REI-GI (ETIQUETTE) – Reishiki in Karate Dojo

It is important that you learn about the manners and etiquette of karate. This attendance to tradition, along with karate kata, is what differentiates karate from sport. You should bow before entering and upon leaving the dojo. You should avoid joking and horsing around inside the dojo; always assume a serious attitude and treat the dojo as a place where something important transpires. Line up quickly and quietly when the senior student (sempai) calls the dojo to line up (sei ritsu). Check to make sure you are aligned with the person to your right . Wait until sempai instructs you to be seated (seiza). Sit down gently, under control, and avoid plopping the the floor with a thud. Assume the seiza position by stepping back with your left foot and lowering your left knee to the floor. Bring your right foot back and under, next to your left. Slowly lower your body until your buttocks are resting on your heels.

Sempai will then call the dojo to attention (ki o tsuke). Sit up straight, chin pulled slightly in, mouth closed. Place your hands in your lap palms up with your fingertips overlapping and your thumbs touching tip to tip. The feeling should be that you are holding an egg in your hands. If you press too hard the egg breaks; if you do not press the egg falls to the floor. Sempai will then call the dojo to engage in a moment of meditation (mokuso) to clear the mind of distractions and prepare for practice. Breath naturally through your nose, using your abdomen and diaphragm to draw the air into the bottom of your lungs. After a while, sempai will call an end to the meditation (yame).

At this point sempai will instruct the dojo to face the shinzen or shomen, the head of the dojo, and bow (shinzen ni rei or shomen ni rei). Turn to face the front of the dojo and bow (rei) at the waist placing first your left hand and then your right on the floor in front of you. Your fingers should be extended and joined with your forefingers and thumbs touching, forming a triangle. Keep your back straight and avoid raising your hips. Do not duck your head; keep your neck in alignment with your back. After a short pause, raise yourself back to the seiza position, retracting first your right hand and then your left. Place your hands comfortably on your thighs. Sempai will then instruct the dojo to face the teachers (sensei ni rei). Turn to the teachers and follow the same method described above. However, shout in a respectful tone “onegai shimasu“. This lets the teacher know that you are eager and ready to practice karate.