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The Martial journey: Blog 4, The unwritten rules of the training hall - By Master John Swift

Whether you train in a dojang or a dojo, wear a dobok or gi the etiquette of traditional martial arts is still one of the special elements that binds and makes the martial arts so unique

Many of the following you may already know, others are a little more specific to particular schools, arts and instructors … either way –

‘Start with respect, finish with respect’

• By all means arrive early to class but never be late • If you are on the very odd occasion late to a class stand and wait at the side with a raised hand until the senior instructor gives you permission to join in Incidentally – • Do not enter the training room until the senior instructor is in there and ready • Remove your shoes before entering the matted area / training room • Bow when entering and leaving the training hall, if there are flags then bow to the flags if not then to the ‘senior’ instructor • Parents and spectators don’t have to bow but must remain quiet whilst the class is in progress, talking can be distracting for those learning

‘Discipline, Focus, Concentration’

UNIFORM – scary white pyjamas • Keep your uniform tidy, clean, odour free and ironed … it is a sign of disrespect to your club, instructor and fellow students if you are not presented correctly • Turn and face away from your senior instructors when straightening your belt or correcting your uniform

YOUR BELT – more than just holding up your trousers • Few know the sacrifices made, in many instances literally blood, sweat and tears. Tie is correctly, wear it with pride irrespective of its colour • If you forget your belt, apologise to your instructor and row up at the back with junior grades • If you are a black belt wear your name on the left, grade on the right … in my association we have grades both ends so ensure your name falls on the left • As quickly as you are promoted you can also have your grade removed. Commit yourself fully to your journey and enjoy the benefits it offers

‘To lead, you must first follow’

PERSONAL • Keep your nails short and clean • Keep your body clean as smelly and dirty is not a good look plus respect starts with yourself • Wear socks or training shoes if you have athletes foot or verruca's • Notify your instructor of injuries that will reduce your ability to participate in activities • No jewellery • No chewing gum • No ego’s

ALWAYS … • Raise your hand before you speak • Ask permission before getting a drink • Ask before leaving the training room • Always refer to your instructors by the appropriate title – sir, ma’am, Mr, Miss, Mrs or Master • Always train hard, train smart & to the max. of your ability

Of course every school is different and I am sure you could probably add many more!

Whether your passion is sport, tradition or reality based, grappling or kicking, punching or trapping be sure to start as you mean to go on stay focused, stay humble, stay ready to learn

Bows slow and deep … ‘respect’

Master John Swift

For more of Master Swift's Blogs or to learn more on his Martial arts journey take a look at his website

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