www.jkaindia.org  The Japan Karate Association of India
Dojo Manners
Dojo Etiquette
Karate Training reflects tradition and embodies the etiquette to be followed by the practictioner. Traditional karate-do of the Japan Karate Association India Branch exemplifies the tradition followed in JKA Dojos world wide. The Term Doujou commonly spelt as dojo literally means place of training the way and is actually two charectars in Japanese Dou and jou
Dou or way also known as michi or road. When used with the martial art of karate, it denotes the path taken by the practictioner in following the precepts of karate, hence the term karate-dou or commonly written as karate-do
Jou or place. Usually connected with learning. When defined within the frame work of Karate-do, the term becomes a training place. In the martial arts especially the two words are usually combined and the Dou-jou becomes the place where you practice your way.
The dojo has four sides each of which commands a different level of respect. The Front or Shoumen is the highest. This side is normally where the Altar or the shrine of the dojo is present and the flag of the country is found. The second level of respect is to the right side where the seniors of the dojo line up. The third level is the left and the last is the rear.

Upon entering the Dojo
Training in the Karate dojo is bare foot, hence before entering the dojo, please make sure that you are barefoot. Upon entering the dojo, first pay respect to the dojo by bowing from the waist. Keep the back straight while bowing, simultaenously uttering the traditional karate greetingof Oss,or Osu, or Ossu all these are used. Many articles have been written on this term which dates back to the days of the ssamurai warriors. However most Japanese believe that it is a short form for the term Onegaishimasu or favour me.
Cleaning the Dojo
It is very important to remember that the dojo is the place where you learn the way of karate. Hencemake sure that your feet are clean when you step into the dojo so that you do not dirty the dojo. In case the dojo needs cleaning, do not hesitate to participate in the cleaning of the dojo regardless of yourrank.Your Dojo must always be clean. Do not delegate the job to a junior. Be proud of your dojo as itreflects the attitude of the students and teacher. The spiritual aspect, apart, it is important to remember that unless the floor is clean your feet & dogi will get dirty. In Japan, the dojos have wooden flooring which are spotless. In India most dojos have concrete floors where the cleanling is much easier. This is one task that teaches you humility.Your Juniors seeing you do this will also learn the traits of humility. It is also another form of exercise before begining the class.
Lining up in the Dojo
After ensuring that the dojo is clean, the command to line up is given.in Japanese command is seiretsu The class lines up as follows: senior grade student on the extreme right line with the senior most student standing first in line.The lines to the immediate left of the first line would be those of the next level with the beginners in on the extreme left line. Ensure enough distance between the lines in line with the person on the extreme right line.When the Sensei or the Class instructor stands in front of the class ready to begin the dojo the Japanese command of ki o tsuke or attention to is given by the senior most student. At which everybody ensures that the lines are straight and everybody is in position. The stance normally taken is that of Musubu -Dachi or the formal attention stance.
seiretsuki otsuke
Sitting in the Dojo
After ensuring that the command ki o tsuke is fobeyed the Japanese command of seiza or to be seated in the Japanese manner to is given by the senior most student.who is normally the first person in the extreme right line. From theMusubi Dachi position, take your right leg back bend it and kneel with the toes bent forward the heel pointing upwards. Next take your left leg back, kneeling and bring your buttocks to rest on the upward pointing heels. Rest on this for a brief second or two then raise your hips to take your feet back so that the instep and toes lie flat against the floor. Rest your hips once again on the upturned soles of your feet & bring your right big toe over the left one. Keep your back absolutely erect. Chin tucked in and eyes looking straight in front.Calm yourmind by concentrating on your breathing and on the part just below your navel.
Meditation while seated in seiza in the Dojo
The senior most in the class gives the command of  Mokusou at which the students and teacher alike close   their eyes for a brief period of mediatation
and prayer. The term has arisen from the sanskrit word of moksha or liberation, normally in connection with the soul and the buddhist connotation of the
term is associated with the concept liberating one self from all attachments or desires. However in the dojou, the term is used to ensure the emptying
of the mind from various other thoughts. When taken in the context of training, this period is for the student to calm the mind and detach oneself from the
outside world while preparing oneself for the training ahead. Upon the senior giving the command of mokusou naore or mokusou yame, the class
opens it eyes.
Paying respect or obience while seated in seiza in the Dojo
After the mokusu naore command, the senior then asks the class to pay it's respect to the Shrine if there is one or to the front of the dojo, then to the instructor and to each other Paying obience to the Shrine of the dojo if there is one in the class which signifies the enshrinement of the spirits of the various masters through the ages who have taught this art. In the absence of the Shrine, the class pays obience to the front of the dojo which has the flags of the country and the dojo . The front wall normally also would have the portrait of Dai Sensei Funakoshi Gichin. The whole class pays obeince to either the altar or the front. At this time, it is a silent bow from the waist both hands palm down moving simultaenously towards the floor. the palms are turned slightly inwards. After the whole class pays obeince to either the altar or the front., the teacher or Sensei turns around and the senior of the class utters the phrase Sensei ni rei upon which the class bows to the teacher, Bow from the waist both hands palm down moving towards the floor. the palms are turned slightly inwards while simultaenously uttering the traditional karate greetingof Oss,or Osu, or Ossu. The teacher returns the greeting The whole class bows to one another. Karate-do treaches the student the concept of courtesy. This bow is done both at the start of the session as well as at the end of the session
Shinza ni rei
Shoumen ni rei
Sensei ni rei
Otagai ni rei
Dojo Kun
The Calligraphic Characters (kanji) for Dojo kun
A Karate dojo has certain precepts, based on which the karate students' character and manner of interaction with the world at large is molded. These precepts are a part of the daily ritual in a traditional karate dojo. Every dojo ends with the Sensei making the karatekas repeat the following Dojo Precepts based on the clear understanding of the Karate-do ideals of character building. The original Dojo kun were made by a Karate teacher from Okinawa by the name of Sakugawa Shungo who based them on the Chinese training hall rules prevalent at the time of Boddhidharma.
The JKA Dojo Kun in the illustration has the signature on the extreme left of Sensei Masatoshi Nakayama, the late Chief Instructor of the JKA.
Given below are the dojo kun with each of the 5 precepts listed separately. The Japanese Lines are reproduced in Kanji, (Calligraphic Chinese Characters) with the pronunciation of the same line in English. The English Translation of the line is given separately.
Japanese Sentence in KanjiPronunciationEnglish Translation
Hitotsu, jinkaku kansei ni tsutomeru kotoone, to work toward completeness in one's character viz. Seek perfection of personality
Hitotsu, makoto no michi wo mamoru koto.One, to defend the path of truth viz. to stick to the truth regardless of the consequences.
Hitotsu , doryoku no seishin wo yashinau koto.One, to foster a spirit of hard work. viz. to cultivate the spirit of putting in effort
Hitotsu, reigi wo omonzuru koto.One, to keep in esteem the factors of courtesy and respect viz. to respect others
Hitotsu, kekki no yu wo imashimuru koto.One, to guard against the urge of being driven by physical youthful passion. viz. dont be impetuous  / violent