Welcome to the Dojo

martial artist bowing

Your first time coming to a traditional style martial arts class can be very intimidating. To help make that first visit a little easier, here are some basic guidelines to follow.

  • Punctuality: Please try to arrive on time, or even a little early. Arriving late disturbs the class and is considered disrespectful. If you do have to be late or leave early, please inform the head instructor in advance if you can.
    • If you do have to arrive late, please come in and stretch off to the side. When you are properly stretched and ready to begin, signify this by kneeling politely off to the side and waiting for the instructor to acknowledge you.
    • If you need to leave early, politely inform the head instructor and bow off the mat.
  • Clothing: Clothing is one of the most intimidating things to a new student. Most believe they need special clothing to participate in class, but that is not true.
    • If it is your first time in a martial arts class, comfortable clothing without zippers or snaps is all that is needed. We recommend a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt.
    • If you have prior experience in the arts, or already own a gi (uniform) please feel free to wear it. Please bring both your current rank belt and a white belt. The instructor will inform you which belt they would like to you wear.
    • After you have been in class for a while, you will want to purchase a gi. All students under the rank of brown belt are asked to wear a white gi only. After achieving the rank of Ikkyu (1st degree brown belt), students are invited to wear a black gi or continue to wear the white gi.
    • Don't forget to remove all your jewelry before participating in class. (See safety rules.)
  • Bowing: The first time you enter a dojo you will be surprised at how often you see people bowing. The bow in Japan is a sign of respect and courtesy. You will learn more about bowing as you study the art, but for now follow these guidelines for bowing.
    • Bow as you enter the dojo, even if you are just there to watch. This signifies that you are there to learn something and you respect the people participating in the class sharing their knowledge with you.
    • Bow as you step onto the mat. This is done to show that you are there to actively participate in class.
    • Bow whenever you begin working with a new partner or when you are done working with your current partner. This is to thank them for working with you.
    • Bow when you receive instruction from a person who outranks you. This is to thank them for sharing their knowledge with you.
  • Safety: One of the greatest concerns when participating in any activity involving physical contact is safety. Jujitsu is no different. The techniques you will learn can inflict extensive damage if not performed with control. Please read the safety rules listed on the safety rules page and follow them carefully.
  • martial artist choking someone and smiling Respect: Respect is one of the most basic tenants of martial arts training. An attitude of humility, and respect for others will carry you much farther in the dojo, as well as in life, than any other attitude you may adopt. Be humble in both word and deed and you will have an extremely enjoyable time in our classes.
  • Sharing what you have learned: We would like to ask that you please refrain from sharing the information and techniques you learn in this class with others. If they would like to learn more about what you are doing, invite them to class where they may learn the information in a safe and controlled manner, with qualified instructors. Even if they do not want to participate, spectators are always welcome.
  • Self Defense: Please remember the art you are learning is for self defense purposes only. Use of this art in an aggressive manner is strictly prohibited, and is grounds for expulsion from the dojo. You are welcome to enter into sanctioned tournaments and similar activities with your instructor's permission, but remember you are representing not only yourself, but also the entire Dynamic Martial Arts name. Please respect what so many have worked so hard to create.
  • Spectators: One of the most common things we hear from someone new to the dojo is "I'm just here to watch." That is perfectly alright with us. If you do not wish to participate, find a comfortable place to sit off to the side and enjoy. Spectators are always welcome at any of our classes or testings. We do ask however that you please keep the talking to a minimum so as not to interrupt the students or the instructors. Come as often as you like, and stay as long as you would like. Just remember, if you come often enough we're going to try to convince you to join us on the floor!

The most important thing to remember when you come to class is that we are all there to learn. We have all been at that point where we feel confused and intimidated by everything in class. Give it time, ask lots of questions, and never be afraid to try something new. Everyone in the dojo, from the youngest white belt, all the way up to Hanshi Julio Usera (Sensei Herreman's Instructor) is there to learn as well as teach. In time, the dojo will no longer be an intimidating place of mystery, but instead a welcome sanctuary against the daily stresses of life.