Dojang (School) Etiquette

by
Grand Master James S. Benko, Ph.D.


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  1. Upon entering the "dojang" (training hall) students shall bow first to the flags and then to the instructor if he is in the training area. If the class has already begun before you enter, you will, after bowing to the flags and the instructor, wait for the instructor's acknowledgment of your bow and his permission to join the class.

  2. When class is to officially begin, the instructor will clap his hands, at which time all students in the training area will stop what they are doing, face the instructor in the position of attention, and bow to the instructor. The instructor will return the bow, then, using Korean terminology, give the command, "Chul Sa" (line up). Students will again bow to the instructor, then quickly line up. Students will line up according to rank and seniority, the highest ranking member to the front right as he faces the instructor. Then, the highest ranking student will give the commands:

    1. Doe Rha! (Turn) and face the flags.
    2. Kyung Yet! (Bow) to the flags.
    3. Doe Rha! (Turn) and face the instructor.
    4. Kyung Yet! (Bow) to the instructor.
    5. An Jo! (Sit Down).
    6. Mook Yum! (Meditate).
The instructor will then clap his hands once, at which time the students will open their eyes slowly as they come out of meditation. The instructor will then give the command, "E La Sutt" (Stand Up). The students will then stand and remain at the position of attention. At this time the instructor will conduct warm-up exercises, and then proceed with the rest of the class.

During class, proper respect and discipline must be maintained at all times and Dojang etiquette followed by all members. The chain of command of ranks must be followed at all times.

Should the Head instructor enter the Dojang, the presiding instructor (or highest ranking member), will call the class to attention, have them turn and face the Head instructor, and bow. The Head instructor will return the bow and either have them resume their training or instruct the class on what they are to do next.

If it should be necessary for a student to leave the Dojang before the class is over, he must get permission from the Head instructor, unless he received permission prior to the class.

Should a student wish to direct a question to the Head instructor, he does not do so directly, but approaches the senior member. If the senior member is unable to help him, he may ask an instructor, but the Head instructor should never be approached directly. A chain of command is established, and problems dealt with at the level where they properly belong. Proper Dojang etiquette should be observed at all times.

There should be no unnecessary noise. Students must remain silent at all times unless instructed otherwise. Students seated at the sidelines should remain still so as not to disturb those training.

No one is allowed to wear shoes in the Dojang. No one is permitted to chew gum or smoke in the Dojang. There shall be no food or drinks in the Dojang training area. Consider the Dojang as your home and treat it as such. The Dojang is a sacred place where the "Way" of the martial arts is taught.

While seated on the floor, students should keep proper posture conductive to good health, with hands in fists, forearms resting on the thighs, back straight, head erect, and legs folded with the right leg on the outside of the left. No student should lean against anything when sitting or standing.

Students should exercise care to keep their uniform clean and pressed at all times. Students would take care to pay respect to their own bodies and keep themselves clean. Fingernails and toenails should be clipped and kept short to help prevent injuries to oneself and other members. No metal of any sort, except eye glasses or a wedding ring, should be worn during class. No head-bands or other articles of clothing should be worn, other than the Dobok (Uniform) and Dee (Belt).

The training place must always be kept clean and empty of any distracting items. The Dojang is a place where the "Way" of Martial Arts is taught. It is a home for those who wish to learn the Way of the Korean Martial Arts. Members should, without having to be asked, help keep the Dojang clean. All personal belongings should be kept out of the training area. Every student is responsible for his/her own valuables.

Before and after exercises, with the permission of the instructor, the participants should bow, turn 180 degrees to their right, adjust their uniforms and belts, turn to the right 180 degrees, bow to the instructor or fellow student he is working with. Never turn your back on an instructor unless you are told to do so during an exercise.

Warm-up exercises before training and loosening-up exercises after training must be practiced by every participant in order to prepare the body and mind. Failure to do these exercises could result in pulled muscles and a lack of concentration on the part of the participant. When training, one must be in proper physical condition and focus his concentration. If he fails to do this, serious injury could result.

At the end of class, students will again line up according to rank and seniority. The commands are the same as during the opening ceremony except when the students stand after meditation, they will turn toward the flags "Doe Rha", bow to the flags "Kyung Yet", turn and face the instructor "Doe Rha", bow to the instructor "Kyung Yet", as they say; "Con Sa Hom Nee Dha" , which means; Thank you for teaching us. The instructor will respond by saying "Chun Mun A Yoe" , which means; You are welcome.

The Dojang is a place of learning. It is where individuals come, not only to learn how to defend themselves physically, but mentally as well. It is the goal of the martial arts to help develop the total person. Members of a Dojang are like a family. They help each other learn from their experiences both in and out of the Dojang. Members should be proud to be accepted as part of this family. This pride should be reflected, not only in how they conduct themselves while in the Dojang but, outside the Dojang, in their normal daily activities.

Never ask to learn advanced techniques or the next hyung (pattern). The instructor will teach you what you are qualified to learn at your level. It is disrespectful to ask for additional training when you may not yet have perfected what you are presently working on.

All members should be addressed by their last names. Even children should be addressed in this manner. If we call the child (or adult) Mr., then we are teaching them respect. Respect for both themselves and for others. This will be carried over into their private lives which will reflect their respect for others and their martial arts training.

Instructors should be addressed as Mr. (Mrs., Miss.) followed by his or her last name, or by his or her last name followed by "Sa Bum Nim" . Example; "Jones Sa Bum Nim". Masters, 4th Dans or above should always, whether in or out of the dojang, be addressed as Master, followed by the "last name". Example; "Master McDowell". High ranking Masters must be addressed by their correct titles such as "Grandmaster Benko", more correctly addressed as "Kwan Jung Nim" . Masters should NEVER be addressed by their first names. It is a sign of disrespect.


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