1. Etiquette

Bow when you ENTER and EXIT the dojo. Facing the interior of the dojo, stand upright, pull your right foot against your left foot, then bow about 10 to 30 degrees while looking down.

Address your teacher only as “Sensei”, not by their first or last name.

Take off your shoes and socks. Line up your shoes along the wall, with the heel of the shoes against the wall.

Do not play around with your shinai. Not only is it dangerous to yourself and other students, it is disrespectful to your equipment.

Bowing toward the shinza at the end of practice

2. Lining up, or “SEI-RETSU”

After about 30 minutes of warm up drills, the members will line up then sit down for a brief meditation, bowing to the sensei, and donning of the armour. This officially starts the practice session.

Forming a line: When you hear a senior student shout “SEI-RETSU!” Quickly form a line according to rank: the most experienced students are on the left, while the beginners are on the right.

If this is your first time, you should position yourself at the end of the line, on the right. This is closest to the entrance to the gymnasium.

Kneeling down: When you hear “SEIZA!” Wait until the students to your left have begun kneeling down before you kneel down. Kneel down gently, and with great control. Your movement should be quiet and dignified.

Your feet or knee will hurt every time for the first few weeks, but if you practice sitting in that position at home with every opportunity, you get used to it.

Meditation: When you hear “MOKUSO!” Meditate in the sitting position. Bring your hands in front of your navel/belly button, and form an oval shape with your hands. Close your eyes half-way, so that your eyes rest the ground a meter ahead of you.

The point of mokuso is to prime your mind to focus on your training.

Seated Bows: You will bow once toward the “main wall” to honour the building, then bow a second time toward your instructors.

When you hear “SHOUMEN NI REI”, turn your body toward the left wall, form a triangle using your thumbs and index fingers, then bow your head so that your forehead lands in the triangle.

When you hear “SENSEI NI REI”, turn to face your instructors and bow the same way as above.

Put your left hand down first, then your right hand. 

Seniors put on helmets: When you hear “MEN O TSUKE!” Run to the left side of the gym and kneel down in front of a senior student, and observe them put on his or her helmet, or “men”. When it is done, both of you will stand up and bow to each other. Then, you may return to your original position along the line.

Warming up

3. Counting to 10

For warm-up drills, we will count to 10 using Japanese. Memorize these if you don’t already know them.

1 ichi
2 ni
3 san
4 shi
5 go
6 roku
7 shichi
8 hachi
9 kyuu
10 jyuu