Dojo Etiquette

Karate is a traditional martial art and as such, we endeavor to follow certain rules of protocol and etiquette. These rules separate us from other workout classes. Students will learn these rules over time with the help of the instructors and senior students.

The word OSU:

Osu is a Japanese term (short for “Oshi-Shinobu”) which has several meanings and usages in karate. It means “hello” and “goodbye”, and, as such, is a greeting. It also means “I understand” and “I’ll try my best” and is a term signifying respect. Traditional Oshi means “to push” yourself to be being better. ” Shinobu” means to endeavour or to try hard to achieve something. Never giving up. 


Bowing in karate is a gesture of respect, not of subservience and has no religious significance. We bow in recognition of a senior’s knowledge, ability and dedication.

The Dojo (school):
  • Please bow and say a loud “Osu” upon entering and leaving the dojo.
  • No food or drinks allowed during class.
  • Please assist with setting up the room before class.
  • All students should help with the dojo clean-up at the end of every class.
Your Uniform (gi):
  • Please keep you gi clean and pressed.
  • Never wash your belt (obi).
  • Patches should be sewn onto your gi within 2 weeks of receiving them.
  • If you are promoted to an “Advanced” belt and receive a stripe signifying the promotion, the stripe should be sewn onto your belt before your next class.

Class Etiquette

  • Please remove all jewelry prior to class. This is to prevent injury to you as well as to anyone you may be partnered with during class (please place any valuables in your locker or in your bag – we are not responsible for lost valuables).
  • Always endeavor to be on time for class, however, we all know there are times when being late is unavoidable. Being late is better than not being there at all so we encourage you to come no matter how late you are. If you are late for class, please follow these steps:
  • Kneel down in seiza at the back of the dojo with your eyes closed until given the instruction to open your eyes.
  • Say a loud “Osu” and immediately begin doing push-ups. Continue until instructed to stop. (please note this is not punishment, rather, it is a way of telling the rest of the class “I’m sorry I’m late, but I’m here now and ready to train hard with you.”)
  • If you have to leave class early, please speak with the instructor before class – never just walk out of class. When leaving, please kneel down in seiza at the back of the dojo with your eyes closed. Once you are instructed to open your eyes, please stand up and bow before leaving the dojo.
  • Please remember to sign in either before or after class. This is how we keep track of class attendance for promotions.
  • When moving through the class, please walk behind the line of students – do not walk in front of or cross through the line.
  • If you are instructed to sit down during class, always sit in seiza first (kneeling position). When instructed to sit and relax, bow first, then sit with your legs crossed. If you have bad knees, you may sit with your legs crossed at all times.
  • Never call your instructor or black belts by their first name – always use their rank as a sign of respect and in acknowledgement of their experience. Remember, someday that will be you!


  • You should never ask to go for promotion – your instructor will know when you are ready.
  • You must turn your promotion application in on time (you will be advised of the due date). 
  • If your application is not turned in on time, you will have to wait for the next promotion.
  • You will be provided with instruction on what to do if, for any reason, you are unable to attend promotion after turning in your application.
  • Promotion fees are non-refundable.
  • Being on time is part of your promotion, however, if for any reason you are late, please follow the same protocol as if you were late for class.
  • Promotions are based on your syllabus, up to and including your current rank. The adult test includes both a physical and written test. Please read your syllabus carefully.

** If you have any questions please feel free to speak to Shuseki Shihan Mel or any senior belt **