Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MARTIAL ARTS ETIQUETTE by Sr. Master Instructor Dan Zaleski

All of us who call ourselves martial artists from the new student to Grand Master must at all time observe a high degree of etiquette. This not only applies in our training hall but outside in our daily lives as well.  As martial arts practitioners we must know and have the proper respect and expected behaviour for each other. This applies to any and all styles of martial arts.  When meeting other martial artists especially Black belts, Masters and Grandmasters correct and proper salutation must be used. All instructors, masters and Grandmasters should be addressed as Mr. Ms. or by their respective titles. E.g.: Hello Master Smith.  All though your teacher may not want to use these basics at his or her academy, (which is their decision of course) we should if we call our self a martial artist be aware of these universal signs of respect and courtesy.

        Let’s start with the most well know sign of etiquette the bow. It means that we have respect and humility. This Asian custom is comparable to our western handshake.  Stand with your hands to the side and your feet together. Bend at your waist 30-45 degrees while keeping your back straight. Some traditions tell us not to look up as we bow as this shows a lack of trust. Let your senior rise from the bow first.
        Your uniform should be clean, ironed if possible and fresh smelling at all times.
Students should always arrive to class on time. If you are late for a reason beyond your control it is good etiquette to wait before joining into the class in session by bowing to the instructor when he or she acknowledges you. If you are late just because of a negative habit, it’s just rude as you are disturbing your Instructor and fellow students.
It’s considered poor taste to tie your belt or fixing your uniform while facing another student or instructor.
       While your teacher is explaining and your listening it is considered disrespectful to have your arms crossed or on your hips. If instructors do this while teaching it shows a lack of respect to the student as the body language communicates boredom
Students, no free sparring is allowed without an instructor present. Not only for your safety, but to also make sure you do not develop bad habits that become your metal and physical habit tracks, therefore become very hard to fix.
        We must always take it upon ourselves to help and encourage others. Be courteous and respect people’s time, space (do not walk in front of someone doing their pattern) and art, that they may practice or even might have mastered. Most etiquette is really just common sense like don’t attend class if you have the flu or are sick as germs spread very quickly in a humid atmosphere.
Keep your emotions under control. Leave the training hall better than you found it, clean and in order.  
        Ask appropriate and respectful questions, most can be answered after class. Teaching without clear permission of your instructor is not allowed as you may be showing something that may injure a junior or be teaching something incorrectly.
         No jewelry besides a medical bracelet or a wedding ring should be worn during class.
Competing in tournaments locally, nationally or internationally- emphasis should be on playing your best and meeting new martial artists. After a tournament, or high ranking grading you may be invited to a dinner or social gathering. Allow your seniors to begin before you. Behave respectfully. (Remember the Canadian Championships in Kelowna April 27th!!!)
       While visiting another academy or club never show your martial arts unless you are invited to do so.
       Do not take any photographs in any training hall unless you have the instructor’s permission. Others may not want their picture taken even if they are in the background.

        True Masters have dedicated decades of their lives to share what they love. If you learn with the attitude of gratitude you to shall be a master of your thoughts, emotions, actions and your own gratitude you to shall be a master of your thoughts, emotions, actions and your own results in life.

This academy is a proud member of Tae Kwon-Do International Canada©