By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

The dojo is a special place where we can all go and feel safe, supported and respected.  There is a certain level of discipline and etiquette that we each must remind ourselves (and our kids) to maintain while at the dojo.  Instead of taking away the special feeling of being at the dojo, following these guidelines will reinforce it.

-Work hard when you are in class!  Stay busy.  Your time in classes is limited, make the most of it.

-Be quiet while in class.  No chatting.  Focus on your training in the current moment.  If you have a question that applies to your training, raise your hand and wait for acknowledgement.  Any other questions or comments should wait until after class.

-Walk around others who are training or working together.  This is not only to be polite, but for your own safety.

-No gum chewing on the mat.  (ditto on second sentence above.)

-Remove jewelry prior to your class, except for small, compact pieces.  Even a bracelet or wrist band can cause injury to yourself or others in the course of regular practice.

-If you are authorized to use weapons, have a mind to where you place them when not in use.

-Keep your uniform neat and clean.

-No food near the training area.

-Let your instructor(s) teach and practice without interrupting.  Wait to speak to them after class or when they are done with their current training.

-Help keep your dojo clean.

-No loitering or horseplay at the dojo.  You are there to learn and all your actions while at the dojo should support your efforts to learn.

-Bow to the head instructor when entering or leaving the dojo.

-(Parents of karate kids): Kids will complain about going to class.   If you want them to learn discipline, they have to go to class a couple times a week, even when they don’t feel like it.  Discipline must be reinforced at home.  Students who stick it out through the difficult training times are glad they did.

-Never show anger or disgust, these are signs of a lack of discipline and self control, and can affect your ability to advance in rank. (That is #10 in our Dojo Rules and Etiquette list.)

Even the most exemplary student or instructor has something in the list above that they can personally improve on.  Those of us who are older have the added responsibility to set a good example for younger dojo family, and to remind them, in a friendly way, of the behaviors that are expected at the dojo.  Following these behaviors will give us all more class so we can get the most out of attending karate class.