How important is etiquette in the dojo?

One of the most obvious things somebody can notice entering a dojo (martial arts training room) is the general behaviour expected and respected by students in terms of:

  • Saluting and interacting with the master and senior students
  • Following instructions from the person running the class
  • Entering and leaving the dojo
  • Wearing and respecting a uniform

Having trained various styles of different martial arts I tried different flavours of expected etiquette, ranging all the way from the top formality of an Aikido class to the total laid back informality of a boxing club and I find myself standing in the middle.

I appreciate a level of formality and discipline that ensures, in a given class, to have:

  • A formal start and finish of the lesson
  • A level of respect toward the master or the instructors that ensure they can run the class, explain without disturbance and being asked in case of doubts
  • Some kind of uniform to identify members of the class in a distinct way
  • A way of identifying people’s ranking within the school to determine their experience: this is particularly important if the club has many members that train in different classes so that it can  happen to train often with new partners

I’d be interested in hearing different points of view on the topic.

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