The Etiquette of the Dojo
(This is Kendo; Gordon Warner & Junzo Sasamori; 1964)
The regulations prescribed by kendo authorities are carefully followed in the social and official life of the kendoist. As a rule, each of these customs has been handed down from ancient times and is continued as a part of kendo. The following rules of etiquette are observed wherever kendo is taught.
1. Whenever a kendoist enters or leaves a dojo, he/she bows in greeting or farewell to those present.
2. A kendoist bows to his opponent at the start and finish of each practice.
3. A kendoist does not smoke in a dojo, unless invited to so.
4. A kendoist does not wear a hat in the dojo.
5. When kendoists are wearing dogu (fencing equipment) and are in a sitting position on the dojo floor, it is customary to walk in back of them.
6. A kendoist never steps over or hits a shinai with his/her feet when it is placed to the left of a seated kendoist or when the kote and men are place in apposition on the floor.
7. A kendoist never touches the dogu of another kendoist.
8. Always upon entering or leaving the dojo, a kendoist greets or takes leave of the head teacher first.
9. Generally the beginners or kendoists of lowest rank will kneel in seiza opposite the yudansha (person of higher grade level) or to their right.
10. In a practice, the beginning kendoist takes his position facing the yudansha.
11. It is important to remember that the student always stands at the practice area and awaits the teacher’s instructions.
12. If a piece of armor comes untied, practice must be stopped, and the opponent kendoist will remain in position while the repair is made and the equipment is finally inspected. In a match, time is called so that such repair can be made. When the opponents are ready to resume practice (or the match), each will stand and bow before continuing.
Every member must practice these forms of etiquette not only in the dojo but throughout their journey on the “road” of kendo. I believe that we should not only memorize these procedures but learn how each of these “lessons” could apply to our daily living style.