Basic Dojo Rules and Etiquette

  • Bow (Rei) as you enter or leave the dojo/ dojo Mat
  • Remove your shoes on entering the dojo and place them neatly in a row with others
  • Greet your instructors and seniors upon entering the dojo
  • Make sure your gear is clean and tidy and your own person is clean – no dirty hands or feet, with fingernails and toe nails cut short
  • Bow to your sword before & after use
  • Check your iaito, bokuto, and other equipment before practice starts. If there are any concerns, bring it to the attention of sensei before class starts
  • Everyone should assist in the cleaning of the dojo (souji)
  • Always remember to assist lower grades where possible, but do not help with something you do not know
  • Always demonstrate humility and respect for all people regardless of rank
  • During the practice the higher grades stand on the Sensei side facing the lower grades
  • If you must adjust your uniform during the practice then move off the practice area, or to the side.
  • Ensure that you arrive at the dojo in plenty of time to change into your uniform before the warm-ups commence
  • If late, get dressed and warm up quickly before sitting in seiza on the edge of the training floor and bow when called into class with “Onegaishimasu!”

Never do this:

  • Step over an iaito, bokuto (wooden sword), or training weapon, lean on it, twirl it, drag it, or treat it with disrespect. It is to be considered as a real weapon and is to be afforded the necessary level of respect.
  • Use bad language or whistle
  • Eat or drink in the dojo, unless the sensei give explicit permission
  • Walk in front of other practioners who are seated or standing. If necessary, extend your right hand and bow slightly as you pass.
  • Move another person’s equipment without first asking
  • Leave the dojo floor during practice
  • Lean against a wall either standing or sitting. If relaxed sitting is permitted, sit with your legs crossed but not showing your feet
  • Smoke or bring drugs in the dojo

Souji – Cleaning of the Dojo

Souji (掃除) is a Japanese ritual/art for cleaning the dojo after practice. It derives from Zen where purification and several practices around it are closely connected to cleanliness and purity.

At MugaiRyu USA Dojo, we sweep the floors, clean the floors with hand cloths, and wipe down any areas that collect dust, including the guest area. All instructors, students, and visitors participate. The purpose of Souji is not only to clean the dojo and polish the floor, but to polish ourselves. Souji is a fundamental part of our martial arts practice that demonstrates appreciation, care, pride and respect for each