Dojo Protocol

We are soon moving from a temporary location to a new home for our dojo. It makes us think about dojo protocol. Questions come up about the right way to do things at the dojo. Have we become lax since moving out of the last dojo and into the temporary home?

Those who have been around say yes as it looks like a carpeted room and not like the former dojo. Bowing in and out feels different and it is easy to forget our dojo protocol. It is not our dojo home; it is a temporary place.

On Saturday, one of our head Senseis remarked that disrespect is not tolerated during the lineup. Sensei’s belief is that at the lineup, discipline is essential. Also, respect for the practice both at the beginning and end of class is achieved when the students have line discipline.

Of course the protocol we follow is an expression of our interest in upholding Japanese tradition in our karate training. We should bow each time we enter and exit the dojo and teach fellow students to follow the same pattern. Maybe like me, you sometimes inadvertently bow entering other places.

Like other sports we put on a uniform (a karate gi) and tie on our belt before entering the dojo. What is different is we train barefoot as we take our shoes off prior to entering class as well as bowing at the door.

Here is what Sensei is most sensitive about…when class begins, we line up shoulder to shoulder in rank and age order. Here we expect the students to stand in what the army would call parade rest if being addressed. When ready to bow into or out of class, we are all standing at attention.  For kids this is sometimes hard and no wiggling is allowed. We delay the class start or end until all are ready (standing still and at attention, eyes on Sensei).

Interesting thought about our attendance at the dojo: we came to the dojo and the Sensei for instruction and not the other way around. The lineup at the beginning and end of class reinforces that this is the Sensei’s dojo and as the instructor, he runs his dojo by his rules.

Observing dojo protocol from the beginning shapes students before the first punch or kick. And when we put on our gi and take off our shoes and join our fellow students in line at the beginning of class, we are observing dojo protocol.

See you in class soon.


Entering the temporary dojo