Dojo rules and etiquette

mutual respect

The Dojo is a place of sanctuary, discipline, and mutual respect. If a student does not adhere to the following rules, disciplinary actions may result. These actions may be in the form of; an oral reprimand such as being asked to step off the mat for a given time period, being excused and or suspended from class, being asked to find a new instructor (i.e. being banned from the dojo or being asked to leave the organization completely). The disciplinary actions are at the sole discretion of the instructor depending on the severity of the offense. These actions are neither arguable nor negotiable. At the same time, the instructor will strive to make a fair and educated response based on the infraction.


Etiquette and Rules:


  • A teacher’s Japanese title is “Sensei” and he/she should always be referred to as such. If directed otherwise due to a special relationship, regardless of that relationship, students should always use the term Sensei when discussing their teacher with another person or student. It is a sign of respect for the years of training the Sensei endured and is now willing to pass on to you.
  • You should never interrupt, argue, correct, or contradict the instructor. If you have a comment to make to him/her, then you should wait until after class and discuss it privately. This shows respect for the instructor and the instructor will demonstrate the same courtesy.
  • Never talk while the instructor is talking.
  • If the instructor starts talking to address the class, you should immediately stop what you are doing and listen quietly and attentively.
  • Cursing, profanity, and general inappropriateness are unacceptable in a dojo.
  • When the instructor is showing a technique, try your best to emulate what he is doing. Variations or “doing your own thing” without permission is not allowed and is considered rude. By not following the instructor’s directions, you are subtly conveying a disrespectful message that you know more than the instructor does and that there is nothing more for him/her to teach you.
  • Practice in a slow controlled manner. We are all here to learn, showing off will inevitably lead to injuries and are the result of a weak mind. Even though this is a contact art and injuries are inevitable, you can minimize injuries by practicing in a slow controlled manner. Students should practice at a “Steady” controlled pace agreed upon by both partners. No one learns anything if one partner is going twice the speed of the other and such actions may lead to serious injury.
  • Never resist / strong-arm or force a technique. We all know what is going to happen to us during a technique and we can all strong-arm our way out of it. However, such actions are unrealistic. In a real-life encounter, things will be moving quickly and dynamically and it will be very difficult to anticipate the opponent’s next move without a high degree of skill. We are trying to emulate a real-life encounter in a safe environment which requires cooperation from both partners. At the same time, if a technique is not working or if you do not understand it, never try to force it to work, as you could injure your partner. Instead, step back and patiently ask for help or advice from your partner, Sempai, or instructor.
  • Competition between students or dojos is NEVER permitted.
  • Unkemptness or poor hygiene is unacceptable at any time. This is a very close-contact art. No one wants to work with someone that is unkempt. 
  • Bring your own towel and although refreshments may be offered and or sold, you are welcome to bring your own.
  • Long hair must be tied back.
  • Our Gi is spiritual by nature and must be treated as such by keeping it clean and free of odor, rips, holes, and tears.
  • All jewelry should be removed as it could injure yourself or your partner.
  • Inappropriate clothing depicting slogans or pictures of racial, sexual, or anything that could be considered inappropriate will not be permitted at any time. The instructor will decide what is not appropriate.
  • Only a traditional martial arts gi is permitted in the dojo. If you do not have a gi, then a plain t-shirt with sweatpants and socks will be permitted. However, you are expected to have a proper uniform by the completion of your first rank test.
  • Never come to class ill. 
  • All open cuts and sores must be covered completely and securely. Also, you must make your instructor and partner aware of these injuries so we can be proactive to avoid contamination.
  • Hard soled shoes or outdoor shoes, food, and or drinks are never permitted on the mat.
  • If you are late, change and warm-up/stretch quietly and avoid disrupting the class. You may enter the mat once you are ready.
  • Never touch any weapons or tools that belong to the dojo or any of its participants without prior authorization by the owner.
  • It is discouraged to form romantic relationships with other members of the dojo as it could disrupt the harmony of the class.
  • Attitude is very important. Never come to class with unhealthy emotions. Check them at the door, and then enter the class in a peaceful, relaxed, and open-minded state. If you have a conflict with another student, it is recommended that you both go off and attempt to resolve your differences amicably. If that is not possible, then it would be better if one or both of you were to remove yourself from the class and or dojo rather than upset the harmony of the class. Sensei Hill is unbiased and would be more than willing to help but during class is not the time to ask. Feel free to call or e-mail him to arrange a time to talk.
  • Other than guardians, guests are NEVER permitted in the dojo without obtaining prior consent from the instructor. The same applies to taking photos or videos during class.
  • Never attend another dojo without prior approval from your primary instructor as well as the instructor from the other dojo. Even though Sensei will usually allow it, it is the respectful thing to do.
  • Real, “live”, sharp or dangerous weapons are never allowed in the dojo without prior consent from the instructor.
  • You should never be under the influence of mind-altering drugs, illegal substances, or alcohol while you are training. Legal or not, injuries can happen, and should the instructor be aware of an offense, the subject will be excused from the property and or reprimanded appropriately.
  • When you change partners, asked to take a break or when class is over, it is polite to bow to your partner and thank them by saying “Domo Arigato.”

For our parents:

  • This is your time to take a well-deserved break. You are welcome to leave and return, play in the games area, or just relax in the lounge. I will ask that you please refrain from teaching from the sidelines unless you are actively training yourself. That said, encouraging comments and praise are welcome and help to build confidence. Things often look easier than they are and with children, it takes more time and effort to develop the physical and mental skill-sets than it does for the older age groups. 

Download our Dojo rules & Etiquette here


Mystic Mountain Dojo

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Intermediate Group Classes

Thursday: 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Sunday: 11:30am – 1:00pm

Youth Group Classes

Wednesday: 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Saturday: 10am – 11:30am

Junior Group Classes

Tuesday: 5:30pm – 6:45pm

Sunday: 10am – 11:15am

Adult Group Classes

Monday: 6pm – 7:30pm

Saturday: 11:30am – 1pm