Custom, Courtesy & Protocol
Understanding Custom, Courtesy and Protocol is very important part of our style.
Courtesy: Courtesy as defined by Webster as an act or usage intended to honor or compliment.
Protocol: Protocol as defined by Webster is a code of ceremonial forms and courtesies, of precedence, etc. accepted as proper and correct in official dealings.
In the following sections we will go over some standard Customs, Protocols and Courtesies. I have listed a few different areas such as The Main Dojo in Okinawa, Common Practices, and Greeting Outside the Dojo. These may not fit every dojo situation and are not all inclusive but are a good starting point for the student to learn from.
The Main Dojo Okinawa, Japan
- Before Entering the second step going into the Main Dojo ensure you remove your shoes.
- If your Gi is not on do a standing bow turn right go into the bathroom and change into your gi.
- Come to the upper level of the dojo and sit and do a seated bow towards the front of the Dojo.
- Stand and do a standing bow towards the front of the Dojo.
- Look for Master Kise immediately, get approximately 3 to 4 feet away and do a standing bow with the appropriate greeting, Hanshi konbanwa (good evening) Hanshi Ohio (Good Morning) or Hanshi konichiwa (good afternoon).
- If Master is not there then you should find Kaicho Isao or the senior black belt and ensure you follow the same as number.
- If Master Kise should reach out to shake your hand ensure that you reach with 2 hands, and bow as you shake his hand. This should be done any time you shake a seniors hand. as noted in the picture above.
- Before you leave ensure that you bow to the Master in full gi before you go. Hanshi Domo arigato Gozimasu, Sayonara.
- Do your proper seated bow before you go to the changing room to remove your gi.
Here are some key points to remember
If you are not sure what to do always ask.
If you are not sure if you should bow then bow. You can never bow to much.
Always show the greatest amount of respect at all times. BE HUMBLE!
If you are out with the Master continue to show the respect at all times. Don’t get lazy with your custom or courtesy just because you are out with him.
Never drink even a sip of your drink until the Master drinks his or in the case of eating do not eat until the Master eats unless he directs you to do so.
Normally when drinking you always start with a Kampai (toast) first. To Kampai:
- Ensure you hold your glass with 2 hands with your left hand on the bottom of your glass.
- Ensure your glass is lower than the Masters when you touch glasses.
- Bow at the same time you Kampai.
A Kampai is a tradition that must carried out properly.
I did not cover ones like how to bow in right at the begining of class and just after the class finishes because your Sensei, I’m sure, will cover those areas. There are many other customs that should be obeyed but if you always show the ultimate in respect you will do fine when your with the Master or Isao
If you have any questions on some of the customs etc. at the Main Dojo please drop me an email at craig(@)higherimages.com
- All members shall not use profanity in the Dojo.
- All members shall remove their shoes before walking on the Dojo floor.
- All members shall bow when coming onto the deck and leaving the deck.
- All members shall bow to Sensei when entering and leaving the Dojo with the appropriate greeting or sayonara.
- Personal cleanliness and hygiene is to be observed at all times.
- Keep fingernails and toenails short.
- Keep you Gi clean and neat at all times.
- Do not criticize other members
- Do not wear rings, jewelry or other metal ornaments onto the Karate deck. (wedding bands are an exception)
- Do not practice while intoxicated.
- Do not take soda cans or candy onto the Karate Deck.
- No one will be allowed to chew gum during class.
- Excessive laughter or loud talking on the Karate deck or in the Dojo will not be permitted.
- Always look after your junior and lend a helping hand to those below you in rank and knowledge.
- Be on time for class.
- The Karate head instructor is to be referred to as Sensei, or Shihan.
- Refrain from misusing your knowledge.
- A report of any and all fights you engage in must be made to your Sensei within 24 hours or at the next class.
- Do not show anyone who is not a club member any Karate techniques, and do not demonstrate Karate in public except in authorized demonstrations.
- No one is to teach someone else a kata unless he has the approval of Sensei.
- No rank is permanent. Sensei may take it away if he feels you are not living up to the standards of that rank or if you are not a member in good standing with the dojo.
- Do not leave personal belongings, clothing, or uniforms in the Dojo overnight.
- No smoking anywhere in the Dojo, ever. (Sensei would like students not to smoke, it hinders your training)
- Signs and periodic postings are to be observed.
- If a lower belt is teaching class, they represent Sensei. Give them the proper respect.
- Try to promote the true meaning of Karate by developing:
- Health – physical development
- Character – mental development
- Skill – proficiency in contest
- Respect – courtesy in contest
- Humility – never losing sight of your short comings
- Always follow the chain of command when making requests or asking questions. You will save yourself embarrassment and push-ups
Greeting Outside the Dojo
Respect is a 2 way street. Always remember to earn respect one must give respect !
Shihan Craig Hodgkins