04 September 2011

General Dojang Etiquette

I thought it good to review some of the common Taekwon-Do etiquette that are generally expected of students. Much of the text below I've gathered from a variety of ITF syllabi through the years. I can unfortunately not remember the original sources. Nonetheless, these “rules” are fairly common around the world and are generally applicable in all ITF Taekwon-Do schools.

In the Dojang

  • Don't be late for class. To be late shows disrespect for your fellow students, your instructor and the art. Instructors often plan a class with the students in mind that are likely to be in class, so if you are going to be late, inform the instructor. It is just good manners.
  • Upon entering and leaving the dojang bow to the class. Also make sure to bow to the instructor and all black belt members as a sign of greeting and respect. Bow and acknowledge others present in the dojang which should include firstly the instructor, the assistant instructor, then senior members. Children will acknowledge adults. Similar courtesies should be paid when visiting other martial arts dojang.
  • Where several people are entering, ensure the senior person or adult is shown the courtesy of entering first.
  • Remove footwear prior to stepping onto the training area. Ensure shoes or other articles are neatly stored in accordance with the wishes of the instructor.
  • While a class is in session, do not hang around or play around in the dojang. If you talk, let it be Taekwon-Do.
  • If you are early which is preferable, start warming up or practice your patterns.
  • Members should arrive at least 10 minutes before the commencement of class and be prepared both physically and mentally.
  • If the instructor is occupied, the most senior member present will commence training promptly until the instructor arrives.
  • If you are late change into dobok as quickly as possible, quickly loosen up and then stand on attention and wait for the instructor to invite you to join the rest of the class. Make sure to do your changing and loosening up as quickly as possible so that nobody needs to wait for you. It is considered very rude and disrespectful to have the class have to wait for you. When late, stand at the back or side of the dojang in such a manner that you are clearly visible to the instructor, but not disturbing, until the instructor acknowledge and invite you onto the training area.
  • Never be disrespectful to your instructor during class. If you disagree with the use of a technique, discuss it after the class in private. Never speak to your instructor on first name basis while you are in dobok. Use the appropriate titles.
  • All members must treat each other with courtesy.
  • When seeking to meet or ask a question of the instructor or senior, a student should stand at attention and keep alert to the situation at hand until approached or spoken to by the instructor or senior. The student shall ensure the dobok is well adjusted prior to the meeting.
  • Visiting instructors or seniors should be acknowledged by all members present upon meeting and entering the dojang.
  • During training members should not leave the dojang without the permission of the instructor.
  • The junior students present shall be responsible for the setting up and tidying up of equipment and the dojang floor at each training session. The senior members (other than the instructor or his/her assistant) shall supervise the putting away of equipment by junior members after the completion of training having regards to the wishes of the instructor.
  • Members must ensure their dojang is kept tidy.
  • Members should ensure visitors are treated with courtesy, provided with seating, accompanied and given advice where necessary.
  • Members must not make any unnecessary noise or disturbance inside the dojang.
  • All training fees or payments must be paid promptly at times indicated by the instructor. (During the first week of each month.)
  • The correct uniform is a correct dobok top with a correct dobok trousers. Black belts shall where official black belts and have a 3cm wide trimming around the bottom of the jacket; 4th Dan’s and above are distinguished by a 3cm black stripes down the outside of the jacket sleeves and trousers.
  • Do not wear jewellery as it can cause injury to yourself and other students.
  • Dobok must always be clean, ironed and worn correctly. They should be in good repair. Female students may where a white (or corresponding belt colour) T-shirt or sport-bra under their dobok jacket. Ensure that your dobok is clean and neat at all times and your belt tied correctly - this shows your pride in the art.
  • Wash your dobok regularly. A dirty or smelly dobok shows disrespect to the style and your training partners.
  • Belts shall be worn by those qualified for them, wrapped around the waist once and tied in the correct manner.
  • During training, if the dobok needs to be tidied up, the student must turn about to adjust. Don't fidget with your dobok while facing the instructor or seniors.
  • Dobok should not be worn outside the dojang unless on special occasions as specified by the instructor. The DO-bok is intended for the DO-jang.
  • In the hot summer months the club T-shirt instead of the dobok jacket can be worn with permission from the instructor.
If there is anything you think that is also typically common Taekwon-Do etiquette for the dojang that I have missed, please share it in the comments. 


Anonymous said...

I like this article, "General Dojang Etiquette", it encourages virtues in students. (I had to delete the previous comment I made as I made a spelling mistake, sorry). Oh well, Taekwon-Do teaches us to learn from our mistakes.

SooShimKwan said...

Indeed, we learn from a discipline to endure, persevere and often to be humble. There's always room for growth and improvement.

Thanks for the comment.