How to Be a Good Karate Student

Every dojo is unique. I have been highly involved at East Valley Martial Arts. But I have also been in many different dojos and talked to even more people who lead martial arts schools. Although each one is unique, there are many universal ways to be a good karate student. I bring this up because I know a lot of karate students who greatly appreciate being a part of a dojo. Their training has changed their lives and they would like to give back and support their dojo. The same goes for appreciative parents who have children benefiting from karate.


A traditional way to show gratitude for the training received is to support your instructor financially. I read an old karate story that said students in Okinawa once bought a house for their instructor to show their thanks. Although we don’t expect that, it is important that everyone does their part.

There are many basic ways that anyone who trains or has children training can show appreciation for the time spent in karate education. One basic way to do your part and be a good student is to follow the rules and etiquette. Additionally, keeping up with your tuition is crucial. Showing up regularly for training is also necessary. In keeping with tradition and as a character building exercise, traditional dojos have everyone lend a hand with cleaning and maintaining the dojo appearance. Even if you train in a non-dedicated location you can help with sweeping, litter removal, set-up and straightening up.

you don't have to be a superhero or a black belt to be a good karate student

Dojos need student and karate parent involvement. To be a good karate student you can give support in any way that your resources allow. This includes things such as recommending the program to potential new students (in person or online). It is important to participate in special events, and give moral support to the instructors. Most dojos appreciate donations which can be in the form of volunteer time, equipment and money. Ditto on the giving of thoughtful input and being present with a positive attitude.


Your training agreement may spell out a lot of the crucial responsibilities between you, your dojo and a billing company. A written agreement helps all parties to know what is expected. They can help a dojo follow the best practices of the martial arts industry. They can also help dojo leaders to plan ahead financially. It is important for a responsible adult party to let your instructor know, clearly and in writing, about any change in your agreement, with plenty of lead time.

When students and parents of students participate fully and thoughtfully, as well as communicate clearly, that helps the dojo instructors to continue to do their part. They can focus on helping you as well as educating others in your community. Good karate students help make good karate instructors even better.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

be a good karate student and help your teacher be even better at their job

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