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Shorin-Ryu Shikitari Giri
(Customs & Courtesies)
Shorin-ryu Principles (Genron)

Dojo Purpose
• Build a training environment that fosters cherished traditions of Shorin-Ryu Customs & Courtesies
• Create a training atmosphere to make best use of the art and science of Shorin-ryu
• Generate respect for all Dojo members
• Rebuke the fostering of Dojo member malice
• Practice traditional civility and considerations for chartered rank structure

  • The following information is meant to guide the student through some common procedures and rules of etiquette, which will hopefully enable the student to better understand the atmosphere of the karate dojo. This list is by no means complete. Always check with your particular Instructor to see what other rules or conditions might apply.

    Karate Licensed Rank Positions
    SEMPAI is an Assistant Karate Instructor and is appropriately addressed. Usually refers to a Karate Instructor with 1st Dan status. Only a SENSEI or above can recommend appointment and only a SHIHAN can approve.
    SENSEI is a Karate Instructor and is appropriately addressed. SENSEI is a term used in many different ways and has many different meanings. A Sensei could also be a school teacher, doctor, master, or priest. To a martial artist, a Sensei is a Karate Instructor and is appropriately addressed as such. He/she is usually holds a 2nd or 3rd Dan but this term is often used by senior martial artists. In other words, just as a college professor is a teacher, a Hanshi too is a Sensei. A Sensei is the first licensed formal teaching rank but this term is informally used from formal positions of Shihan to Hanshi. Therefore, according to general martial arts traditions, a Sensei is any person, usually 2nd dan or higher that teaches martial arts. In our system he or she is awarded this status when receiving 2nd or 3rd Dan. Requirement - A SHIHAN recommends and only a Renshi or above can approve appointment.
    SHIHAN is an intermediate or advanced SENSEI and is appropriately addressed. SHIHAN is a "Supervisor of Sensei's" who has mastered himself." It is the second licensed formal teaching rank. In our system he or she is awarded this status when receiving the 4th or 5th Blackbelt level. Requirement - A RENSHI recommends and only a KYOSHI or above can approve appointment.
    RENSHI often refers to an Executive Advanced SENSEI and is appropriately addressed. It is the third formal teaching rank. Renshi means "Executive SENSEI" who has mastered himself." It is the third formal teaching rank. It is awarded around the 5th degree godan or 6th degree rokudan black belt level. Requirement - A KYOSHI recommends and only a HANSHI can approve appointment.
    KYOSHI refers to a “Chief Executive SENSEI” and is appropriately addressed. It is the fourth licensed formal teaching rank. This title is usually awarded to one who has achieved a rank of 7th or 8th degree black belt nanadan or hachidan. KYOSHI are typically regarded as those who have distinguished themselves as expert teachers or instructors. Only a Hanshi can approve appointment.
    HANSHI or sometimes refers to the “Honorable Chief Executive of SENSEI” and is appropriately addressed. It is the fifth and final formal instructor rank. This title is usually conferred at the 9th (kyudan) or 10th dan (jyudan) ranking, by the senior leader or leadership of the organization. This title is given to the most senior licensed Sensei who is distinguished as the Grandmaster (Hanshi Hawkins).


    Times to Nei (Rei)
    Anytime a karate-ka first see’s any Blackbelt
    • When karate-ka enters or leaves the Dojo
    • Whenever directly speaking to a Blackbelt
    • At the beginning and the end of each training session at the command of the Sensei. This bow is performed Heisoku Dachi (feet positioned together while standing) and seiza or hizamazuke (formal knelling position consisting of crossing one's own lower legs, with the feet under the buttocks, feet pointed straight backwards or crossed. To sit in seiza for any length of time requires careful positioning of the heels under the sit bones of the hip, to minimize circulation loss.)
    • Nei before/after the karate-ka demonstrates a kata, technique, etc.
    • When accidental contact is made by you against your training partner
    • Whenever directly spoken to by the Sensei


    Why & How to Nei
    • Traditional Nei –
    1. Standing- The purpose of this bow is not to demonstrate respect for the person but rather to demonstrate respect for the esteemed and honored position of the Blackbelt or reverence for the Dojo. This bowing technique is used in a Dojo setting. Stand with heels together, feet pointing slightly outward (like a "V"). Keep your knees straight; elbows straight and relaxed; hands open and resting on your outer thighs, fingers together. Bend at the waist, about 20 degrees forward, and then straighten back up. The whole bow takes about a breath's length. Look the Blackbelt directly in the eyes while your left hand (peace) positioned over your right hand (power), feet position are together, with a medium bend of the waist.
    2. Kneeling (Seiza) - Place your left knee on the floor, then the right knee. Sit down on your heels, toes pointing backwards. Your big toes should overlap, with either on top. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Rest your left hand (opened with the fingers together) on your left thigh and your right hand on your right thigh so that your fingers point inward. For anatomical reasons, men should have about a fist or two's width between their knees, while women should have their knees together. Slide the left hand from the thigh to the floor slightly in front of the left knee. Then do the same with the right hand. Palms should touch the floor. Bow at the waist, taking a little longer than for a standing bow. The forehead comes close to the floor, but does not touch it. Straighten up and return the right hand then the left to your thighs.

    Dojo Etiquette (Do's and Don'ts in the Dojo)
    • The dojo is a “Temple for learning”, so respect it accordingly.
    All karate-ka will remove shoes prior to entering the Dojo training area. Karate practice is traditionally done in bare feet, so upon entering the dojo, all students should remove their shoes. At the entrance to the dojo, each student should also bow towards the front of the room, whether you're entering or exiting. This bow is intended to show respect for the training area and, when entering, a readiness to focus on karate during the upcoming training session
    • Karate-ka will insure that the Dojo is clean and in proper order both before and after training sessions. If you have some time before class begins, you may do individual warm-ups as you choose. Run in place. Stretch. Practice kata. Basically, anything that will help prepare you for the class. If you are going to chat with other students, do it while you're warming up. This is also often the time to make sure the dojo floor has been cleaned, unless the dojo incorporates the floor cleaning into the warm-up. If it's simply a matter of sweeping or dry-mopping the floor, do it before training begins, and, ideally, before one of the senior belts asks you to. If you see other students sweeping or cleaning, try to assist if you can. If there is more than one dust mop, help sweep. If not, pick up loose papers, bottles, or other trash. Don't just sit around if there is still something that needs to be done.
    No chewing gum, eating, smoking, or drinking, even water during training sessions. An exception to drinking water is for exceptional health reasons. Please inform the Sensei or any Blackbelt if exceptional health reasons dictate the drinking of water. The reason for the disallowance of drinking water for purpose of hydration is to do so, ignores the reality of fighting readiness competition or street fighting. It is farcical to expect a water break during “real competition or street fighting”, for that reason we believe what you do in the Dojo is likely what you’ll do in outside the Dojo or on the streets.
    • No wearing of jewelry (including wedding bands) during training sessions. It's a safety hazard!
    • No "Horse Play" and no profanity while in the Dojo.
    • Senior karate-ka will insure junior karate-ka practice Dojo Customs & Courtesies at all times. .
    • Senior karate-ka will consider it an obligation to assist junior karate-ka.
    • Spectators are not to be allowed in the training area/Dojo without the Sensei's permission. A senior karate-ka should greet all visitors and ascertain their desires prior to bringing them to the attention of the Sensei. The Sensei will relay his permission, or non-permission through the senior student.
    • No Kumite is allowed without the Sensei's permission, which must be sought prior to engaging in such.
    • Karate-ka Gi’s will only be a traditional “open jacket style” (not V-neck) white in color. No colored uniforms. No ornate stripes on uniform.
    • Blackbelt Gi’s will only be black unless otherwise authorized by Hanshi Hawkins.

    Dojo Procedures
    Arrive to the Dojo on time. If late perform 20 push-ups.Obviously, try not to be late. If you are late, bow in at the door when you enter. Then, quietly kneel near the entrance. Wait until the instructor acknowledges you. When that happens, bow kneeling, get up, and quickly join the group by moving into the back line. If you arrive just as the class is about to bow in, wait quietly until the warm-up starts, then bow in as described above as soon as you're ready.
    • Keep in mind push ups is not a punishment; instead they are simply a training exercise. When you hear the command, "Line up," stand shoulder to shoulder facing the front of the dojo, lining up in order of seniority. Try to line up so that the instructor is right in the middle of the line. In a large class, the senior student may ask you to form more than one line, in which case, you should try to line up so that the lines are approximately the same length.
    The Dojo training formation is highest ranking members to the front of the Dojo with the senior member positioned to the very front line and left of the succeeding junior members
    • Practical Tips -
          • Karate-ka will sit in agura-wo-kaku (the cross leg position) with their backs to the wall
          • Remember to kiai as loud as you can when performing the appropriate striking technique
          • Perform kumite, ippon kumite, and kata, with utmost intensity!
          • Have fun!

    Dojo Decorum (Respect for Protocol)
    While in the Dojo, the Instructor should be referred to as their appropriate title (i.e. Sempai, Sensei, Shihan, Renshi, Kyoshi, and Hanshi).
    • Only Avenger licensed Blackbelts are addressed appropriately (refer to them by their title). Blackbelts not of our system are addressed by their name only, unless otherwise directed by the most senior Avenger Blackbelt.
    Junior Karate-ka will never attempt to correct senior karate-ka. If there is any disagreement or misunderstanding from a junior karate-ka involving a senior karate-ka they will request permission to discuss the matter with the senior karate-ka in private.
    Karate-ka will not critique or judge peer & senior karate-ka unless upon a request from a Blackbelt. It is strongly discouraged, and will not be tolerated, for karate-ka to critically give opinions of other karate-ka. In the absence of any or enough Blackbelts the senior Blackbelt may direct junior karate-ka to judge Dojo kumite.
    • Upon arrival to the Dojo and removal of shoes, students will immediately commence stretching, followed by practicing techniques to enhance their skills. Sitting and gossiping while waiting, as mentioned above, for the training session to begin will not be tolerated.
    • If a karate-ka has a non-urgent question wait until the class is ended. Too many questions during class may delay training time. Questions are encouraged while “not knowing and not asking questions is strongly discouraged”. If you don’t know something, then ask, but again at an appropriate time.
    • Upon arrival to the Dojo and removal of shoes, students will immediately commence stretching, followed by practicing techniques to enhance their skills. Sitting and gossiping while waiting for the training session to begin is strongly not tolerated.