Q:

What are the typical rules of behavior for a student classroom dojo?

A:

Quick Answer

Japanese culture and martial arts place a great amount of emphasis on respect and etiquette; therefore, the dojo, or training hall, has many rules of politeness. Each martial art has a particular emphasis on things related to the study of the art, but there are several common conventions.

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Full Answer

At the start of each practice session, martial arts students in a dojo bow to the sensei, or teacher. Bowing is a sign of respect and thanks in Japanese culture. Before beginning practice, sensei and students exchange the word "Onegaishimasu," which means roughly "May we continue to have good will" or "Please let me train with you."

Because many dojos traditionally have tatami straw mats for floors, no shoes are allowed. Before stepping onto or off the tatami, the proper ritual is to bow to the mat. Also, everyone who is training is expected to keep themselves and their uniform clean and neat. Practice starts and ends at a particular time; once class has started, it is considered rude to interrupt it by stepping onto the mat late or leaving early.

During practice, there should be no conversation because it could distract others from hearing what instructors are saying. All questions should be directed to the instructor, who should always be addressed as "Sensei" or "Shihan." Practice starts and ends at a particular time; once a class has started, it is considered rude to interrupt it by stepping onto the mat late or leaving early.

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