Dojo Information

Benefits of Karate-do
  • Cultivating respect for yourself and others,
  • Earning your peers’ friendship in a positive and healthy environment,
  • Understanding your own mind and body,
  • Goal setting, perseverance and confidence through achievement and
  • Learn basic principles by which to live your life.

Basic Dojo Conduct

When we are in the dojo, we must feel purposeful and alert. In response to corrections, students (deshi) should say “Hai” aloud. Instructions and corrections are always designed to assist the student in achieving their best, they are never implied as “put-downs”. The loud response of “Hai” lets the instructor know that the student has heard and understood the instruction. Some Dojo use the word “Osu” as a greeting or affirmation.

During the class students should be attentive and move quickly so that no time is wasted. Students should try to remain in lines when moving with techniques, as this enables the instructor to see each student more clearly and make corrections. Senior students are placed at the front of the class and act as examples for the other students, especially in relation to timing, rhythm and technique.

Students should not leave the dojo floor without getting the instructor’s permission. This is both for reasons of courtesy and duty of care responsibilities of the instructor.

In many dojo they have established a practice to conduct a ritual cleaning of the dojo at the end of each training session (called sojii). Besides the obvious hygenic benefits of regular cleaning it also serves to reinforce the fact that dojo are supposed to be cared for by the students and not only the school’s Sensei. Students are encouraged to assist with such things as the taking down of the flags at the end of training, carrying surplus equipment, laying the mat or general tidying up.

Many traditional dojo follow a prescribed pattern of procedure, that is based on student and instructor rank. Awareness of formal practice is required, as a rule of thumb the student must always strive to develop and display of common courtesy. During training seminars with visiting dignitaries, these more formal elements of etiquette will be adhered to. Upon arrival at the entrance of the dojo, all karate-ka are encouraged to bow prior to entering. This action demonstrates a level of respect, gratitude and preparedness for the training that will follow. Similarly, prior to leaving the dojo, students are encouraged to do likewise, in recognition of their respect, gratitude and effort made by all.

Senior grades (usually black belts and above) are referred to as “Sempai” (senior); assistant instructors are also referred to in this way. A branch instructor may be referred to as “Sensei” (teacher); this is common practice even if the “Sensei” is below “third dan” in rank. Higher dan grades (5th and above) may have been awarded the rank of “Shihan” (master teacher).

Classes Typically Include
  • Basics (kihon),
  • Movements (kihon ido),
  • Patterns (kata),
  • Sparring (kumite),
  • Self-defence,
  • Fitness and coordination

Karate-do offers more than just physical exercise, this is only the beginning. Other, more important characteristics such as: self confidence, self discipline, cooperation and goal setting will also be developed through regular training. Always enter the dojo with a determined, friendly and open mind.

What is a Dojo?

Dojo is the term used in the Japanese martial arts in reference to the formal venue for training, examinations and other related events. Dojo literally means “place of the way.” The dojo is your personal place in which you train. Its positive atmosphere is created from the beginning of class during the formal bowing in procedure, and then perpetuated by every member of the dojo through their supportive conduct.

How to Tie Your Karate Belt

Step 1

Start by holding the label end (marked by the white ring) of the belt across your stomach. It should hang a few centremetres longer than the length you want the belt to be when it is tied. Wrap the other end of the belt behind you and around your waist.

Step 2

Wrap your belt around your waist for a second time while maintaining the position of the label end of the belt.

Step 3

Tuck the end with no label under both layers and up. Pull both ends to tighten the knot. The label end of the belt should still be on your left side.


Step 4

Tuck down the non-label end of your belt

Step 5

Tuck the label end of your belt under the other end and over to your right side.

Step 6

Loop the label end of your belt around the other end and through the knot.

Step 7

Pull to tighten the knot so that it won’t come loose during your training session. If the belt ends are not the same length, untie the knot and adjust the length.

The Bowing in Procedure

A formal karate training session will always commence with a standardised “bowing in” procedure. This procedure is an important opportunity for all students to assist in setting the tone of the dojo by allowing all of the participants the opportunity to relax, focus and prepare themselves, both mentally and physically, for the practice that they are about to undertake.


  1. Stand at attention when called to do so by Sensei.
  2. Kneel down into the seiza position, left knee first.
  3. Maintain correct posture, resting your hands on the tops of your thighs.
  4. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Put all of the stresses of the day out of your mind and prepare yourself for the practice that awaits.
  5. Open your eyes and listen for the directions given by Sensei
  6. Place your left hand, followed your right, onto the mat in front of you and complete the bow.
  7. Place your right hand, followed by your left, back on your thighs.
  8. Stand up, with your right foot first, returning to the attention position.

Dojo Kun (Training Maxims)

Although they are numbered below, this doesn’t denote any order of priority. Each is equally important.

We the students of Goju-ryu, do aspire to these virtues:

  1. We are proud to study the way of Goju
  2. We are courteous in manners
  3. We strive to develop courage and fighting spirit
  4. We cultivate the sense of friendship through mutual support
  5. We respect the ideals of loyalty and honour.

Dojo Guidelines Regarding Etiquette

Basic courtesy is at the heart of any reputable martial arts dojo. Certain behaviours are encouraged to ensure that a safe and respectful atmosphere is created and maintained by all participants.

  1. Although every care is taken to plan and conduct safe training sessions, students may sustain injuries during the course of the session or related activities of the dojo.
  2. Please advise the instructors of any problems that may influence the training of the applicant; being forewarned can assist in planning for specific needs and avoid embarrassment during training.
  3. Behaviour inside or outside the Dojo that brings karate into disrepute may result in the cancellation of the membership of the person or persons involved.
  4. Karate-do training involves learning many skills and values, consequently we welcome the interest and concern of parents or family members. There is always provision for parents, family members and friends to sit at the rear of the gym. However, there is to be NO interaction with the karate-ka on the floor during training and especially “sideline coaching” (in the dojo) as this does more to distract than aid the karate-ka. Please remember that learning concentration and focus are key elements of karate-do training and having to focus on two teachers is counter-productive.
  5. Please ensure that children who are attending, but not training, are adequately supervised. Our full attention is on delivering the best possible instruction to our members and so we can’t take responsibility for “non-karate” spectators
  6. The above applies equally to karate-ka dropped off too early for class, or not collected promptly after class. Please ensure that suitable arrangements have been made for the delivery and collection of your child. In addition, important notices are often delivered at the end of training sessions.
  7. All family members are requested to respect karate dojo etiquette and refrain from walking on the mat or across the floor of the training area.
  8. We do not accept responsibility for any items left at the dojo.
  9. Where appropriate, dojo etiquette requires that karate-ka advise the instructor should they be unable to attend any training session. This furthers one of our training ideals relating to simple courtesy and manners. As a general “rule of thumb” it is expected that a beginner student attends at least twenty training sessions between grading tests, this amount increases as the student progresses through the grades.
  10. In order to empower students to accept responsibility for their learning, the instructor will advise students as to when they are to attempt grading tests. This doesn’t guarantee a pass. Students are encouraged to monitor their progress by considering factors such as: effort, technical proficiency, attitude, attendance record and future intentions when determining their eligibility for grading. Grading tests are held the end of each school term and students are strongly encouraged to seek advice relating to their preparation and participation.
  11. Arriving late for training is bad dojo etiquette and is discouraged. Be assured we understand that sometimes coming late is unavoidable and in such an event, we would rather have a karate-ka arrive late than miss the class completely.
  12. Details relating to tuition fees must be updated with the instructor
  13. Please advise the instructor of any changes of address, telephone number or training circumstances.
  14. All karate-ka will be expected to be familiar with our Dojo Kun (training maxims), and observe the etiquette of the dojo. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
How to Choose a Club That's Right For You
  1. The Instructor’s qualifications and affiliations
    Ensure that their teaching manner is appropriate and that they belong to a well recognised (Australian Government) association and that they have direct affiliation with a credible international body. Are the instructors qualified? Just because they wear a black belt doesn’t necessarily mean that they are qualified.
  2. Look at some of the students
    Both beginners and the more advanced ones. How is each group catered for according to their needs? One size does not fit all. What is their skill level like? An instructor may be excellent themselves and have an impressive competition record or title, but can they impart their knowledge to others? Is it an environment that you feel welcome in and can you see yourself being part of it?
  3. Are the facilities that classes are held in well maintained, easily accessible and suitable for the activity?
    Don’t be fooled by full time facilities as a nice dojo doesn’t make up for bad teaching!
  4. Don’t pay exorbitant fees
    Just because you pay alot doesn’t mean you get the best! KaratePerth offers very a reasonable fee structure from as little as around $5.00 per class!
  5. Look at other costs associated with the membership
    Hidden fees, joining fees, insurance, equipment, outfit & grading costs. These may add up so that what appears to be a cheap membership actually becomes an expensive one!
  6. Be weary of schools that offer short self-defence classes
    Skills and the confidence to use them, are only developed through understanding, repetition & application in a positive learning environment. No one can offer a credible “black belt” that’s achievable in 12 months, nor can anyone reasonably expect to be able to defend themselves after a few lessons. Dedication & self discipline combined with excellent teaching will provide the results you are looking for.

You are very welcome to visit one of our dojo and look at what we can offer you, even join in for a free trial lesson – no obligation. Should you have any further questions please call me on 0422 987 957 or go to our contact page.