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“In its most basic and functional definition, a Dojo is a training hall and gathering place for students that practise any of the Japanese Do arts. Dojo is a Japanese term which literally means place of the Tao, as the Dojo was adjunct to temples. So when you enter, the Dojo should be acknowledged as your personal sacred place in which you have received the right to train. To create a positive atmosphere in the Dojo strict attention to the Dojo Reigi (etiquette) must be adhered to.
If you plan learn the art of Kendo you can choose the closest Dojo as there are subtle differences in how the clubs approach Kendo.
ENTERING AND EXITING THE DOJO
- Try not to arrive late at the dojo. Be at the dojo in plenty of time to change into kendogi/hakama and to clean and prepare the dojo. Cleaning and preparing the dojo is the main responsibility of junior students.
- Remove footwear before entering the dojo. If footwear cannot be placed neatly outside the door, they may be placed inside the dojo but they must be lined up neatly against the wall.
- When entering or leaving the dojo, make a correct standing bow to the dojo or to the shomen honoring the place of practice. If sensei is already present, greet sensei properly.
- Help clean the dojo after practice and before leaving.
GENERAL BEHAVIOR IN THE DOJO
- The sensei of the dojo should be treated correctly and with respect at all times.
- Try not to walk in front of other kendoka sitting on the dojo floor. If this is unavoidable, bow slightly and extend your right hand in front of you as you pass.
- Respect must be shown to sensei, dojo and all students at all times.
- If relaxed sitting is permitted, sit with legs crossed and back straight. Do not allow yourself to slump. Ensure feet are covered by hakama while seated. Also, ensure that the soles of the feet are not exposed.
- When lining up in the begining and end of class, do so in a very quick manner.
- When class has been dismissed and if time permits, come forward and bow to the sensei individually. Also take the opportunity to bow to other players and express your gratitude.
- Do not keep sensei or the class waiting for ANY reason. Try to move quickly and accomplish all tasks as quickly as possible so as not to keep anybody waiting.
- Keep your toenails and fingernails clean and cut short to avoid injury.
- An attitude of receptivity and humility is advised in the dojo.
- Remove any jewelry or accessories that might interfere with your own or your opponent’s practice.
- Do not bring food or eat in the dojo.
ARRANGEMENT/TREATMENT OF EQUIPMENT/GEAR
- Carry your equipment and other bags into the dojo in a most respectful way.
- Place your equipment and bags in the dojo in an organized manner. Try not to let your equipment occupy too much space.
- Do not step over shinai, bokuto or bogu (including your own), but walk around it.
- Do not move another player’s armor unless asked to or permission has been given by the owner or in emergency situations.
- Bogu should only be put on or adjusted from seiza position.
- Equipment should be properly put away when leaving the dojo.
- Do not lean on bokuto/bokken or shinai like a cane.
- When the shinai is not in use, you may rest it against the wall. Ensure that the kensen is pointing upwards and not against the floor.
- DO NOT take off the men unless instructed to do so by sensei or senior senpai or if you need to adjust the tenugui or the men itself.
- Keep equipment well maintained to prevent injury to oneself and other players.
ETIQUETTE DURING PRACTICE
- During practice, higher grades or more senior members stand on the sensei side of the dojo, facing the lower grades.
- Bow to your opponent at the start and end of each practice.
- If shinai or bogu need to be adjusted during practice, call the attention of your partner by raising your right hand and then explain that you need to make adjustments. Perform osame-to then step back from everybody else. Sit in seiza to make the adjustments. The opponent waits until the adjustment is made. When ready, both players will bow and recommence practice.
- If you have to leave the dojo during training for any reason, please ask permission from the sensei or senior senpai.
- During kendo practice or when sensei is teaching, there should be no talking between players. The training session is a time of learning and not a time for discussion or gossip.
- When receiving assistance or instruction from sensei, politely bow and express your gratitude.
- When in seiza or sonkyo, do not crawl to adjust your position. Stand up and move.
- Stand up tall and proud, no matter how tired you are.