To master an actual technique, mental culture should come first. Acquiring a technique requires a careful, modest, non-mean, free and attentive mind. In other words a practitioner should do his utmost and nothing less.

I. Maintain a desire to learn. Never be tire of learning, anywhere, any time; this is the secret of knowledge. Be eager to ask questions and learn. Appreciate the thrill of learning.

II. Be willing to sacrifice for the art and the coach. Respect the skills you are learning, and the efforts it took to bring them to you.

Ill. Be respectful to the coach. Follow his instructions to the best of your ability.

IV. Always be loyal to the coach and the teaching methods. If you disagree with any procedure or technique, discuss it privately with the coach.

V. Practice what you learn and try to perfect your techniques to the best of your abilities. This includes spare time in the gym, and regularly doing conditioning exercises at home on off days.

VI. Discard any technique you have learned from another school if your coach disapproves of it.

VII. Always set a good example for lower belts. Be aware that they will try to emulate senior practitioners.

VIII. Help other practitioners to learn and succeed. Recognize that you are all members of a strong group sharing common goals and interests.

IX. Remember your conduct inside and outside the gym reflects upon the art and the coach. Keep in mind that you can not discard your responsibility for the Ju-Jitsu skills that you have learned, wherever you go.

X. Behave honorably. Never be impolite. Try to live by the tenets that guide the art: courtesy, integrity, self-control, and perseverance.

Xl. All teaching aids must be treated with respect, whether they are real weapons such as a sword, katana or stick, simulated weapons such as wooden or plastic knives, sparring equipment, or mats.


The practitioner must constantly be guided by a deep respect for the dojo, for all the people in it, and for the purpose of the practice. Good manners, politeness, courteous behavior, and maintenance of formal etiquette are part of a practitioner’s training, and essential to developing a respectful attitude to the art. The practitioner should memorize the rules, and always obey them.

Coaches should monitor the practitioner’s commitment to self-improvement, and insist on constant self-control. The goal is self-confidence, to be able to achieve peaceful resolution of conflict wherever possible.

The following are several basic rules on how to conduct oneself in the dojo:


If standing, bend forward at the waist. You should retain eye contact with the person to which you are bowing. If kneeling, place your hands flat on the floor in front of you so that your hands are touching or overlapping. Touch your forehead to your hands.

When a higher Black Belt member enters a studio with a class in session the coach will stop the class, and acknowledge his presence by having the class bow to him or her.


No practitioner should join or leave class in progress without instructors permission.

Face the room and bow as you enter or exit the dojo.


Show respect by bowing to your partner both before and after working together


Whenever sitting in class, sit seiza or with your legs crossed: never sit with your legs outstretched.


Always take off your shoes before you step on the mat. Only approved shoes are to be worn on the mat. Face the center of the mat and bow before you step on or off the mat. Step on with the left foot, step off with the right foot.

Line up, sitting seiza, facing the front of the room (for most this is the wall with the flag). White belts will face the front. More advanced practitioners will sit on either the right or the left depending on rank. Black belts will sit with their backs to the wall. When you hear "kiotsuke" become quite and sit at attention. When you hear "shomen-ni rei" bow to the front of the class. When you hear "sensei-ni rei" bow to the Sensei. For the close of class you will line up the same, but the bows are in reverse order.


In order to join a class in progress, stand at the edge of the mat and wait for the coach to bow you on. When you must leave before class is concluded, tell the coach you wish to leave and bow off before leaving the mat. Whenever you leave the mat (regardless of the reason or expected duration), stand at the edge of the mat and make eye contact with the coach. Wait for the coach to bow to you before leaving the mat.


As a sign of respect for their elders, students remain in seiza after the class has ended until all the higher ranking students have bowed off the mat. No practitioner should join or leave class in progress without the senseis permission.


It is the responsibility of all participants to maintain a safe environment. When you feel uncomfortable about a technique, the safe thing to do is to pass. Inform the Sensei whenever you feel that another participant is not working safely. Notify the Sensei before class if you have any mental or physical limitations that may restrict the techniques that are safe for you to receive and/or do to others.


Injuries must be taken seriously. If you injure yourself stop where you are and call the Sensei over. All black belts should be trained and certified in Red Cross Standard First Aid as well as in Ju-Jitsu restorative techniques. Immediately bring any and all injuries to coach’s attention. Do not leave the mat to attend the injuries without notifying the coach as to why you are leaving the mat.


This is not really a rule of etiquette, but a very important safety rule. If you are in pain or placed in a dangerous position, tap your partner, yourself or the mat so that your partner is aware that you wish him or her to stop. This means that the tap should be loud and/or distinctly felt.


Much of what we practice routinely with each other will seriously injure the uninitiated. It is not to be demonstrated or practiced on others outside of the dojo. The first rule of self-defense is to avoid situations that require self-defense.

There are also some additional rules of etiquette that should be practiced:

No profanity in dojo.

No smoking in dojo.

All Sensei should be addressed as Mister, Mrs., Miss, Ms or Sensei.

Practitioners should not free spar without protective cup.

No practitioner should ask or challenge a higher grade belt to free spar.

No jewelry should be worn during class.

Practitioners should not chew gum during class.

Practitioners should always work out in a clean uniform.

Practitioners should always keep fingernails and toenails trimmed.

No practitioner should test for promotion if behind on lessons or payments.

Copyright © 1992, 1993, 1994, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 • The US Ju-Jitsu Federation