Dojo Etiquette and Protocol

(General Rules Of Dojo Etiquette)



                  (Senior) X   X   X

                           X   X   X

      NORTH (Sensei)  X    X   X   X  SOUTH

                           X   X   X

                           X   X   X   (Junior)


When the teacher assumes his or her place in the north of the dojo, all students immediately assume their rightful positions to prepare for practice. Sit calmly and quietly in seiza. Posture is erect and balanced (centered).

The teacher says, "Rei." All render a formal bow.

The teacher indicates a bow toward the head of the dojo (east); traditionally this is the sacred place occupied by a memorial to the founder. The class turns 45 degrees toward the east and bows as before.

The teacher says, "Otagaini rei," meaning "towards each other." The class returns to its north-facing orientation and again bows, asking, "Onigashimasu, Sensei" (meaning, "Please teach us, teacher").

Following the sensei, the class rises with right feet first, then left, to formal attention stance, and bows again, with an announcement of willingness to commence austere training: "Osu!"


Assume the same positions as for the opening of practice.

As before, on the teacher's command, the teacher and class bow to each other, then turn 45 degrees to the east and bow.

On the command "Otagaini rei," the class turns to face the teacher again. This time, however, the senior (if brown belt or higher) announces, "Sensei ni." The next student (if brown belt or higher) announces, "Rei."

If no brown belt or higher is at the head of the class, the sensei or senior leading the class will dispense with the announcement and simply bow to the students. All bow at once, and the students say, "Domo arrigato gozai-imasu, Sensei" ("Thank you very much for teaching us, teacher").

The teacher responds, "Iie, gokorosan" ("No, thank you for doing what we are expected to do.")

All students and the teacher cross hands with clenched fists, right over left, and at the command "Skite," all kiai strongly and pull their hands sharply to the sides.

Optionally, the teacher may call for the class to form a circle to thank each other for training.


Ranks are valid only as indications of one's current skill level, maintained through active training. If you are no longer training, you are not considered to hold any rank in Shorinji-Ryu. Your sensei may reduce or advance your rank as he or she sees fit. Promotion or reduction of rank is a teaching tool, providing an objective evaluation of your progress in karatedo.

Preoccupation with rank shows a lack of understanding. Anyone can buy and wear a belt. Belts are meaningful only as signs of demonstrated growth.

When returning to the dojo after a lengthy absence, or when visiting the dojo of another system, always wear a white belt. It is customary to wear a white belt while recovering from sickness or injuries, to signal your partners and teachers that you are temporarily weakened.


     8th kyu      White belt

     7th kyu      Yellow belt

     6th kyu      Blue belt

     5th kyu      Green belt

     4th kyu      Purple belt

     3rd-1st kyu  Brown belt


     1st dan      Black belt

     2nd dan      Black belt

     3rd dan      Black belt

     4th dan      Black belt or red and white hori. striped

                      (White on top and black on the inside)

     5th dan      Black belt or red and white hori. striped 

                      (Red on top and black on the inside)

     6th dan      Black belt or red and white vert. striped

     7th dan      Black belt or red and white vert. striped

     8th dan      Black belt or red and white vert. striped

     9th dan      Black belt or solid red

     10th dan     Black belt or solid red

The Pastmaster's double-width white belt signifies the complete "circle of life and of Karatedo." It is usually given posthumously.

The hakama (divided skirt) may be worn at the black belt level; the white hakama is reserved for Zen or Shinto priests. Tabi (2-toed foot covering) may be worn with the hakama.

Nidan (2nd degree black belt) and above are allowed to wear a black karategi. The Hachimaki or head band may be worn at any rank. It signifies a willingness to work hard.

< Previous  ::  Next >

Contents copyright © 2005 by Isshinkaikan Institute of Karate-Do.
All rights reserved. The symbol at the top of this page is the official crest of Ogasawara-ha Shorinji-Ryu Karatedo (Sakugawa Koshiki Shorinji-Ryu Karatedo). Its unauthorized reproduction or use is strictly prohibited.