Dojo Etiquette

Dojo Etiquette


Your First Visit

When you enter the dojo, the first thing you will do is remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack to your right.  This is both a Japanese custom and also helps us to keep the dojo clean.  One of our senior dojo members will greet you and will be available to answer any questions you might have.  We may even have a few questions for you.

While observing classes, you will see a wide range of training, running from very basic up to more advanced.  Please let us know if you have any questions regarding what you see.


Bowing is a traditional Japanese courtesy that we have continued to use in our training.  In our dojo, a bow is not a sign of submission; it is a sign of mutual respect and trust.  We bow when entering and leaving the dojo and when entering and leaving the mats.  We bow at the beginning and end of classes.  We also bow to our training partners before and after training.  Although this may sound like a lot of bowing, you will soon get used to it and come to understand its purpose.

If, because of religious reasons, you don’t wish to bow to the shinzen during class opening and closing, please talk to us about it beforehand.  Please understand, though, that bowing to training partners is a sign of mutual respect and trust, not subservience or worship.


Because we often train in very close proximity to each other, please make sure that you shower and launder your keikogi regularly.  Additionally, please do not wear makeup or perfumes in the dojo.

Safety Notes

Even though you may be curious and want to get a closer look at what we’re doing, please do not step onto the mats unless you are specifically invited to do so.  Once invited onto the mats, please remain aware of your surroundings at all times.

Additionally, finger and toe nails must be kept trimmed while training, as someone could get cut or scratched badly, potentially leading to infection.  Also, no jewelry is allowed to be worn while training.

If you are sick, as much as you might want to train through it, please exercise restraint so as not to spread illness to other members of the dojo. Also, no one is allowed on the mats when under the influence of alcohol or drugs that cause drowsiness or altered states of awareness, regardless of whether they are prescribed by a doctor.