Etiquette in Budo

Somewhere in the middle


Let’s just say that there is no place in our Dojo for¬†some oppressive hierarchy of a ‘wanna be’ Sensei with an ego from here to …Tokyo?ūü§£. So don’t worry.

At our place, the Dojo and love for Budo itself comes first. There is a natural atmosphere in which knowledge, experience, commitment and seniority are automatically appreciated in a respectful manner. If you really love something, you will naturally appreciate those people who are capable, experienced and knowledgeable, and those who genuinely care. It should be noted that this magic does not work well with people who particularly are in love with themselves, and unfortunately there are plenty of them.

Anyway, the art we love so much has its origins in Japan and etiquette is an important part for understanding the art, for character building and for interacting safely and harmoniously. Etiquette can have cultural, practical and religious backgrounds. The religious backgrounds could be tricky but because religion and culture often come together, one should study these forms in order to discover its meaning and relevance. Practical manners often tell something about the Martial Art itself, in short, everything has a purpose and a reason.

Although we’re mainly educated by Japanese teachers ourselves, we do not take it for granted that Westerners should adhere to strict Japanese manners.¬†Unlike the Japanese, the Dutch are less humble and modest and like to have everything explained first.¬†However, we have also learned in Japan that¬†manners can differ from Dojo to Dojo. For example, traditional schools can be quite different from modern schools.¬†We are very aware of the choices we make in this regard. We would like our students to be able to go anywhere without embarrassing themselves, the Dojo or the art they practice. The context of etiquette therefore is very important.

When you first enter a Dojo it can feel a bit awkward, but aften some explanation you will soon embrace our manners and experience them as pleasant, safe and familiar. We actually use very universal etiquette that are commonly used to learn Budo properly and safely. In the Netherlands you will find similar etiquette at a standard Judo club, but also at the classical ballet studio, an orchestra, on a ship or in an average French kitchen. Even in our free society, people cannot always say or do as they please. It depends on our environment. In our Dojo we commit ourselves to Budo and that requires a certain mindset and behavior.

So talk less, do more, find less, feel more, give your eyes and ears a living, come to learn, not to teach, be the best training buddy your partner could wish for …¬†if you can do just that, we’ll probably get along just fine.