Getting Started Basics

Attire

A gi [Karate uniform] can be purchased from Bushido Karate via the internet and offer a good quality Gi and an acceptable price. Goto to www.bushido.co.nz You may wear any comfortable exercise clothing [sweat pants, t-shirt, etc] for a week or so before purchasing a gi.

 Dojo Do’s

Here are some very basic pointers on what to do when you start.

  • Always come to the dojo with a clean body and clean uniform, plain white karate gi
  • When you come to the dojo be prepared to train. Famous karate saying “There is no dishonour in mistakes; there is dishonour in not trying your best’
  • Always remove shoes before going on Dojo floor
  • Try to get to the dojo early, it will show you are eager to learn
  • Don’t leave a mess in the toilets and/or changing rooms. Clean up after you.
  • Toe and fingernails must be short. Long hair must be tied back and tidy. Hair ties must be the elastic kind, no plastic or metal hair ties are permitted.
  • Show respect at all times for all training partners – (Karate-ka)
  • Always refer to the Senior instructor as Sensei
  • Always be a positive role model for younger members of the dojo and those who are less experienced.
  • Always demonstrate the essence of karate – reigi saho (etiquette).
  • Always listen carefully and try your best throughout the class

 Dojo Don’ts

Just as there are the ‘do’s, here are also some very important things not to do.

  • Don’t eat, drink, spit or chew gum in the dojo.
  • Water bottles are the exception to the rule, but must have `squirt tops’. The student must clean up any spillages immediately.
  • Only badge to be worn on the uniform is the official JKS badge. This is to be placed on the left breast of the jacket.
  • Foul or inappropriate language or gestures must never be used in the dojo.
  • Coming to the dojo intoxicated in any form will not be tolerated.
  • Do not leave any rubbish or water bottles in the dojo.
  • Only wear a white (no pictures) t-shirt, singlet or sports apparel under your gi
  • No jewellery of any kind or watches are permitted to be worn during training.
  • If sick, do not come to the dojo for training.
  • Never talk in class, unless instructed to do so
  • Do not leave to dojo floor without permission
  • Don’t ask to use the bathroom during class. Take care of that beforehand.

 General Karate Etiquette

Entering. Remove shoes. If you are wearing shoes, remove them before walking onto the practice floor. It is the ultimate insult to wear shoes on a floor where people train barefooted whether you are doing karate, or are simply a guest to the dojo.

 Entering Dojo.

As a Karate-ka, as you enter, quietly perform a bow (rei) to the front of the dojo.

 Behaviour.

Don’t fool around once you enter the dojo. Once entering the dojo you must get into `karate mode’. You must leave the outside world behind and only focus on your karate-do.

 Preparing Dojo.

Upon entering the dojo begin cleaning the dojo floor. This must be done by the most junior grades present. Soji is excellent for warm up, but also shows the sensei your character.

Arriving late.

If you arrive late and class has started, sit in the traditional kneeling position (seiza) until asked to join in by the teacher (sensei). When asked to join in quietly join in at the back of the class, as to not cause any disruption.

 Leaving early.

If you need to leave early, always tell the presiding instructor before class. This is for safety purposes in addition to being polite to the instructor.

 Bowing (rei)

Don’t rush. Only begin your bow after your senpai or sensei begins their bow;

In the standing bow, bow slightly lower than your senpai;

In all circumstances don’t beat your senpai or sensei coming up from the bow. Stay down

until they begin to rise up from the bow then follow their lead.

 Other Pointers to follow during training (keiko)

  • Never talk when the Sensei is talking in class.
  • When Sensei talks face them and show attentiveness.
  • Don’t add on to what the instructor (or your senpai) says unless invited to do so.  
  • When the instructor corrects your form physically, or gives you some verbal advice,

acknowledge it positively by strongly saying ``Osu’’ or ``Osu Sensei’’.

  • If you have a question, ask the sensei or person leading the class after exercise or training is completed.
  • If there is a need to ask the instructor a question, raise your hand in between drills. Only ask questions in class when it is absolutely necessary.
  • When paired up for kumite (sparring) train according to your opponent. That is when paired up with a lower grade or someone much smaller than you (i.e. a child), don’t go full on unless requested to do so by the person. Use common sense at all times.
  • Do not train with slack technique or laziness.
  • When participating in group drills such as callisthenics, group kihon and group kata, try to move in time with the group when the count is given.
  • When a count is given, try to react to it, like to a starting gun !  
  • At the end of Training (keiko) Quickly line up in straight lines, just like at the start of practice. Make sure you are in line with the person to your right side, and in line with the person in front of you (if there is more than one line and you are further back).
  • The class does not disperse until the instructor(s) has/have left the dojo floor. After training is a great time to ask your senior grades or the sensei questions.  

 Opening Ceremony

Seiretsu (or Narande) Line up into straight lines quickly

Shomen ni rei Bow to the front

Sensei ni rei (Osu) Bow/Greet the teacher (students say ``Osu’’)

Otogai ni rei (Osu) Bow to each other (students say ``Osu’’)

 Closing Ceremony

Seiretsu (or Narande) Line up into straight lines quickly

Mokuso Meditate/concentrate on what you have learned

Mokuso-yame Finish meditation/relaxation time

 Dojo-kun

Recite the five core principles of karate (as below)

Shomen ni rei Bow to the front

Sensei ni rei (Osu) Bow/Greet the teacher (students say ``Osu’’)

Otogai ni rei (Osu) Bow to each other (students say ``Osu’’)

 DojoKun

This English translation is used internationally in English speaking nations where the Japanese version is not recited.

  • Seek perfection of character
  • Be sincere
  • Maximum Effort
  • Respect others
  • Refrain from violent behaviour