Dojo Etiquette


The word Dojo literally means 'Place of the Way'. The dojo is a place of learning. It is a place to respect, to keep clean and to care for. The dojo is a place to be made special for practicing a special martial art. In the Tora Shotokan dojo, the observation of basic forms of etiquette is integral to the creation of a respectful and attentive atmosphere, which is conducive to learning.


  • Always call your teacher 'SENSEI', even privately
  • Every instructor is treated with respect - AT ALL TIMES
  • Never compare one instructor with another. Every Sensei has something unique to share with you. Your job is to discover it


Bowing is an appropriate way of showing gratitude and humility, while at the same time placing one's mind in a state of peace which is necessary for the right training.

When entering the dojo:

  • Bow
  • Bow to the Sensei (teacher)
  • Bow to the Black Belts in general

If you are late:

  • Bow as you enter
  • Assume Za-zen (kneeling position)
  • Bow toward the class and the Sensei in general
  • Wait until Sensei motions you to join in
  • Then stand up and join the class

If you have to leave early:

  • Obtain Sensei's permission beforehand
  • When it is time for you to leave, bow to Sensei, wait for his acknowledgement, reverse the procedure for Late Arrivals


  • When warming up before class, bow with 'OOS' when Sensei, the instructor or senior black beltsĀ firstĀ enter the dojo floor
  • Bow when requesting personal instruction from an instructor
  • When receiving personal instruction, remain quiet until the instructor has completed his explanation. Then bow and say 'OOS'
  • After the instructor demonstrates a technique, bow and say 'OOS'
  • Bow to your partner at the commencement and end of a training exercise


Always enter the dojo with an empty mind. If you presume to know already, then it will be difficult for you to learn.

  • Never come to training when you have ingested any type of drug or alcohol
  • Any negative feelings you might be harbouring must be left outside the dojo. There is no place for them inside
  • Always arrive at the dojo with plenty of time to sign in, change into your gi
  • Enter the dojo floor at least 5 minutes before class is to begin

Dress and Cleanliness:

  • The dojo should be kept spotless. If you see something that indicates otherwise, for example, rubbish or dirt on the floor, don't wait for someone else to correct it. This is part of your training
  • Your gi should always be clean and mended
  • Your body and particularly your feet must be very clean before you step onto the dojo floor. Keep fingernails and toenails short