alignment and balance are emphasized by the instructor. Pay attention to these points.
11. Consistent attendance is essential to development in karate. Prolonged absence can only jeopardize the thinking of other students leading to a weak dojo. The first step to improvement is practice. The first step to practice is showing up.
12. All students must take part in the warm up and stretching routine which begins every class or event.
13. In the martial arts tradition that we must finish what we begin.† Students may not leave practice without the permission of the senior leading the class. If injury occurs during practice, notify the instructor immediately. If a student has an obligation that requires leaving class early, he or she should notify the instructor before class begins. You may not stop to get a drink of water. Drink plenty of water before class.
14. During practice all students must listen for the command "YAMAE" (stop) and instantly stop whatever they're doing as soon as they hear it. However, do not let your guard down - your partner may not have heard the command and may continue to attack.
15. Injuries are rare in sparing (kumite). Most forms of kumite are formal exercises, with the target and the technique exactly specified. Nonetheless, in Shotokan practice attacks are "live" so that student will develop realistic fighting skills. Do not cheat your partner out of their chance to learn by punching short or off to one side.† Also, no hand-pads, gloves, sweat bands, arm or leg padding or protection should be worn unless the student has a serious medical condition.
16. Because of the combative mode of karate, sometimes people foolishly become angry. However, the concept is to learn never to loose control. Thus anger must be guarded against, and all students must stop if they become angry, or perceive that their partner is angry. In contrast, it is very useful to cultivate the appearance of anger (or fear, or resolve, or distraction etc.) to deceive your opponent.
Outside of Practice
∑ Donít brag about or show off what you think you have learned.
∑ Donít threaten or intimidate people.
∑ No fighting to settle disagreements or arguments.