Entering the Dojo As you enter the James Martial Arts Academy you will bow at the front door. All students, before stepping onto the training floor, must remove their shoes and place them in the cubbies located by front door.
This is a Japanese custom and it helps to keep the dojo clean and in order. Bowing Japanese custom is to bow when you enter and exit the dojo. Bowing is not a sign of submission; it is showing mutual respect, humility, and lack of arrogance to your fellow brother and sister. It is not a matter of “bowing down” to a superior; as you notice, black belts bow to lower belts and vice versa.
When you train at the James Martial Arts Academy you are treated as a member of the family. So, when we see each other outside of the dojo, we embrace each other with a handshake and hug. In addition, we always bow at the beginning and end of class and when any black belt enters the dojo.
You might think, “Boy this is a lot of bowing”, but as you train you will grow comfortable with the custom and understand its purpose. At the end of class you will receive a command to “Kneel and remove your belt and bow”. I am a Christian and a deacon and I understand the religious undertones this custom might create. You are not worshiping, you are just preforming a custom.
If you would like to talk to me in more depth, please talk to me before class. Hygiene and Safety While training you will find yourself in close proximity with other students. Please make sure your uniform is clean and you shower regularly. Additionally, for our students that wear makeup, please remove it before training. Keep finger and toe nails trimmed because a scratch or cut could lead to an infection. Please remove all jewelry (rings/necklaces/earrings, etc...).
Lastly, if you are ill, please do not train as to protect your fellow students from the possibility of becoming ill.
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