Hrvatski (HR)
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 11:43

Notes on Dojo Etiquette

by Sensei St. Hilaire

What is so damn important about dojo etiquette?  Why do I have to bow?  I don’t bow to anyone! What is the difference if I act a certain way or not, am quiet or not, am respectful or not?  Does it mean I can’t defend myself?  If I don’t bow lower than my senior - does that mean I won’t be able to kick his ass anyway? And, why do we have ranks anyway.  If I can tap out a blue belt, why aren’t I a blue belt.
These are common types of questions in the West.  The American mind has been brought up in a society that challenges authority, has been told anyone can be great or famous, and balks at the concept of discipline.  We have a society that believes everyone is equal, and “I’m OK, You’re OK”.  Basically we live in an “I don’t have to do it if I don’t want to do it” society.  We relegate important issues which require action and decision to gray areas.  We don’t like Black and White, Right and Wrong.  We feel more comfortable with “politically correct” and “socially acceptable”.  We discuss issues with our children instead of instructing our children.  We’d rather be buddies than leaders.  At the same time, many live under the delusion that they possess leadership qualities.  This is what leads to the statements made in the first paragraph - which I have heard over and over again in various dojo settings.
So why should we practice a certain etiquette in the dojo, and what are those etiquettes?