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Greeting Sensei

This is for newer students.

It is very important to show the proper respect.

If you are already in the dojo when the Sensei arrives, you should stop what you are doing and greet the Sensei. It is best to go up the the Sensei and bow and say, "Hello Sensei" (or something like that).

If you arrive in the dojo and the Sensei is already there, you should put down your bag (or whatever), and go greet the Sensei (as above).

If the class has already started, you should follow your dojo's protocol. In our dojo, the student should go stand to the side of the dojo and wait for the Sensei to make eye contact or give some other signal so that the student can join the class. At that point, the student should bow and join the class.

Of course, a student should show similar courtesy to his own parents and seniors in life. Proper greeting is part of proper courtesy.

If the Sensei's Sensei is also in the dojo, the same courtesies should be shown. Personally, I think that the courtesy should be shown to the Sensei first and then to his Sensei. Other people might feel that the respect should be shown to the senior first. I would show respect to the Sensei of the dojo first, in his or her dojo. Outside of the dojo, I would probably show respect to the senior first. But the main thing is to show respect.

The details are not that important in Okinawan Karate styles (which tend to be relaxed), but may be more emphasized in Japanese Karate styles (which tend to be more highly structured). It all depends. Here in Hawaii we are pretty relaxed about things -- but students should still try their best to be sincerely respectful.


Charles C. Goodin