Your First Day in the DojoJune 2009
You are about to undergo a unique experience, for Karate is more than physical combat. While it builds your body, it enriches your mind and deepens your spirit. As one writer put it: "The first time you bow, you will have become one more link in a very ancient chain."
Karate begins and ends with courtesy. Here are some basic rules:
Address your instructors as 'Sensei' (pronounced sen-say), which in Japan is an honorary title given to black belts (and those in other professions) who have passed rigid qualifying examinations. 'Sensei' at Kenkojuku Association, Takahashi Dojo applies to anyone acting in the capacity of instructor.
BOWING: Bowing in Japan is equivalent to the American custom of shaking hands. The Japanese word for bow is 'rei!' (pronounced ray). The bow is traditionally accompanied by exclaiming OSS!!
Karate students bow whenever they step from the floor onto the mat and whenever they step off the mat (a sign of respect for the Dojo). Karate-Ka (karate practitioner) also bow whenever entering or leaving the Dojo (Proclaim Oss strongly to show your spirit and commitment). To show respect for the teacher and the senior students, upon entering the training area karate-ka bow first to Sensei and then to all of the Black Belts (senior rank first).
You will be taught a standing bow and a kneeling bow. The latter is conducted by the Sensei at the beginning and end of each session. After the kneeling bow it is courteous to remain down until the Sensei gets up. It is also proper to say "Thank you, Sensei" after the bow. Students line up for kneeling bow according to rank, with white belts at the right end of the line when viewed by the Sensei.
TERMINOLOGY: Japanese terminology is used in teaching techniques. You will soon become familiar with such terms as Gedan Barai (down block), Gyakuzuki (reverse punch), etc. Learn the terminology as you go along, for when you are tested for promotion you will be expected to know the Japanese terms.
PROMOTIONS: Four official grading examinations are given each year. DON'T annoy your Sensei with "When will I get my yellow belt?" Your instructors are eminently fair, and you will be promoted when they feel you are ready. Concentrate on learning. Promotions will follow. The quickest way to NOT get promoted is to ASK for it.Back