Class etiquette is a very important part of martial arts training and should be observed at all times. Eastern forms of etiquette are unfamiliar to most people, but, over time, these forms will become comfortable expressions of courtesy. Furthermore, as training continues, the meaning behind these etiquette forms will be more apparent.
One of the most basic forms of etiquette is the bow: a gesture of respect, gratitude, trust, and humility. Upon entering and leaving the class, one may face the front of the class room and bow. This shows a respect and reverence for the place.
Another way one shows respect for the martial art, the class, and the teacher is by not shouting, cursing, or becoming angry in the class. Should there be a disagreement, it is best to ask the teacher what is correct. If the teacher is unavailable, students should treat the senior student(s) with the same respect as the teacher.
Effort should be made to be on time for class, and personal needs should be taken care of prior to class. If you are unavoidably late, perform the formal bow individually before beginning to practice. During class, if there is some emergency, and you wish to stop practice or leave class, simply inform the instructor and do an individual bow as the close of your own practice.
For reasons of safety, respect, and courtesy, it is essential that the teacher’s instructions be followed exactly. Many martial arts techniques can be dangerous if not practiced properly. Therefore, if you wish to practice something other than what you have been asked to practice, you should ask the permission of the instructor.
Observation of these forms of etiquette will help to create a good atmosphere in the class. But it is not the superficial observation of a particular form of etiquette that is most important, but a sincere, open-hearted attitude toward training that ultimately gives meaning to the form.