Student Guide

Table of Contents

Dojo Etiquette

Members must observe all traditional Rei (Bowing Etiquette) in the dojo. This shall be done seriously and with feeling, as this is an expression of respect and courtesy. In this way, we express our state of mind and our effort for perfection in technique and practice.

Shoes are to be taken off at the entrance to the dojo and zori's (sandals or thongs) worn inside the dojo only in designated areas. Zori's should be lined up at the lower side of the dojo (facing outward).

Immediately after stepping into the dojo, students should bow respectfully towards the shomen (front wall, in Japan the place of honor); most proper style is from the standing position. This bow is to show respect for the dojo. At this time the student should clear their mind of all outside thoughts so that they may unify body and mind in order to learn.

When a student arrives late for class they should bow in and quickly do a few warm-up exercises, then remain in the seiza position until the instructor admits you to the class.

Students must ask the instructor for permission to leave the class early, or to leave the training area for a drink of water or for rest. Students should stay within the training area until the class is over.

The instructor should be referred to as 'sensei' during class instruction and not by his first name or surname. When approaching the instructor, students should not pass between him and the picture of O-Sensei. If the student approaches to ask a question or the sensei calls you to him, the student should bow first. Never call for the instructor across the dojo or beckon for instruction. If the instructor is close by quietly raise your hand and wait to be acknowledged, then bow.

The Rei is executed between members prior to mutual practice or contest to show respect and courtesy and to show that each will strive for perfection in their techniques and practice.

At this time also each member should clear their mind so that they will not be distracted. Your partner is not an opponent. Techniques are learned through them. It should be a pleasure to be a defender 'uke' as well as an attacker 'nage'. Care should be taken to be aware of the ability of one's partner so that no injuries may occur.

When the instructor claps, students should sit down promptly in seiza and listen and watch attentively. When the instructor indicates that practice is to resume, students bow to the instructor and promptly resume practicing.

Procedure for Opening and Closing Class

The rei is executed between the sensei and the members of the dojo before and after class practice:

Opening Class: The sensei will give the command 'shugo' to line up at the start of a training session. Lining up is done in front of the shomen facing the Sensei starting from the right side of the dojo. Standing at attention, according to seniority, beginning with black belts down to the white belts. The command 'seiza' will follow meaning to kneel. Facing the line-up of students the sensei will kneel and invite the most senior student to also kneel, all other students will follow in descending order of rank or grade (right to left).

When everyone is still, the sensei will turn and face the shomen and when in position the highest graded student or senior (sempai) in line says in a loud voice: 'Mokuso', meaning to close your eyes and concentrate on slow and controlled breathing with a straight posture that will help you prepare for the training ahead. After a minute or two the sempai will say in a loud voice: 'Mokuso Yame' which means open eyes and prepare to bow. The sempai then says in a loud voice: 'Shomen, ni rei', which means to bow in order to show respect to the art of Karate and the master instructor (Shihan Funakoshi)'.

The sensei then turns and faces the members and when in position, again the sempai says in a loud voice: 'Sensei, ni rei', which means to bow in order to show respect to sensei. A third and final rei is performed, without command, as a sign of mutual respect between sensei and students. At the same time the students say 'Onegai Shimasu', meaning please teach me. Rise up to a position of attention, in order after Sensei.

Closing Class: At the end of class, students should straighten up their uniforms and line up in order of rank. The procedure for closing class is the same as opening of class. At this time the sempai recites the dojo kun and all students are to repeat after sempai. Instructor and students will again bow to O-Sensei's picture and then to each other, formally thanking the instructor and each other. After the last bow everyone should thank the sensei: 'Arigato Gozi Mashita', meaning thank you.

The Rei is executed at the door before leaving the dojo. The Rei is executed at this time to show also, that the member will try to develop outside the dojo as well as in the dojo. That the karateka will be very humble about their knowledge; that they will not brag or show-off or use their knowledge in any way to start trouble; that they will not demonstrate any of their techniques outside the dojo, but will instead invite interested people to watch their practice at the dojo.

It is the responsibility of the higher ranked students (sempai) to see that the rules of etiquette are understood and followed by the students of the dojo. The students of higher rank should assist the beginners in learning proper wearing of the uniform, bowing techniques and beginning exercises.

It is the responsibility of each member of the dojo to ensure that the various needs of the dojo are met. These include: setting-up the practice area and making sure the dojo floor is clean.

Some things not to do in the dojo include:

  1. Do not wear jewelry or watches in the dojo
  2. Do not eat food or chew gum in the dojo
  3. Do not smoke in the dojo
  4. Do not talk when the instructor is talking
  5. Do not wear a dirty uniform; keep finger-nails and toe-nails clean and trimmed
  6. Do not wear a head-band while bowing in

Note: These 'do not' rules are for respect and for safety to the dojo, your fellow students, and yourself.

School Creed
Dojo Kun

The dojo kun are a form of rules, or perhaps more accurately oaths, in the karate dojo. They are basically common sense guidelines that everyone is expected to follow. Most versions in Shotokan Karate are based upon a writing generally attributed to Gichin Funakoshi.

Hitotsu. Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuro koto!
Seek perfection of character!

Hitotsu. Makoto no michi o mamoru koto!
Be faithful!

Hitotsu. Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto!
Endeavor to excel!

Hitotsu. Reigi o omonzuru koto!
Respect others!

Hitotsu. Kekki no yuu o imashimuru koto!
Refrain from violent behavior!

The word hitotsu means one, while the word koto means thing or matter. This is generally interpreted to mean that each of the dojo kun are equally important and therefore were not numbered in some form of decreasing importance.

Niju Kun
20 Lessons of Master Funakoshi

  1. Karate begins and ends with courtesy
  2. There is no first attack in karate
  3. Karate must only be used for justice
  4. Know yourself first, and then know others
  5. The mind comes before the body
  6. Set the mind free
  7. Carelessness comes before accidents
  8. Karate is not only for the dojo
  9. Karate training is for a lifetime
  10. Put karate in everything you do
  11. Karate is like hot water turning cold
  12. Do not think that you have to win, but think that you do not have to lose
  13. Understand the difference between vulnerable and invulnerable points
  14. Move according to your opponent
  15. Think of your opponent's hands and feet as swords
  16. Once you leave home you have 1,000,000 enemies
  17. Kamae is for the beginner, Shizentai is for the advanced
  18. Kata done correctly will be different than combat
  19. Remember the light and heavy elements of kata
  20. Always think creatively

Purchasing Karate Uniforms

Uniforms (gi) are not required in any of the beginning levels of karate and it is not advisable to order a uniform until after the first rank examination. However, a uniform will be required in order to wear a belt.

Uniforms may be ordered at anytime through the chief karate instructor.

Payment must be received at the time of order. If paying by checks please make payable to Golden Tiger. All uniforms will be ordered immediately and should be available within one to two weeks if the correct size is not in stock.

Any problems with orders should be addressed to the instructor or his assistants.

New uniforms may be returned, provided they are unused and unwashed, for an exchange or full refund.

Used uniforms may be sold through the instructor. Occasionally used uniforms may be purchased though the instructor at a nominal fee.

Martial Art Size Clothing Size Height Range Weight Range
000 Child 2-4 3' 3'5" 30 40
00 Child 4-6 3'5" 3'10" 40 55
0 Child 6-8 3'10" 4'3" 55 70
1 Child 8-10 4'3" 4'8" 70 90
2 Child 10-12 4'8" 5'1" 90 110
3 Adult Small 5'1" 5'6" 110 140
4 Adult Medium 5'6" 5'11" 140 170
5 Adult Large 5'11" 6'2" 170 200
6 Adult X-Large 6'2" 6'5" 200 230
7 Adult XX-Large 6'5" 6'8" 230 260

Sizes smaller than 000 or larger than size 7 are special order items that may take longer to receive.


  1. Only all white uniforms are allowed to be worn.
  2. No patches are to be worn on uniforms.

Karate Terminology

2.sempaiinstructor's assistant
3.dojoway place
4.dojo kunlist of rules for students
5.karateempty hand
7.seizakneeling position
9.kiaito shout
10.danlevel (black belt)
11.kyugrade (below black belt)
13.zan shinmental follow through
14.seistate of tranquility
15.sukito seize upon opportunity
18.kispiritual power or energy
19.ikken hissatsuto stop the attack with one technique
21.mokusoto meditate
22.gedanlower level
23.chudanmiddle level
24.jodanupper level
25.haracenter of spirit
26.mawatteto turn
29.ipponone (as in one point)
30.yoiprepare/ready at beginning
31.yameprepare/ready at end
32.kamaeproper distance
33.kamateget into position
34.katasequence of techniques
35.bunkaiapplication of kata techniques
39.heisoku dachiinformal attention stance
40.shizen taiready stance (yoi/yame)
41.kiba dachihorse riding stance
42.zen kutsu dachifront stance
43.kokutsu dachiback stance
44.kosa dachicrossed feet stance
45.sanshin dachihour glass stance
46.neko ashi dachicat stance
47.fudo dachirooted stance
48.hangetsu dachihalf moon stance
49.shochin dachiimmovable stance
50.nage ashi dachideep bending/twisting stance
53.zuki (tsuki)punch
54.oi zukilunge punch
55.gya ku zukireverse punch
56.ura zukipunch, palm side up
57.kagi zukihook punch zukipulling punch
59.yama zukiu-punch (mountain punch)
60.furi zukiupward swinging punch
61.ken tsuiside of fist
63.ura ken uchiback fist strike
64.nukitespear hand
65.kakete uchihooking strike
66.gaiwan otoshi uchioutside dropping strike
67.ippon ken uchione knuckle strike
68.empi uchielbow strike
69.teisho uchipalm heel strike
70.hiki tedrawing hand
72.gedan baraidownward block
73.age ukeraising block
74.soto ude ukeoutside forearm block
75.uchi ude ukeinside forearm block
76.shuto ukeknife hand block
77.oi otoshi ude ukipursuing dropping forearm block
78.suki ukescooping block
79.hai shu ukeblock using back of hand
80.kakete ukeoutward bent wrist block
81.hiji ukeelbow block
82.kaki wakewedge block/breaking choke hold
83.nagashi ukeguiding block
84.nami gaeshiblock with sole of foot
85.morote ukeboth hand, augmented block
86.osae ukepressing block
87.yoko gamaeside guard position
88.teisho ukepalm heel block
89.jyuji ukecrossed wrist block with back of hand
90.yame ukesweeping block
91.geri (keri)kick
92.mae gerifront kick
93.yoko geriside kick
94.yoko geri keageside snap kick
95.yoko geri kekomiside thrust kick
96.mawashi geriround house kick
97.ushiro geriback kick
98.mika zuki gericrescent kick
99.fumi komistamping kick
100.hiza gerikick with knee