Reading Shotokan Karate Club

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Home Etiquette


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General Etiquette


  • Bow on entering and leaving the Dojo.
  • Address any teaching instructor as "Sensei".
  • Say "OSS" upon receiving any advice or command from the instructor
  • Say "OSS" when bowing at the start or finish of the class
  • Say "OSS" when bowing to your partner in kumite
  • Train at your designated lesson and at least twice a week
  • Keep fingers and toe nails clean and short
  • Keep your "Gi" clean and in good condition
  • Ask your instructor or higher grades for advice
  • Show respect to each other
  • Tell your instructor before the lesson if you have a injury
  • Tell your instructor before the class if you must leave early.


  • Leave the class without your instructor's permission
  • Arrive late for training (if you do, warm up outside then kneel at the front of the Dojo, wait to be asked to enter then bow and join the class).
  • Wear any jewellery in the Dojo (rings which won't come off must be covered with tape).
  • Use offensive language or behaviour in the Dojo.
  • Use your Karate skills outside of the Dojo (except for self defence or the defence of other within the law).

Dojo Kun

The above Dojo Kun is taken from the 20 Precepts of Master Gichin Funakoshi, it should be recited out loud one line at a time, first by the dojo's Sensei or senior Sempai, and then repeated immediately afterwards in unison by all of the students in attendance prior to the final bow at the end of each class.






And when you leave your dojo, always be sure and take the meaning of those words out into the world with you. Because it is in the every day world that is outside of those four walls that you train behind each day, that the true meaning of the dojo kun is really meant to be practiced.

Regardless of when you say the dojo kun,
or in what language you speak it,
say it with pride and say it like you mean it.

The following explanations set forth the meaning of the Dojo Kun.

1. Seek Perfection of Character

This means that the art of karate is more than just physical. All beginners, especially the young, should be taught the importance of character building through discipline and rigorous training. For the beginner, the character building process begins with perfecting techniques through repetition. The spirit to fight will be achieved as one gains more confidence through development of stronger techniques. Train to bring out the spirit, not only to fight but to overcome personal problems especially in times of sickness, domestic crisis or business problems.

1. Be Faithful

To be faithful is a strong samurai tradition and an extension of the Confucius influence on the family and martial arts. The faith to be shown is in your sensei and dojo. The student must always be faithful to his sensei and follow in much the same way as a medieval samurai was bound to follow his feudal lord to the death without hesitation. While this may seem unusual in the present day, it is unreasonable to expect a sensei to teach all he knows to a student who is likely to leave for the slightest reason. The student must prove his loyalty over the years.

1. Endeavor

To endeavor means complete dedication and commitment necessary to achieve mastery of the art. In no case is mastery possible without strenuous effort and sacrifice on the part of the practitioner. The endeavor must be of a sincere nature and not just superficial.

1. Respect Others

Respect for others is an important part of the Japanese and Okinawan culture therefore common to the martial arts. Dojo etiquette is well defined. You bow correctly and show respect in everything you do and everywhere you go. Respect is extended to all...senseis, parents, educators, law, deceased, nature, etc.

1. Refrain From Violent Behavior

A trained fighter is a person with a fierce competitive spirit and great strength so it is unfair to use it against an untrained person. The karate-ka spirit is unbeatable and must use his knowledge only for the sake of justice. A person of character can walk away from a fight because he is in control of his emotions and is at peace with himself. He does not have to test his abilities on the street. He wins without fighting and he will have no regrets because no one will be injured. Refraining from violent behavior is hard to explain to many Westerners because of their environment, or the attitude of winning tournaments and they want to do it as quickly as possible which is against the principles of karate-do and dojo kun.

Each starts with 1 as one is no more important that an other.

The Start and End of the Lesson

At the start and finish of a lesson when we are kneeling down the senior sempai will say the following:

Seiza (??, literally "proper sitting") is the Japanese term for the traditional formal way of sitting in Japan.

Mokuso (?? mokuso?) is a Japanese term for meditation, especially when practiced in the traditional Japanese martial arts. Mokuso (pronounced "moh-kso") is performed before beginning a training session in order to "clear one's mind", very similar to the zen concept of mushin.

Shomen-ni-rei - Bow to front.

Sensei-ni-rei - Bow to the teacher.

(Sensei gata-ni-rei - Bow to teachers)

Otagai-ni-rei - Bow to each other

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 February 2020 16:55