空手道 Reigi Saho-Reishiki-Etiquette
Over the years in training we've come across many Dojo and have regularly noticed people mumbling out words and phrases (Arigato homabatamabamen ? what?) and stumble through etiquette, formal practices or ceremonies and didn’t now either what they were doing or saying (in Japanese), didn’t understand the meaning behind what they were saying / doing or had never been explained what etiquette has to do with their safety or standards in their relative school and more importantly when such etiquette was in order. In truth, many martial artists are unaware of Reishiki, Reigi-saho and the proper etiquette of their Dojo or any Ryu Ha.
- Reigi saho - Reishiki - Etiquette
As a starting point to explain Reishiki to a student we have to recognize that many Eastern religions are not true forms of worship. Many eastern religions are philosophical systems coping with everyday occurrences [an example specific in the Dojo is Taoism]. Some of these philosophical systems included practices that conditioned the body and mind to prepare a warrior for battle. Over time, practitioners of said systems began to honor the founders of these philosophies, turning them into deities and their philosophies and philosophies of the systems into doctrine. Historical examples include: Lao Tsu, Bautama (Buhidharma), or Confucius, as the originators of Taoism, Buddhism or Confucianism.
Etiquette in the Dojo is not to place students beneath you or to place instructors on a level higher closer to gods; it is not a mystery in the Martial Arts or part of the secret you'll find out of when you reach a certain grade. Reigi-saho / etiquette is to organize the dojo into a functional society, demonstrating discipline, dedication, development, common sense and most of all manners.
Reishiki comes from two Japanese words. The first is “REI” which is defined as: bow, salutation, salute, courtesy, propriety, ceremony, thanks and appreciation. The second part of the term is “SHIKI” which is defined as: ceremony, rite or function. Combined the term “Reishiki” can translate as: Ceremonial manners - Etiquette. Some might consider this type of consideration to another human being as being conservatively old fashioned however we could say that the end goal of Rei is rooted into all forms of Budo because any Martial Art without Reishiki is just fighting.
A highly structured class in any Budo which includes Gojuryu Karatedo class begins on time with the senior student calling the beginning of class by ordering everyone to line up. Note: There is a formality to lining up. Kamiza [the Senior or most acknowledged person] and Shimoza [the most Junior person] in attendance must line up or sit in their appropriate locations.
We notice that sometimes in Dojo, there are images of past teachers and important figures or items of merit and value to the style of Budo practiced in a particular Dojo. This area is called Shomen and located at the Northern point of the Dojo or farthest away from the entrance; also called Kamiza. Generally, it's inappropriate to place pictures of people who are still alive at Shomen, Shinzen or Kamiza. If your Dojo were at YMCA or the Karatedo club at church, you might find a cross at Shomen. Shomen is the spiritual foundation of the Dojo.
This means the most junior person is seated closest to the door and the most senior person is seated farthest away from the door [or primary entrance / exit]. If the door is to the center of the room or if there is a Shinza [a shrine like focal point of Shomen and Kamiza] then the right side of Shinza / Shomen is Kamiza and the left side of Shinza / Shomen is Shimoza where the Junior attendees still closest to the entrance / exit. To clarify;
- Those most senior whom are present reside at Kamiza - farthest away from the entrance and the absolute highest graded [Hanshi or Saiko Shihan] at the upper right of the dojo.
- Those most junior whom are present reside at Shimoza - nearest to the entrance and the absolute lowest graded [Mukyu] at the lower left of the dojo. Another way to describe this is to simply draw from the instructions below.
This is the proper arrangement for seating or lining up.
Let’s draw a rectangle or square to make a diagram of a formal dojo layout:
- At the top of the square write Kamiza and just to the left [closer to the center] write Shomen. Now underneath Kamiza write in parenthesis north and underneath Shomen write in parenthesis Reishiki. This is where Hanshi and or Saiko Shihan should be seated when facing Shomen if they are present. If there are none then the most senior Sensei should be seated here. If there is an elevated area here it is called Shinden and reserved only for the highest graded Shihan license holders.
- On the right hand line of the square write Joseki and in parenthesis write East. When there are Renshi and Kyoshi present this is where they are arranged with the highest grade or age being closest to Kamiza or Shomen. In the event it is a smaller class - simply place the Sempai on this line.
- On the left hand line of the square write Shimoseki and in parenthesis write West. When there are Jokyo and Shidoin present this is where they are arranged with the highest grade or age being closest to Kamiza or Shomen.
- Finally at the bottom of the square write Shimoza and in parenthesis underneath write South. Shimoza is the line where the newest members of the dojo should line up. When facing Shomen or Kamiza, the lowest graded members should be to the far left and the most senior non shodan should on the same line to the far right. In the event there needs to be more than one line, use the same arrangement for each row with the highest of the row to the far right. The next forward row is of higher grade and so forth.
- Now in the center of the square write Embuju and circle 'Embuju'. Embuju is your primary workout area.
Next we review formal commands for beginning and ending class.
- 'Seiretsu' [line up]
- 'Kiotsuke' [attention]
- 'Seiza' [kneeling position] or Chakuza [sit down]
- 'Mokuso' [begin meditation]
- 'Mokuso Yame' [end meditation] or 'Naorei' [as you were]
- 'Dojo Kun' [end of class only / bowing out only].
- 'Shomen ni taishite Rei' [Zarei-sitting bow to front] or 'Shinzen ni taishite Rei' [if at shrine or temple]
- 'Shihan ni taishite Rei' - [Zarei-sitting bow towards Shihan' 'Onegai Shimasu' or 'Arigato Gozai Mashita'. [Command and bow only if Shihan is present].
- 'Sensei ni taishite Rei' - [Zarei-sitting bow towards Sensei] 'Onegai Shimasu' or 'Arigato Gozai Mashita'. [Command and bow only if Sensei is present].
- 'Sempai ni taishite Rei' - [Zarei-sitting bow towards Sempai] 'Onegai Shimasu' or 'Arigato Gozai Mashita'. [Command and bow only if Sempai is present].
- 'Otagai ni Rei' [Zarei-sitting bow to each other-beginning of class] - 'Onegai Shimasu' or 'Arigato Gozai Mashita'.
- 'Otagai ni waka Rei' [Zarei-sitting bow to each other-end of class] - 'Onegai Shimasu' or 'Arigato Gozai Mashita'.
- 'Sotachi' [all raise] or 'Kiritsu' [stand up]
- 'Ritsu Rei' [standing bow].
Yes it is a lot of bowing however this should just about sum it up for any traditional Dojo, including Aikido, Iaido, Kendo and Judo. We should also note that this ceremony is not to be considered religious in nature, but is an important part of the "Reishiki" which is focused etiquette and is essential to Budo.
So what does Reishiki Mean? Reishiki is the order of Bowing (bowing Ceremonies) That open and close class. This is where Deshi (students) line up according to their particular grade and pay their respect and thanks for what they are about to learn or have learned.
Dojo Reishiki (ceremony) is important to the creation of a formal and traditional atmosphere in the Dojo. In traditional Karatedo, one of the first concepts that we are taught is that of Reishiki (or at least it should be). I don't think any students lasts long who greets their instructor with the term "Yo Sensei" or "Yo, my main man-Sensei." As we begin our training, the concepts of Reishiki are taught to us as much of the art is, through observing those who have come before us.
Watching our seniors in training and in their general actions and interactions in the Dojo is an outstanding way to learn, provided that the seniors have been observant over the years. There are many occasions in the day to day operations of a Dojo that require some form of ceremony.
Some of the more common times are:
- Beginning and the end of classes
- Seminar by Guest Instructor
- Mudansha (student) Shinsa (Audition for Grade)
- Yudansha (Black Belt) Shinsa.
- Annual / Special Training sessions
I don't know of anyone who actually takes class time in a Dojo to teach the concepts of Reishiki, and I have yet to find a book on the subject. It should also be noted that there is a marked difference between Dojo Reishiki and that used in and to the general public. There are also noted differences between Japanese and Okinawa forms of Reishiki. Unfortunately, while we could do an entire essay on the concept of Reishiki, we will attempt to narrow this topic down.
The bow is the focal point for this feeling. The student should stop and bow when entering or leaving the Dojo and should bow once to Shomen and again if Dan grades are present. Dan grades should bow once to the Shomen and again if the Sensei is present.
We cannot stress how important it is to follow the proper protocol regarding etiquette and grade in the Dojo nor how important it is to bow before and after (in and out of ) each exercise whether formal or informal.
Etiquette is an integral part of Budo and without it we would be practicing nothing more than violence. The more training a person receives, the more calm, dignified and humble the Karatedo practitioner should become. The beginner must practice etiquette in order to make him/herself a better person.
The following formalities are expected of those students beginning study and commonly practiced. These protocols are expected to be communicated to students and followed as rules of their own home:
- All classes and groups of exercises should begin and end with bowing.
- When entering the Dojo or floor always bow and say 'Onegai Shimasu'
- When exiting the Dojo or floor always bow and say 'Arigato Gozai Mashita'.
- Be proud in your study of Gojuryu.
- Practice courteous manners
- Students shall wait to be admitted by the instructor of any given class or by the highest-graded student attending.
- Cultivate fellowship and understanding by seeing things through others eyes.
- Respect the ideals of loyalty, honor and those elders who have come before you.
- Students should wear the traditional white Uniform (Gi) to all practice sessions.
- Keep your Karate Do Gi (Uniform) clean and in proper order without piping or extra patches.
- If you arrive late for class, you should proceed with your warm-up exercises including push-ups before entering class, and should wait until the instructor invites you to do so.
- If you must leave early, advise the instructor as soon as possible.
- Keep finger and toenails short and hair kemp so as not to injure yourself or others.
- There is no Kumite (sparring) permitted without the instructor’s permission.
- Address Sempai and Sensei as Sempai and Sensei.
- Students should not engage idle talk while in the Dojo and should remain attentive at all times.
- Students should always be helpful to each other.
- Demonstrate your utmost courtesy in regards to anything that may have matters tied to Karatedo or to your Dojo, during training or not, both on and off premises and especially when representing your Dojo.
- Have a clean body and clear mind before entering the Dojo.
- Be proactive and resolve conflicts before they occur by not allowing them to.
- Students must not chew gum or candy, or eat while in the Dojo.
- Try to go to the restroom before class begins. It is also recommended not to eat at least one hour before class.
- Refrain from outbursts and comments no matter what it pertains to.
- There is zero tolerance for violent behavior.
- Students should never use techniques they have learned except in self-defense.
- Seize affirmative opportunities as they become available.
- Strive to develop courage and fighting spirit
Students should take note of the discipline in class regarding grade. And that there is an order of authority as listed in the section Grade & Titles.