You can download a copy of Dojang Etiquette information (pdf) .
Dojang Etiquette (Norms for Expected Behavior)
The Dojang is the place where we cleanse and enrich our minds and bodies. This enrichment can only be accomplished in an environment that is replete with feelings of respect, gratitude, right attitude, and positive mutual support.
Ringing the Gong
- At the start and end of class, there is a traditional ringing of the gong. This signifies to the students that it is time to stop talking/training and line up traditionally. The message conveyed by ringing the gong is an "awakening" to living in the present.
Lining Up Traditionally
- When facing the instructor: the highest ranked student stands to the right and front of the room. The lowest ranked student, therefore, stands in the back, left side position. All others line up from right to left (between the highest and lowest ranked students) based on Rank (highest to lowest). Junior ranks line up to the left of similarly colored belt adults.
- The bow is simple; it is a pure demonstration of human respect; nothing more, and nothing less. The bow is the most important movement in the Martial Arts because it is the one physical action that wholly represents the intent of our training to peacefully resolve conflict by understanding the importance of other human beings.
When to Bow:
- Upon entering and exiting the Dojang.
- Before each training sessions to the instructor as directed by the highest ranked student. The class should bow first to the highest ranked participating Black Belt student, then separately to each Black Belt above the rank of 1st Dan. Black Belts should be bowed to as a group. The teaching Sa Bum Nim is the last to be bowed to as directed by the Highest Ranked Student.
- Bow whenever requesting or receiving help from an instructor.
- Bow whenever greeting a Black Belt in or out of the Dojang.
Etiquette During Class:
- When responding to the teacher in the affirmative or following assistance or correction by the teacher, the student should respond by saying "oose!" or "Thank you Sensei."
- The instructor is referred to as Sensei or Sa Bum Nim at all times, in or out of the Dojang (unless otherwise directed.)
- Do not leave the Dojang during class without first obtaining permission from the Sensei.
- There should never be conversation of any kind while the Sensei is demonstrating. When training with your partner, keep conversation to an absolute minimum.
- Never argue about a technique. If there is a problem that cannot be resolved, ask the Sensei for assistance.
- Never interrupt another student's training to ask assistance. Wait until the Sensei is available to help.
- When receiving personal instruction, remain quiet until the Sensei has completed his/her explanation, then bow and acknowledge.
- It is inappropriate for a student (including Black Belts) to offer instruction when he or she is not formally teaching the class, or has not been specifically requested to assist by the Sensei. This is an essential point of your personal development, and should be followed carefully, particularly among those who assist or teach in other classes.
- When sitting in the Dojang always sit in either seiza (sitting on knees) or in the half lotus (cross legged) position. Do not sit with legs out-stretched or lean against walls or mirrors.
- During class, while standing or sitting, never fold your arms across your chest. This denotes arrogance and a closed mind. Be aware of your tone of voice and body language during all Dojang interactions.
- If you believe that a technique is being interpreted incorrectly by the sensei, never interrupt class to point this out. The best approach is to ask the Sensei, privately, during or after class, for clarification.
- Always act respectful to the other students in class regardless of rank. If Dojang Etiquette is being violated by a student during class it is the responsibility of the highest ranked student to make a respectful correction avoiding embarrassment of the student.
- During sparring class Students must wear complete safety equipment in order to participate: mouth piece, head protection, hand pads, foot pads, shin pads, groin or breast pads (as appropriate), and rib protection.
Preparing for Class:
- Always make yourself aware of any particular needs of the Sensei prior to the start of class. Bricks, boards, Weapons, Pads, Mats, books, notes or anything else the Sensei may require. These must be attended to properly and placed appropriately.
- If you are teaching a class you should arrive 15-30 minutes before class begins.
- As a student, always arrive at the Dojang with plenty of time to stretch, warm up and socialize before class begins. Do not practice on the Heavy Bag prior to class.
- If you are late to class you must line up in the back row. It is important not to disrupt the line as established.
- No gum chewing or eating is allowed in the Dojang.
- Make sure your mind is positive as you enter the Dojang. Any negative feelings you may be harboring must be left outside the Dojang. ("Please leave your ego at the door.")
- No rings, watches, or jewelry of any kind should be worn during practice.
- If you are ill or over-tired, do not attempt to train in the Dojang.
- Your body and, in particular, you feet, must be very clean before stepping on the Dojang floor.
- All street shoes must be lined up neatly at the entrance to the Dojang. Only specific Dojang shoes will be allowed on the floor.
- Always enter the Dojang with an empty mind. If you think you know already, it will be difficult for you to learn. Think like a beginner, have "an empty cup!"
- Never come to train when you have ingested any type of drug or alcohol.
- The student must never ask to test, or request rank promotion.
- Any questions pertaining to training should be referred to the chief instructors.
- Always greet the Sensei first upon entering the Dojang. In other words, do not become involved with any other tasks or conversations before greeting the Sensei.
- Always make sure your do bohk is clean and pressed prior to class. Black Belt students may choose the color of their do bohk for class. For all formal rank advancement testing both students and instructors must wear their formal black pants/white top with Black trim. For students under the rank of Black Belt only a white uniform (top / bottom) is appropriate.
- For students (of rank) transferring from an outside Martial Arts School they will be allowed to wear their outside rank and uniform until they are ready for their first rank promotion test. Thereafter, they will be required to wear a white student uniform and their new rank (from our school).
In and Around the Dojang:
- Always see that the Dojang waiting room, kitchen and bathroom are kept clean. Make sure that the toilet paper is kept well supplied. Make sure that the glass is clean and the chairs are straightened prior to leaving.
- Make sure all water bottles and trash are picked up from the waiting room and outside patio prior to leaving. Sweep the Dojang floor following each class. This is part of your training!
- There is no smoking in or around the Dojang.
- Do not wear heavy scented perfume or cologne in the Dojang.
- Never compare one instructor with another. Every Sensei has something unique to share with you. Your job is to discover it. Also, do not criticize other instructors, whether they are from other schools or your own school.
- Any instructor or student who is invited to teach or attend an outside Martial Arts School must first obtain permission from his/her Chief Instructor. When returning from this school The first opportunity must be taken to report the results of their experience to the Chief Instructor.
- Students / Instructors are not encouraged to participate in tournaments or other competitions without first obtaining permission from their Chief Instructor.
- If you have a problem with an individual teacher or student go directly to them with your concerns. Do not communicate negative feelings to others this will only create a negative environment. Be open and honest "Deliver your mail to the correct address."
- If you anticipate a prolonged absence from class please inform the Chief Instructor.
- Instructors must complete the instructor certification program annually in order to be eligible for participation in the Black Belt Board rank testing process and individual rank advancement.