Rules & Etiquette in the Dojo

Quick reminder of guidelines for parents and students

We know the Dojo can be an alien place if you aren’t familiar with it, so I wanted to go over some rules of etiquette that may make everyone’s experience better.

Unlike many schools, we don’t use a lot of Japanese or Korean phrases in class, unless there just isn’t an English alternative. We find it hampers the learning process if students can’t understand the instructor, but in other ways we follow the methods used in a traditional training hall. These rules exist not just in the Asian martial arts, but in warrior training centers worldwide.

The word “Dojo” (Japanese), or “Dojang” (Korean), or “Kwoon” (Chinese), means more than just “training hall.” The word actually means, “Place of the Way.” The “Way” is a reference to the path towards self fulfillment and self awareness. Understanding this puts the student in the right frame of mind to help this training change them for the better.

  • Please bow when entering the Dojo. It is a powerful center for growth and deserves respect, we bow (towards the room itself) when we enter or leave. It also helps the students to get into the right frame of mind for training. That’s not just for students. Parents, please set the right example and bow too if you come onto the training floor. If you have religious reasons to not do so, out of respect for you, we understand.
  • Students should be clean and nice smelling. We work closely together and good hygiene is respectful to those around us. Make sure the uniform is clean and worn correctly and that the belt is tied correctly as well.
  • Helping your child to tie their belt is ok, but instead, help them to learn to tie their own belt. We have a video on Youtube showing how to tie it. That video was emailed to you in your first week with us. You can see it here if you missed it: https://youtu.be/Fa_c97Q8NkU Let your child follow along. We are happy to help them as much as it takes. No one benefits from being impatient.
  • The belt represents not just their progress, but the long line of those who trained before us. The belt should be treated with respect. It is ok if it falls off, but should be put back on immediately. It can be set down, but laying it on the floor should be avoided. It should never be worn outside of the Dojo unless we are performing a demonstration, or we are at a tournament. Remove it before leaving the building please. Keep it in a bag or around your neck, on your shoulders.
  • No shoes are allowed on the training floor, for respect and cleanliness. Traditionally they weren’t worn in the building at all. Shoes are dirtier than bare feet and cause more damage to our mats and flooring. This rule goes for parents too. Please remove your shoes if you are stepping onto the floor.
  • Parents, please speak respectfully to each other, your kids and our instructors, everyone deserves consideration and compassion. We want this to be a place with a strong sense of community, respect and honor.
  • Please don’t be judgmental of any student. This is a Black Belt school. That means that our focus isn’t on getting anyone their Yellow, Blue or Brown belt, but instead, we want them to achieve their Black Belt. Every student will look a little different and have different skills. Some students start with amazing athletic ability, some have had a lifetime of being sedentary, others have trained in other martial arts. You don’t know their story. We don’t judge one student against another, and neither should you. When they get to Red Senior, they all catch up and we never passed someone to Black Belt who wasn’t amazing. It’s not fair to judge them considering that they are doing significantly better than the person who doesn’t train at all.
  • Stay and watch them. Some kids will tell you they don’t want you to watch. The reality is that they fear your criticism and if you stay, you can help them achieve excellence by providing support, motivation and love. Their subconscious really does want you here, being proud of them.
  • Be easily in awe of your family members who train. They want nothing more than your love and admiration and nothing will sabotage their desire to train more than you being critical of them. Praise them, give them thumbs up when they look to you, tell them you love watching them train and that you are proud of them.
  • Please don’t coach. You would be surprised the problems it can create when parents coach either from the sidelines or at home. Let us do our jobs. It’s why you enrolled here. Your job is to be their biggest cheerleader. If we seem to not be correcting something that you think we should, we are happy to discuss it privately with you, but probably, we are letting the issue go for a reason.
  • Never make them feel guilty about training. Complaining about the time required, the distance to get here, traffic or the cost will guarantee to make your child feel guilty and will sabotage their chance of success. You made the decision to help your child using our training, stand by that and let us do our thing.
  • Consider training with your child. The child who trains with parents is guaranteed to earn their Black Belt. The child whose parents are here watching have a high percentage chance of earning their Black Belt. The “drop them off” parent seldom sees their child earn their black belt. This parent is telling their child with their actions that this is not important, and neither is their child. Plus, you know you’ve always wanted to do it.
  • Parents, please bring any issues to us, don’t suffer in silence. If you see a problem, someone else probably does too and we can’t improve if we don’t know about it. We want to be the very best martial arts school in the world and can’t do that without feedback.

Thanks for trusting us with this important training for your child.

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