Etiquette: Reishiki

Etiquette is simply defined as forms, manners, and ceremonies - the proper way to behave.  Dojo etiquette is the way a pupil is expected to behave as a member of the dojo.

These rules of conduct are to be carried outside the confines of the dojo proper as well as within.  This relates especially to the unique relationship between the yudansha and the mudansha (black belts and non-black belts).  Proper discipline, conduct and respect are expected to be internalized until it becomes one with self.  Whereas a few will find it difficult to adjust to a system which, in fact, reflects the quasi-military origins of karate do the majority will adapt quickly.  Those who after an appropriate time period cannot adjust will be excluded from participation and asked to remove themselves.  

An unwillingness to obey dojo etiquette by any individual will ultimately cause a feeling of being “picked on”.  This feeling of being “picked on” is usually perceived as being perpetrated by senior students.  For some there is also a belief that none of the traditions have meaning.  For these few individuals, the discipline would be of invaluable benefit.

However, for those few individuals whose inability or unwillingness to adjust or acclimate to dojo etiquette may find promotion to higher levels postponed, totally denied or face suspension or total expulsion from the dojo.  No dojo can exist or fulfill its obligation if students do not adhere to the rules, regulations, traditions, etc, for the distinctive harmony of the dojo will vanish into a nebulous oblivion - a situation that cannot be tolerated.

One must ultimately understand that the traditional origin of the word dojo comes from the ancient Sanskrit language.  The word bodhimanda comes from the place where an ancient wise man by the name of Buddha sat under a bodhi tree before becoming enlightened.  Literally, the word means the place of enlightenment.  The Japanese borrowed the concept and used the word do as the way of life and jo as the site or place.  Thus, the dojo is a place to learn a way of life, a place to learn about a unique individual – you.