In our classes, there are certain forms of etiquette that are important to follow. The purpose of these “rituals” is to show respect, not only to your instructors and fellow students, but also to show your commitment to the art of Hakko Denshin Ryu JuJutsu. Although some of these traditional Japanese courtesies may seem unusual at first, they will over time, become normal expressions of courtesy and respect.
The formal bowing before and after classes is not religious based. No one is violating any religious beliefs by taking part in traditional classes. It is simply a sign of respect between teachers and fellow students- both to each other and to the history of the art and it’s founder, Soke Okuyama.
Like with work or any other school a student is expected to arrive on time dressed and ready to begin class. Uniforms should be clean and the student should look presentable with long hair tied back and jewelry removed (for safety reasons).
Classes begin with all the students forming a line in front of the teacher with highest ranking students on the right with students of lower ranking students on the left. When kneeling down the left leg goes down first then the right. When getting back up to a standing position do the opposite.
All classes will have a warm up of some type. If injuries prevent you from participating, politely speak with your instructor prior to training. Many classes are divided between working out and teaching. Like with any lecture being quiet and paying attention are a given and ask questions at the end. Once you begin your workout with your partner be respectful and train safely. When working out with someone of a different gender respect the comfort levels of the other person, and make it clear if you’re feeling uncomfortable. If you’re having difficulties, stop and ask a question of Sensei or Sempai.
The study and practice of Hakko Denshin Ryu consists of more than just learning physical technique. Proper behavior and manners are also an important part of the training. The following is a list of simple rules that students of traditional classes must abide by.
Always be clean. Keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed short. You are working in close quarters with others.
Do not chew gum. Remove any jewelry; particularly earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and heavy rings.
Make certain that your gi (uniform) is clean and wear it neatly. Ensure that your obi (belt) is tied properly before the beginning of class. If you are not sure, ask a senior student.
Make certain that the dojo, particularly the mat area, is clean, tidy, and ready for practice. Helping to sweep, dust, and clean the dojo is a part of a student’s training.
Ensure that you bow onto the training area. If sensei is already on the mat, wait quietly and wait to be given permission to bow on.
Follow the lead of the senior student during the bow in ceremony.
After the demonstration of a technique, bow first to the instructor and then to your partner before beginning your practice.
If the instructor stops to provide clarification concerning a technique, move to a place that is safely out of the way and observe while sitting in seiza. After the correction, bow to the instructor, then to your partner, and resume practice. Avoid sitting, standing, or training with your back to the shinden.
Should you need to fix your gi during class, first bow to your partner to indicate the interruption in practice. Then face away from both your partner and the shinden while straightening your gi.
Once class has started, never leave or reenter the mat area without asking the instructor.
Always report any injury to the instructor.
Junior ranks should never attempt to correct or teach to senior students.
It is permissible to stop training if you are feeling ill or fatigued. Politely get your instructors attention and explain the situation. When resting, ensure that you sit properly. Do not lean against the walls.
“Prior to my training in Hakko Denshin Ryu Ju Jutsu, I was taught that speed and power was the key to victory. Since then, my training has taught me the opposite. Controlled and relaxed application of proven techniques can control an opponent without resorting to brute force. The subtlety of the techniques reveals a hidden power that lies deep within each of us. When we begin to understand how to harness and control that power we can transfer that understanding into our daily lives. Dealing with adversity, in its many forms, is not as challenging as it once was and I have a peace of mind that had eluded me for many years.”