University of the Philippines Association of Karate


Karate Courtesy and Traditions

START OF CLASS            


The class starts by first going into general formation (the command seiretsu is given). In ISKF tradition, the Sensei goes into seiza (formal sitting position) in the center front of the class. The blackbelt and colored belt students form by rank several feet behind the Sensei in the same manner. The blackbelt students line up by rank starting with the most senior at the right then followed by the rest of the students down the line to the colored belts and up to the beginners or white color belt students.


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A short meditation period is done before and after the start of the class. The command mokuso is given to start and "mokuso nawate" to end.


Meditation at the start of the class allows the student to cleanse his mind of other thoughts or distractions before practice. This will allow him to give full concentration to the instructions and lessons during the class. This will allow him to give his best and prevent injuries.


Meditation after the class allows the student to calm his mind and thoughts, to release the feelings of aggression and sometimes even anger so that he will leave the dojo in peace and calm spirit. Everyone practices to become better. During the exercise, everyone takes care not to harm or hurt his partners. Injuries may occur from carelessness, poor concentration, inexperience and are considered unintentional.

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The bow is a gesture of respect, courtesy and self-discipline. In Karate, it is used as a sign of respect, courtesy, and greeting whether in or outside of the dojo.


At the start of the class, several traditional bows are rendered. Everyone goes into a formal kneeling position, face shomeni (the front portion of the dojo) and everyone gives the first bow. For some, this is a traditional bow to give courtesy to God and/or the old teachers and masters who have passed on the art and teachings to the present and living instructors.


Still kneeling, the Sensei turns to face the class. The class bows to the

Sensei and he in turn acknowledges with a bow. After which, the Sensei commands everyone to stand up and the class commences instructions.


The bow done standing is conducted in this manner - the person stands straight, his hands at his sides, and heels together. He bends at the waist level in a short smooth motion with his eyes looking either at the face, leg or feet of the other person but not the floor. He waits for the other person's acknowledgement before he straightens up. It is good courtesy to acknowledge a bow.


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