SHOSHIN RYU DOJO ETIQUETTE

 

BOW WHEN ENTERING AND LEAVING THE DOJO
This teaches you to be more sincere and aware of the privilege of training. In time, this extends to all the things we take for granted. There are things that we see daily and yet do not really see or appreciate. Bowing as you enter the dojo allows you to stop for a moment and look around. Fear or anger can be dropped from your shoulders before the training begins. You are happier and safer if you bow before you enter the dojo.
Bowing as you leave a training session reminds you to be thankful for the teachings, the training hall and the partners who have added to your strengths. Preparing to bow makes you become aware of the doorway and the edge of the mat. It teaches awareness, a trait in self-defense more important than any individual technique.

SHOES ARE NOT TO BE WORN IN THE TRAINING AREA
Not wearing shoes on the mat or on the dojo training floor keeps the floor from wearing out due to the grinding of dirt. It helps to keep outside objects, such as small stones, from making their way onto the mat. This prevents possible injury. The neat arrangement of shoes is an effort to teach self-discipline and develop good organizational habits. A samurai maxim says, “In daily things, be organized so the mind learns how to arrange itself to gain easy access to all its powers.”

ASSEMBLE AND WARM UP BEFORE CLASS
This practice keeps the dojo in harmony. There are no unnecessary disturbances once the bowing in has begun, but, rather, everyone starts working together. Learning time management teaches self-discipline and other skills that are useful in both life and the martial arts. It helps the dojo to start promptly. Starting your own warm-up encourages you to be a self-starter and to be in charge of your own training path.

IF LATE, WARM UP AND SIT IN SEIZA AND AWAIT RECOGNITION FROM SENSEI
This practice takes into account that we cannot always be on time or perfect. If we are late, then we sit and wait. We learn patience and allow ourselves to calm down from the rushing to get to class. This also allows Sensei to keep track of who is training, what needs to be done, and how to safely practice.

ADDRESS YOUR INSTRUCTOR AS SENSEI AND BLACK BELTS AS MR., MRS., OR MS.
This practice develops your humility. This letting go of the ego aids in the learning process and in gaining mushin (non-abiding mind). It gives you an opportunity to practice giving respect to others. In self–defense, this means you might be able to talk your way out of a situation simply by being polite.

WHEN SENSEI IS SHOWING A TECHNIQUE TO ENTIRE CLASS, SIT IN SEIZA
Sitting in seiza allows all students to easily see the instruction. Sitting also provides a signal to others, that Sensei is instructing and they need to pay attention. It is another opportunity to practice humility.

HORSEPLAY IS NOT TOLERATED
This is an important rule of dojo etiquette. Safety is a priority of Shoshin Ryu. Horsing around can get out of hand and injuries (physical and emotional) can occur. No one means to hurt his dojomate, but excuses like, “We were just playing around” or “I wanted to see what would happen if…” does not make the injury any less real. The dojo is for training the mind, body and spirit of each practitioner; use the playground or some other appropriate place for your entertainment and horseplay.

NO ARGUING OR ANIMOSITIES ARE TOLERATED IN THE DOJO
In order to best learn one must have a safe, harmonious environment. Arguing or feuding takes time and energy from one’s training. It is a distraction that inhibits learning. There is a saying we use, “We don’t have to like everyone, only respect them.” While it would be nice if we could like everyone, we are not perfect. Respecting each student’s efforts and his reason for being there, however, allows us to learn and train to be better martial artists. Learning tolerance is a great martial virtue. Without it, your enemies can easily lead you into fights you do not want or situations that lessen your chances of success. A lack of tolerance also means you will learn more slowly, since you get emotional over mistakes which are part of the learning process.

UNIFORMS SHOULD BE KEPT NEAT AND CLEAN
A clean uniform allows others to work with you without experiencing unpleasant odors assaulting their noses or having to touch a slimy gi. A clean gi means the student has prepared for class and is learning self-discipline and time management.

BOW BEFORE AND AFTER YOU WORK WITH A PARTNER
Bowing to a partner reminds you that safety is important. It signals that a certain amount of appreciation is given for having a partner to work with, as wrist techniques are quite challenging by yourself. After working with a partner, you bow again, giving thanks for having a person to work with. Say “onegai shimasu” (please) during the beginning bow and “domo arigato gozaimashita” (thank you very much) during the ending bow.

USE “PLEASE” AND “THANK YOU” OFTEN
This is a sign of confidence and emotional maturity in the individual. Using these simple words often makes them a habit, one of beginning to be able to treat people well. As one learns to give respect, one gains it.

PAY DOJO AND ASSOCIATION DUES ON TIME
Shoshin Ryu Association Membership fees are due in March of every year. Plan for them in addition to national or local seminars you would like to attend. Please pay your regular class fees on time as well. This helps everyone feel good about their training. It keeps Sensei or the senior students from feeling they are bill collectors. It shows you are sincere in your efforts by keeping this task as simple as possible and that you appreciate the class. While monies are necessary to make a dojo function, Shoshin Ryu instructors are not teaching simply to make money. Shoshin Ryu teachers, for example, do not promote students to a higher rank just to keep that student’s dojo dues coming in or to get more association fees. As much as is humanly possible, Shoshin Ryu keeps money separate from the teaching. Your training and practice should increase your ability to plan,

IF YOU ARE TAKING AN EXTENDED BREAK FROM TRAINING, PLEASE INFORM YOUR SENSEI
This teaches courtesy and honesty. It also helps us face difficult situations. You might find that your sensei is more supportive of your efforts and choices than you might think. This also gives your sensei the opportunity to give you some suggestions of a teacher in a new town, should you wish to continue your training. even for monetary situations. There is an old samurai saying, “Sharpen you swords even in times of peace.” Train before there is a problem and plan your finances so that problem does not develop.

TREAT ALL BEINGS WITH RESPECT AND COURTESY
Funakoshi Sensei, the founder of Shotokan Karate, said karate begins and ends with courtesy. This is truer than one might initially suspect. Learning to treat all people with courtesy and respect means learning to set aside your prejudices. It allows you in time to find mushin. These rules allow us all to learn faster and more pleasantly by keeping harmony in the dojo. This is important considering the energy and potentially damaging techniques that are practiced. Safety and the respect of self and others are keys to your continued growth in the martial arts.

 

The longest trip begins with a single step.
The strongest building begins with a single brick.
The Shoshin Ryu practitioner begins training with
a single technique.