Dojo Etiquette & Procedures

Dojo Etiquette

1. On entering and leaving the Dojo bow and say “OSSU” loudly.
2. No smoking, eating, or bad language is permitted in the Dojo.
3. Good personal hygiene is essential; finger and toenails to be kept short and clean, hair if long tied back. Karate Gi’s and other training clothes to be clean and in good repair.
4. When training, jewellery or watches are not to be worn at any time. Anything that cannot be easily removed must be shown to the instructor for their advice.
5. While training there should be no talking or any distractions either by those training or watching.
6. Instructors must be addressed at all times by their correct title, i.e. Shihan, Sensei, or Sempai.
7. The instructor or a senior student will show you how to wear your Gi and tie your belt.
8. If you have any question please ask.

Dojo Procedures

1. When told to line up the highest grade stands to the right facing the instructor, then the other students stand to the left of the highest grade in grade order.
2. The kneeling and bowing commands at the beginning and end of the class are the responsibility of the highest grade standing in line. This procedure is a polite and respectful way of greeting the instructor and fellow students at the beginning of a class and of saying thank you and farewell at the end.
3. When everyone has lined up the following commands will be given.

a. “Seiza” – Kneel down
b. “Mokuso” – Eyes close
c. “Mokuso Yama” – Eyes open
d. “Shinzen Ni Rei” – All bow silently
e. Wait for the instructor to turn around,
f. At the beginning of the class; “Shihan/Sensei/Sempai Ni Rei” – all bow and say “OSSU”

At the end of the class; “Shihan/Sensei/Sempai Ni Domo Arigato Gozaimashita Rei” – all bow and say “OSSU”

g. “Otagani Rei” – all bow and say “OSSU”
h. Wait for the instructor to stand and bow, then the highest grade then everyone else.
i. If late or re-entering the Dojo enter in the normal way then kneel in Seiza, when told to join the class bow and say “OSSU” then find your correct position in the line.


Ossu is the word you will hear most in the Dojo. When you enter or leave the Dojo you Bow and say ‘Ossu’. When you greet a fellow karate-ka you say ‘Ossu’ instead of hello. When you respond to a command you say ‘Ossu’ instead of ‘yes’.
The word ‘Ossu’ should be used without embarrassment for all responses, yes, no, please, thank you, excuse me, and with attention to what it signifies, your respect for your fellow karate-ka and your unbreakable spirit.