Rules and Etiquette

Black Belt in meditation
Black Belt in meditation

Training in martial arts is mental as well as physical in nature. Besides techniques of self-defense, we are learning arts that build self-control, discipline, and respect for other people. The following of certain traditions and formal behavior attains these mental states while within the training hall.

  1. Bowing: To bow is merely a gesture of respect and acknowledgment. When done properly and sharply it reflects awareness that the school is a special place, and an attitude of seriousness for training. The student should always bow:
    1. Upon entering and leaving the training hall.
    2. When first seeing the head instructor or his assistants and bow to them once again when leaving.
    3. When beginning and ending practice with a partner.
  2. Speech and proper address: Any black belt instructor of the school is always to be addressed by the proper title, “coach” or “chief” within the confines of training. At the students’ discretion, they may address the instructor by their first name when appropriate (i.e. Outside of class).

    All the instructors and assistant instructors, who will be continually helping you in your development, are to be addressed as “coach “.In reply to question or command requiring an answer, all students should answer “yes sir” or “no sir”. Ma’am when applicable.

  3. The instructor is obeyed on the training floor unless what he says goes against your personal code of values. If such an instance occurs, please state your reason for disagreement.
  4. Higher-ranking students deserve your courteous respect.
  5. Concentrate totally on the instructor’s directions.
  6. If you are going to be absent or tardy, out of courtesy notify the school as soon as possible.
  7. Profanity is not to be used and will not be tolerated.
  8. All uniforms are to be kept clean at all times. Also, students are to pay respect to their own bodies and keep themselves clean and well groomed.
  9. Fingernails and toenails will be kept cut back and clean at all times.
  10. No watches, rings, or jewelry of any sort will be worn during training, except eyeglasses when necessary.
  11. Horseplay is discouraged in the training area. Respect and order will be maintained at all times.
  12. Do not engage in unnecessary noise. When not working out, please sit quietly. Do not bother others with needless chatter.
  13. Please pay your dues promptly. Often, we get carried away with the more exotic aspects of martial respect and formalities, and forget that it is not particularly polite or respectful to expect a school or instructor to wait for you to pay your tuition. Your cooperation in this area is one very important way you can contribute to the smooth operation of the school. If you don’t pay for your lessons, there will not be any lessons for you.
  14. Please help keep the training hall and changing rooms clean. Treat the school with respect.
  15. Do not depend on an instructor; practice before and after the lesson. Seek out the assistance of your seniors.
  16. Never do anything to dishonor the school or your instructor. The misuse of your martial arts or the creation of a bad personal reputation within neighborhoods or communities by a student may cause the student to be suspended or expelled from the school.
  17. Parents: encourage your children! Their efforts need to be rewarded. Do not compare them with others in the class. Each child is unique, and will benefit differently from the next. Parents and visitors are welcome to watch class anytime. However, we ask that you do not talk to your child during class-time. Please leave the discipline and coaching to the instructors.
  18. Always remember that you are an important member of a proud family. Be cheerful and show a good positive attitude at all times.
  19. Excessive talking when working on belt requirements is unnecessary and distracting. Please stay on task until such time as the goal from the instructor is reached. At that time, help those students with less time on the floor than yourself. Hard work and dedication are the only way to make it to Black Belt, and the character you show by giving “a hand up” to newer students is an important step in that journey.


  • Bryan Bagnas

    Master and Founder of Golden Leopard Kempo Martial Arts School, teaching Philippine Combatives, Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu, Combat Kickboxing, Hawaiian Shaolin Kempo, and Self-Defense to San Diego students for over three decades.

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