Etiquette at the Karate Dojo.

Dojo etiquette has traditionally been regarded as sacred by the Japanese. They do it because discipline is the most important factor.

Karate is a way of life, not just a sport. It teaches us how to treat others with respect when working out in a group. So, if you want to study any of the karate techniques, etiquette is a must-follow. Your karate quality is determined by your technical skills, while your etiquettes reveal your character as a karateka.

If you wish to learn dojo etiquette, this article will be useful. It’s a thorough reference that covers all aspects of karate discipline and dojo rules.

What is the difference between Dojo and Karate Etiquette?

A dojo is a hall or a room dedicated to the practise of martial arts or judo. It’s a location where both students and instructors place a high weight on particular moral principles. A true dojo is a place of self-control, discipline, and order. These are the foundations of all karate systems and martial arts.

Dojo-Kun is a subset of Dojo-Etiquette. It’s a set of guidelines that must be observed at a karate training facility. The purpose is to assist karatekas and others in maintaining personal discipline.

If you’re new to karate, you might not know what to say while bowing or arriving late, but don’t worry; if you understand these dojo etiquette, the dojo will become your new home.

Bowing While Standing

When entering or leaving the dojo, you must bow standing in front of the dojo. The standing bow is made by bending from the hips while maintaining a straight upper body. You must stand with your heels together and your feet pointing slightly outward to do a standing bow in seiza.

Maintain a straight line with your knees and elbows while relaxing. At the outside of your legs, keep your hands open and fingers together. Bend at the waist at a 20-degree angle and then straighten. It won’t take you more than a few seconds to complete the seiza bow after you’ve mastered the technique.

Kneeling is a way of expressing yourself (Seiza)

In Japan, seiza is the ceremonial style of sitting. Kneeling in the seiza involves folding both knees on the floor and sitting with a straight back. Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and your chest is out.

With the fingers pointed inward, the left hand should rest on the left thigh and the right hand on the right thigh. When the sensei says “seiza,” both the opening and closing sequences require kneeling.

In Seiza, bowing (Kneeling Bow)

Bowing in seiza is a traditional Japanese method in which the upper body is bowed while kneeling. In seiza, bowing is as simple as moving the left hand from thigh to floor in front of the left knee. Then repeat the action with the right hand, moving the right hand behind the left hand so that the hands create a triangle configuration.

The palms should touch the floor and the waist should be bowed to demonstrate respect. Make your karate bow flawless in seiza by sliding your hands back up to their old position on your thighs, with your left hand slightly behind the right.

When sensei says “Sensei ni rei,” you bow in the position of seiza during the opening and closing sequences.

Getting Into And Out Of The Dojo

When you first walk into the karate dojo, bow politely and carefully place your shoes on the shoe rack; this is the karate welcome. Place your other possessions on the stand with care. Change into your do-gi (a Japanese karate training uniform), but bear in mind the time restriction. When you enter or leave the trailing floor, bow from your standing stance to the teacher.

Late Arrival

Arriving late is frowned upon in the dojo and must be avoided at all costs. If you are running late, you must do one push-up for every minute you are late. Then kneel in seiza in the corner of the training floor until your instructor allows you to join the class. Bow from the kneeling posture, step up, and then step onto the floor after receiving permission.

Furthermore, do not join the group if the pupils are currently engaged in a drill. Also, instead of walking in front of them, stand in the corner.

Sequence of Events

When you hear “Line up!” or “One line!” stand shoulder to shoulder in the rank order facing the front of the dojo. Arrange the students in a line with the instructor in the centre.

You may be required to form more than one line if the dojo is large. In such situation, align the lines so that they are about equal in length. Don’t be concerned. In both circumstances, your teacher will assist you.

Here’s how to respond to certain commands:

Sequence for Finishing

With a few variations, the concluding scene is quite identical to the opening sequence. Recite the dojo-kun with the senior students after the Mokusou. It should be said aloud and clearly. Say “arigatou gozaimashita,” which means “thank you,” while bowing to your Sensei. The remaining stages are same.

The teacher will rise to bring the proceedings to a close. Before you do the same thing, wait till the person on your left bows and rises.

During Preparation

It is critical to demonstrate your engagement as much as possible throughout training because seeking attention for your actions is not encouraged. Look at Sensei and do not speak when he is providing instructions. Also, be aware of your surroundings.

During class, students form lines and rows based on their ranks or, on rare occasions, their height. A tall one sits toward the back to avoid blocking the vision of other students.

Correcting other students is frowned upon in the dojo since it creates the idea that you are an expert in every technique. So stay away from that. Furthermore, it may insult other pupils.


The dojo is meticulously cleaned before the lesson begins. It is suggested that you participate as much as possible. Don’t simply sit there and observe what the other pupils are doing. This task will assist you in comprehending the significance of cleanliness for both the human body and the human soul.


Sparring is a popular combat sport training technique. Fighting is partly ‘free-form,’ with certain rules, norms, or agreements in place to reduce the chance of injury.

  • Students should adhere to the following dojo sparring etiquettes:
  • At the start and finish of each round, the sparring partners must contact the gloves.
  • Maintain the sparring session and practise the coach’s directions rather than stopping to listen to what he says.
  • Be nice and thank your partner and teacher at the end of the sparring session.


“Karate begins and ends with respect,” stated an elderly karate teacher. You, your Sensei (karate instructor), and your training partners all deserve respect. Observing your Sensei and Sempai is the greatest method to learn dojo etiquette in practise (senior karate students).

To become a karateka, you must adhere to all dojo etiquettes. It not only improves your physical training, but it also improves your spiritual training.

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