IKD Karate Manitoba

Information for Beginners

Basic Dojo Etiquette and Terminology

As a beginner you will find that etiquette in a martial art dojo is somewhat different than that which you would encounter in other activities; Karate follows a practice of respect and the etiquette, this forms a common bond the world over.

Entering the Dojo

  • Always remove footwear before entering a Dojo
  • Bow at the doorway upon entering and leaving the Dojo
  • If you arrive late to a class, step into the dojo and kneel, wait for Sensei to call you to enter.


Rings, bracelets, neck chains etc. must NOT be worn during training. Jewelry/watches tend to get caught in other students fingers, gi, etc. and cause injuries. If you cannot get a ring off then tape must be wrapped around it. 

How to Tie your Belt
click here to see the video



A literal translation means “teacher”; however, it is usually reserved for the chief instructor of the dojo, or visiting instructors from another dojo.


Students ranked higher than you


This term is used frequently in the dojo and is derived from “Onore Wa Shinobu”, meaning “I will persevere”. The use of this term is broad and usually indicates an attitude of respect. Examples of such use:

  • At the beginning and ending of a class under the direction of the sempai with a kneeling bow
  • When answering a question, YES, to a question directed at you from the instructor
  • In a class session in response to a direction given by the instructor, indicating the class has understood the direction


The following is the sequence of commands that you will be expected to follow at the opening and closing of a class.

SHUGO - Come together – line up facing the front, in order of rank, with seniors to your right

SEIZA - Knee

MOKSO – Clear the mind, meditate – close the eyes and take slow deep breaths to relax and clear all thoughts other than the ones for training.

MOKSO YAME – Stop meditating – open the eyes

DOJO KUN – Philosophy of dojo – repeat after the sempai (at end of class only)
(click here for dojo kun)

SHOMEN-NI-REI – Kneeling bow to the front

SENSEI-NI-REI – Kneeling box to the instructor

After the instructor leaves the Sempai will dismiss the students.
There should be no talking or fidgeting during this time.



One of the most important principles of martial arts to remember is “mutual benefit”; all members are here to help each other, so don’t be afraid in asking for help or advice no matter how trivial you may think your question sounds.

During your first few classes don’t try to keep up with the other members or get discouraged when you get tired or can’t keep up. Everyone is different and will progress at their own pace, your Sensei understands this.


Copyright IKD Manitoba. All Rights Reserved.
Updated: April 19, 2011