PROTOCOL FOR CLASS
• As we practice a Japanese art, we follow certain rules of Japanese culture. When entering or exiting the training area, or dojo, we turn toward the front – or shomen – and bow. Shoes are left outside of the dojo. Please be ready for class. This means you should be punctual. If you do arrive late unavoidably, please bow upon entry, put your things down, then sit in seiza position and do your own mokuso. Wait for Sensei’s permission to join the class. When sensei motions you into the class, bow quickly and take position where the dojo permits. We will attempt to work you back in according to your rank.
• Lining Up at Beginning - At beginning of class, line up shoulder to shoulder in order of rank, with the higher ranks farthest from the main door and lower ranks closest to the door. The highest ranking student (sempai) will instruct the following in sequence:
o Seiza (“kneel down”) – All karateka – including sensei – will kneel.
o Mokuso (close eyes and relax or meditate) – We take a few moments to quiet our thoughts and put the school or work day behind. Close your eyes and relax. This gives us some time to focus on the training that will begin.
o Mokuso yame (stop meditation) – Open your eyes.
o Shomen ni rei (bow to “shomen”) – This bow is to the front of the room in honor of the founder of Shotokan and those teachers of the art who came before us.
o Sensei ni rei – The class bows to sensei, and sensei bows to class.
o (At times we will begin informally, standing and bowing to shomen and then sensei followed by warm up.)
• Warmup - After the beginning, the sensei will have everyone stand and take their places for warmup. Give yourself enough room to stretch and move without hitting your fellow students. Sensei will usually lead the warmups though at times he may ask a senior student (sempai) or guest of honor to lead.
• Other rules
o During class, all karateka should concentrate on what is being taught and on practice. With some exceptions, students should not talk as it can distract others and take away class time.
o A student should only leave the dojo floor if something is wrong (e.g., you are injured, you feel nauseous or like throwing up, etc.). It is not proper to take a break whenever you are simply tired or thirsty and then rejoin the class. You should only leave the dojo floor if you are ill or if you are excused by sensei.
o If you need to leave the class or need to leave early, please let the sensei know prior to class. Then when the time comes for you to leave during class, please bow, walk toward door and wait until sensei sees you and bows. Return the bow and exit.
SAFETY AND COURTESY
o Please remove all jewelry – this includes all rings, earrings extending below the earlobe, watches, necklaces, etc. The reason for this is safety, as jewelry can snag yourself or hurt your partner during training. There is no exception for this for this rule.
o No eating, drinking or chewing gum. Students may bring water bottles, but should leave them at the back of the room and only exit the training floor when break is called by the sensei.
o No profanity or horseplay is allowed.
o Bring to the attention of your instructor as soon as possible any injury that occurred during class or any injury that occurred prior to class that could affect your ability to train.
o Young students must stay in class after they are dropped off until their parents return.
o Parents are always welcome to observe class, but we ask that they not distract their child any more than possible.
o Cellphones should be turned off or placed on mute. The exception is for instructors or students who are members of the medical profession who are “on call” or other professionals who must remain accessible to their employers at all times. (Please advise your instructor in advance if this is the case.)
o Be mindful of personal hygiene. Finger and toenails should be trimmed, as long nails can create a training hazard for your fellow students. Long hair must be tied back.
o Uniforms should always be clean and washed.
o You should always wear the belt of your present rank, which should be tied properly. If you forget your belt, you may still train but you will lose any privileges associated with your rank for that class period. (e.g., a brown belt who forgets his/her belt will be treated as a white belt and line up accordingly).
o Male members should not wear a shirt under their gi top. Female members should wear a white t-shirt or white athletic bra, or have an extra tie sewed into the upper portion of their gi.