Dojo Etiquette


Etiquette is an essential component of martial arts training. It allows practitioners to give and receive respect mutually as they train with each other. Good etiquette makes for good karate. The following elements of our dojo etiquette are to be maintained and followed at all times:

Entering and leaving the Dojo

Upon entering or leaving the dojo, pause and bow towards the center of the dojo space and say “OSU”. This shows your respect for the training hall. The first under- belts to arrive at the dojo space should quickly grab a broom from the broom closet between the bathrooms and sweep the floor. They should also bring the karate bags and training equipment into the dojo.

Never wear shoes on the training floor, please remove them outside of the room and then bring them in.

Your gi and obi

Always wear a clean gi. If your gi becomes loose during class, never face the front of the class to adjust it. Always excuse yourself by bowing, then turn to face the back of the dojo to fix your gi and obi. Never forget your obi when you come to class. If you do, you may still train, however you will be expected to do pushups according to your rank. The higher the rank, the more pushups. Never let anyone else touch your obi. Never let your obi touch the floor. Never wash your obi. When you turn back around to face front, bow and quietly say OSU and continue with your training.


Keep finger and toenails trimmed neatly. Long hair should be tied back for training. No jewelry should be worn during training. Feet should be clean.


Pronounced “USS”. OSU is a contraction / acronym that comes from the term Oshi means “Push” and Shinobu meaning “endure”. OSU means patience, endurance and perseverance. Use the term OSU liberally. Say OSU when a teacher makes a point that you understand. Say OSU when you get hit during sparring to show respect and gratitude. Say OSU when you are given a direction or as an affirmative response when you are asked something by a senior student or teacher. OSU is our word. It means yes, thank you, I agree, etc...


When a black belt enters the dojo, immediately stop what you are doing and assume a kiutskei (attention) position as a group. The senior student, if one is in the dojo, will direct the class to the door and say “courtesy to Mr. or Mrs. or Ms._”(last name)” or “courtesy to Sensei” and everyone will bow in unison. This a traditional courtesy extended to all people who achieve black belt level. You bow as a sign of respect for the rank and the attainment and as an acknowledgement that those who have come before you and achieved a black belt deserve the highest respect.

Always bow to your training partner before and after sparring or practicing techniques. This sign of respect implies that you acknowledge that you will be using one another to practice and you will do your utmost to be safe and it is also a sign of gratitude to your partner for their energy and spirit.

Arriving late

Arriving on time to karate is a sign of respect. If you must arrive late, as sometimes it is unavoidable, bow in to the dojo and quietly perform your kicking stretches and do 30 pushups. Do not disrupt the class or try to get sensei’s attention. Then, kneel in Zazen position and wait to be asked to join class.

Lining up

Always line up in rank order and look to the right towards the more senior students to know where to stand. Be sure the lines are straight. When you hear “Kiustkei”, line up in Musubi-dachi (the kiutskei position) with heels together and toes apart at 45 degrees, knees bent and hands tightly at your sides.


Class etiquette­

The following are some general rules for class etiquette in the dojo:

a. Don’t talk in class unless you are asked. It is a sign of disrespect to the focus of the class to have idle chatter. If you are discussing techniques with a partner, do it quietly so you are not drawing attention to yourselves.

b. When pairing up for technique, always be sure a senior student has a partner first before partnering up with others.

c. Do not openly yawn during class, especially within view of your instructor. It is considered rude and disrespectful.

d. Keep the spirit cooperative and supportive of your fellow students at all times. This is the spirit of Goju- Ryu.

e. When an instructor addresses you, respond by saying “OSU Sensei”. This shows your appreciation that the instructor is taking an interest in making sure you are performing your technique correctly.

When a student or instructor is performing a kata, it is considered rude to address them or to try to get their attention. Allow them to finish the performance of their kata and wait until they are ready before speaking to them or asking them a question.

Student’s Responsibilities

  1. To leave their negative attitudes and problems outside of the training hall. To learn to keep their minds open.

  2. To practice their technique at home. This is so they do not hold the rest of the class up. To maintain their strength, flexibility and a sincere dedication to what they learn.

  3. To battle with their egos and intellects which will cause them to be in competition with fellow students and instructors. Students are in the dojo to learn, not to teach.

  4. To maintain a clean uniform, protective equipment, school literature and to contribute financially when possible.


Mental Attitude Essential for Karate Success

A message for junior kyu ranks of all ages

So, you just joined the dojo?! Your knuckles ache; your knee is killing you; your back is hurting; your toes are jammed, black and blue; your elbow is hyperextended; you’ve been punched, kicked, poked, scratched. You’ve been swept to the dojo floor 20 times in the last month, and it doesn’t seem like there’s an end in sight. Let’s add to that a pulled hamstring and a stiff neck. Well, Kyu San, welcome to the dojo.

Veteran Karateka seem to dismiss all those pains and aches with a “shi gata ga nai” attitude. You, however, think that you’ll never reach that point of stoicism—that time in your training when you too will be able to shake off the pain. The truth is, you will. That is, of course, if you stick with the training.
Every senior ranking fighter in the dojo has been through it; and that’s one of the greatest common denominators: NO ONE ESCAPES THESE RITES OF PASSAGE. So when we consider the dojo adage, “All start at the bottom,” we can at least be consoled by the knowledge that others have been through a great deal worse 
- and believe me they have and you can get through it as well.

The key to successful training, not only in karate, but in every discipline, is a strong mental attitude. This means that we consistently try to dwell on the positive aspects of our training, and accept the fact that through continued practice and effort we will improve. Remember that GREAT STUDENTS ARE CONSTANTLY CONVINCING THEMSELVES THAT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.




The Rules

  1. Everyone works

  2. Nothing is free

  3. All start at the bottom


The Credo

  1. Block softly

  2. Think big

  3. Hit hard


The Sins

  1. To fold

  2. To throw a bad punch

  3. To throw a bad kick

  4. To fake kata

  5. To be slow

  6. To stay ignorant

  7. To act first and think second

  8. To make excuses

  9. To waste time

  10. To rely on others


The Code

  1. We are proud to be karateka.
  2. We shall always practice and study.
  3. We shall be quick to seize opportunity.
  4. We shall always practice patience.
  5. We shall always keep the fighting spirit of karate.
  6. We shall always block soft and hit hard.
  7. We shall always believe that nothing is impossible.
  8. We shall always discard the bad.
  9. We shall always keep the good.
  10. We shall always be true to ourselves, karate and family.