How To Greet And Thank In Karate

It is important to know the etiquette of entering, exiting, and performing within a dojo.

Those who are just starting out with martial arts may not know where to start, and may even find these guidelines a little daunting.

How to Greet and Thank in Karate

In this article, we will teach you the etiquette that should be followed while practicing karate, including how to greet and thank others in the dojo.

So, let’s get started.

Dojo Etiquette

Dojo etiquette is a set of guidelines that must be observed at a karate training facility, which is called a ‘dojo’.

Its purpose is to assist karatekas, and others, in maintaining personal discipline.

A dojo is a setting in which students and instructors alike are expected to place a high value on specific moral principles.

A true dojo is a sanctuary of honor, restraint, discipline, and self-control, all of which are at the core of all karate and martial arts schools.

If you are new to karate, or any martial arts, this may all seem a little strange and scary at first.

Don’t worry; it is important to remember that every person in that hall with you were once beginners, like you, and they have all been in your position.

No one is perfect, and no one will expect you to get to grips with everything on your first day.

Continue reading, and, hopefully, you will pick up the etiquette within no time at all!

How To Greet And Thank In Karate

In karate, greetings will differ depending on the rank of the person being addressed. All of the greetings, however, share the same foundation, which is Rei 礼, or the Karate bow.

Bowing is the correct approach to welcome other karateka.

This action is achieved by simply placing your feet next to each other, heels together and toes out, hands by your sides, and then tilting your hips to a 45-degree angle.

There are plenty of other reasons that an individual would bow during karate, and we will discuss these in more detail later on in this article.

Other Forms Of Dojo Etiquette

How to Greet and Thank in Karate

There are many ways to follow dojo etiquette, and while many of these including bowing, there are many other procedures that you should follow out of respect.

Entering/Exiting The Dojo

When you enter the karate dojo, bow politely and neatly place your shoes on the shoe rack. Place your other possessions on the stand with care.

Then, change into your karategi (uniform) in the locker area, but be aware of the time frame. You don’t want to be late.

When you enter or leave the trailing area, bow from your standing position to the instructor.

Late Arrival

If you do arrive late to the dojo, it is etiquette to perform one push-up for every single minute of the class that you missed, before kneeling in seiza until your instructor allows you to join the session.

Bow from the kneeling position, step up, and then step onto the floor after obtaining permission.

The Opening Sequence

When you hear the words, ‘Line up!’, you will need to stand shoulder to shoulder in the rank order facing the front of the dojo. Assemble in a line with the instructor in the center.

You may be required to form more than one line if the dojo is pretty large. In that situation, align the lines so that they are approximately similar in length.

The Standing Bow

When entering or leaving the dojo, you must bow standing in front of the dojo. The standing bow is performed by bending from the hips while maintaining a straight upper body.

You must pose upright with your heels together, and your feet pointing somewhat outward, to do a standing bow in seiza.

Maintain a straight line with your knees and elbows while relaxing.

Around the outside of your legs, keep your hands open and fingers together. Bend at the waist at 20 ° forward, then straighten back up.


In Japan, seiza is the ceremonial way of sitting.

Kneeling in the seiza involves folding both knees on the floor and sitting with a straight back. Ensure that your shoulders are fully relaxed, and your sternum is out.

With the fingers pointed inward, the left hand should rest on the left thigh and the right hand on the right thigh.

The Kneeling Bow

Bowing in seiza is a traditional Japanese method in which the upper body is bowed while kneeling.

In seiza, bowing is as simple as sliding the left hand from thigh to floor in front of the left knee.

Next, repeat the action with the right hand, moving it behind the left-hand motion so that the hands form a triangle configuration.

The palms should touch the floor, and the waist should be bowed to demonstrate respect.

Make your karate bow flawless in seiza by sliding your hands back up to their old position on your thighs, with your left hand slightly behind the right.

During Training

During training, observe the Sensei attentively, and do not speak when he is providing instructions.

Throughout class, students will form lines based on their ranks or, on rare occasions, their height.

The taller students may be asked to sit towards the back of the dojo to avoid blocking the vision of those of shorter statures.

Correcting other students is also frowned upon in the dojo, since it creates the idea that you are an expert on every move.

Since you are also still learning, it is not your business to correct others.

The Closing Sequence

With a few variations, the concluding sequence is very identical to the opening sequence.

Recite the dojo-kun with the senior students after the Mokusou. It should be recited aloud and clearly.

Be sure to say ‘arigatou gozaimashita’ (‘thank you’) while bowing to your Sensei. The remaining steps are the same as the opening sequence.

The instructor will then rise to bring the session to a close. Before you do the same thing, wait until the person on your left bows and rises.

Final Thoughts

There are many techniques that you will be taught to use while practicing karate, especially as a student.

It is very important to show respect to those ranking above you, as well as your instructors. Failure to do so will display you in a negative light.

If you are still struggling with remembering each of these techniques, don’t panic: your instructors will guide you through these processes until you are confident enough to do them on your own.

We hope you found this article helpful.

Christopher Anderson
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