Curricula - Etiquette


Supplemental Beginners' Etiquette

1. All kyu (below black belt) grades must wear all white karate uniforms. Black belts are allowed to wear colored uniforms. Only appropriate and approved patches are allowed to be worn on uniforms. Pant legs should be hemmed. Uniforms are required prior to testing. Once a uniform is purchased, the student is expected to train in full uniform every class from then on (up until that time, students should dress comfortably in sweat suits; no short-shorts please). If a shirt must be worn underneath, it should be plain white without markings. Women may wear body suits (preferably plain white or tan) under their uniform. Rank colored T-shirts (plain) are also acceptable.

2. Arrive early, dress out and then begin to stretch on your own. Be ready to start class on time.

3. When American Butokukan black belts (dan ranks) enter the dojo, the first person who sees them should command, "Ki-o-tsuke" (come to attention), loudly and authoritatively. Everyone should assume a ready stance facing the dan(s). The dan(s) will enter the room and come to attention when they are ready to be recognized. The highest ranking student under black belt is responsible for saying, "Sensei-ni, rei!" Everyone bows and then immediately returns to what they were doing. Use common sense! If a dan walks in the room with their arms full, allow them time to put their belongings down. If the class is in the middle of a kata, wait until the kata is finished first. This bowing rule/procedure applies all the time.

4. Lower ranks shall not ask a senior rank to spar, be their uke (partner who takes the throws) or ask them to be the recipient of any technique delivery. Never put a senior grade on the defensive in any way, to any degree; because you may not be able to cope with their response. As Mr. Jones puts it, "live as if there was a sword ready to cut your head off; in other words don't do anything that would put you in a position for getting your ass kicked" (inside or outside of the dojo).

5. Always bow before speaking to another martial artist, whether higher or lower rank. It is customary for the initiator of the conversation to initiate the bow. When executing technique, it is not necessary to come out of stance to ask a question; a head nod with either, "excuse me ..." or a "thank you" is sufficient.

6. Refer to all senior grades as Mr. _____ or Ms. _____. Do not use their first names. Instructors may be addressed as "Sensei". "Sir" and "Ma'am" are also appropriate terms in the classroom.

7. Do not fidget during meditation. Breathe, relax, and concentrate.

8. Remember, no one is perfect. Avoid a "know-it-all" attitude; go into class with the attitude that you're going to learn something.

9. Try not to laugh at new techniques or customs. Maintain a serious attitude.

10. Do not talk between drills. Always maintain good stance and posture while the instructor is talking; do not relax hands or posture unless told to do so. Do not waste precious training time; when commands are given, immediately respond. When yame (stop) is called come to ready stance and straighten the lines. Always turn to your left, away from flags, black belts, senior grades to fix/straighten your uniform. When sitting during class, never lean on the walls. Maintain your own posture and practice self-discipline.

11. Do not compete with or try to out do classmates. Concentrate on your own technique and skill level.

12. When corrected, don't reply "Yea, I know" or "That's what I did". Simply reply "Yes, Sir (ma'am)" or "Thank you". Be gracious!

13. There are no acceptable excuses in the dojo. An instructor may choose to forgive a failure, but is not obligated to do so. This, however, is not a carte blanche for instructors to abuse their privilege either. Students should perform as requested/demanded or drop from the exhaustion of trying.

14. During floor ex, when in either first or last row, kiai (shout) when you get to the wall to let your instructor know you've run out of space. Always kiai when going into stances, and during hantai (switch feet) and mawatte (turn around). If you are too close to the person in front of you in line, then you should take a few steps back to be able to throw technique safely.

15. Kyu grades are not allowed to make club policy decisions collectively or independently. Always seek approval before making any changes or "improvements". Feel free to volunteer your assistance in club duties. Show your appreciation by actions and deeds, not lip service.

16. When students attend class in street clothes to watch, it is customary to stand on the side and bow in and out with the rest of the class (if there during this part of class). It never hurts to show respect. When dan(s) are in street clothes, they may assist with white and yellow belt (level 1 & 2) classes if they are invited to do so by the class instructor. Dan ranks in street clothes should never assist (or comment from the sidelines) with any advanced classes. Remember there is only one instructor per class.

17. Learn to stand with good posture and hold yourself with pride. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head up, and let your arms hang naturally at your sides. Do not fidget, cross arms in front of your chest, or place hands on hips. These are a form of body language that imply a closed, resistive attitude (arms at sides represents an open mind and good attitude).

18. When the instructor is late for class, the highest ranking person present should begin the class (or they may appoint someone else if appropriate) (green belt and above only). The class should be turned over to the instructor upon their arrival. It is important to be punctual and to set good examples. We must uphold the rules ourselves that we expect our students to comply with.

19. Advanced (instructor) grades attending levels 1 & 2 classes (white & yellow) should focus their attention on the beginners' needs. They should not work on their own techniques/skills requirements but rather should devote their time and energy to improving the skills of the individuals in the lower level classes (for example: kata & sparring should be practiced on one's own class time).

20. Students are encouraged to attend all available seminars and special work-outs. These are arranged for the students benefit and take considerable planning. Please be courteous and attend if at all possible. Some are free and others cost a small fee to cover the expenses involved. These are valuable learning experiences and students should take advantage of people's expertise.

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