DoJo Guidelines
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Martial Arts Etiquette

The Right Attitude:

Understanding the Student/Teacher Relationship: In many martial arts schools, the student/teacher relationship is rooted in the Asian tradition. Passing on the martial art traditions is considered something very serious and sacred. Eastern masters have left potential students waiting at the door for years before even acknowledging their presence, let alone allowing them in the training hall. Once inside, many masters have also been known to train a student for years without uttering a single word. In the East, teachers are respected and students are very loyal to them. The dojo is like a family and the instructor is considered the head of the family. The instructor represents what the student is striving to achieve through his martial arts training. In addition to physical skill, a martial arts teacher seeks to pass along the characteristics of discipline, dedication, and loyalty. Therefore, it is the teacher’s responsibility to guide the student to these goals through instruction and correction. This way of teaching is not what we are used to in the West. Beginning students must understand this and abandon old ideas of how a martial arts teacher should act. Sometimes the teacher is very stern in correcting or disciplining a student. Do not get insulted if your instructor corrects you or speaks in a harsh tone of voice. It is better to be corrected by your instructor than to hear sweet and pleasing words in order to keep you happy. This is not martial arts. It is the teacher’s job to demand the most from you. When a teacher corrects you, do not argue or get offended. The student should not take it personally. The best way to respond is to control your personal feelings and concentrate on improving your technique and self discipline. Students who apply themselves will later have revelations regarding the teachers actions which will help lead them to a greater understanding of the martial arts.


Why Bow? Bowing is very misunderstood in Western cultures, especially in martial arts schools. It goes far beyond simple respect, although this is a fundamental aspect. Bowing has nothing to do with subservience or superiority since the other person always bows back. It's purpose is to help promote "right attitude", i.e. a mind that is calm, concentrated and focused, and not caught up in self importance, opinion or agitation. The importance of "right attitude" cannot be stressed enough in any true study of the martial arts. The significance of bowing is deeply rooted in the Zen teachings that also gave birth to the martial arts. Bowing is essential etiquette in traditional schools.

When to Bow?

  • When entering and leaving the School.
  • To Calasanz, your head instructor, and the senior instructor at the end of training or class.
  • Whenever Calasanz, your head instructor, or the senior instructor comes over or departs during training.
  • When approached by more advanced belt
  • When beginning and ending an exercise with another student.
  • In salutations, and when beginning and ending each class.