Dojo etiquette reminder

Hello All,

Just a reminder about dojo floor etiquette.  This is important, especially where the weapons arts are concerned.

The dojo floor proper is the space enclosed by the red border lines, within this space no outdoor shoes should be worn.  The floor at times is dirty enough, so no need to add to the problem by wearing shoes across the it is proper Japanese etiquette to not wear shoes within the home or dojo.  This should apply even to the arts which are not Japanese based, except for the arts that have special footwear as part of their discipline (since this footwear will not be worn outside anyway).

Along these lines, when you go to the bathroom you should have footwear on.  This is so that any possible "nasties" in the bathroom does not get transferred to the training area.  This is especially important for the arts that use the floor mats.  I don't think that anybody would like the idea of having their face (or any other part of their body) in contact with an area which was possibly contaminated by somebody's feet coming straight from the bathroom.  This also applies to going outside for any reason...put your shoes on, but don't forget to take them off again when entering the training area.  I know that the school employees and children do not observe this, but we should be following the proper etiquette & procedures for two reasons: 1) to not add to the problem and 2) so that we build up good habits for when we go to other training spaces.

The other item is for practitioners to not cross the floor of the other practising arts.  This is out of respect for the other arts and for everyone's safety, especially concerning the weapons arts.  There is the strong chance that if you cross the floor across another practising art you will, at the least, disrupt their training or, at the worst, be involved in an accident (e.g. being struck by a weapon, causing an accident by disrupting concentration, etc.).  If you need to go from one side of the dojo to the other travel on the outside of the red border lines.  Also, if there is equipment or weapons on the floor do not step over them (nor on them) but go around them.

One last thing, if you need to gather and have a chat with others please keep the gathering outside the red border, and not overflow into the area of a practising art.  Again, this is not only out of respect for the other art and its practitioners, but for safety.

As with everything, there are times when this etiquette cannot be followed (e.g. when an art utilises the border area for preparation and/or equipment set out), but in these cases use common sense and proceed in a manner that is both respectful and safe.

The book In the Dojo : A Guide to the Rituals and Etiquette of the Japanese Martial Arts by Dave Lowry is a good guide for dojo etiquette (see the Resources page for other good reference works).