Dojang etiquette is the heart of the martial art. Some people think of etiquette as rules but they are not. They are a guide, a moral compass of how we behave and treat others.
The most important person to treat with respect is your Master. They are the person who looks after you and teaches you everything you know so far, so it's important they know that you are thinking of them. Simple things show your Instructor you care, and you must try and do these small things at every opportunity. Never forget to:-
- To let them know if you can't train in advance. A simple phone call, email or text is all it takes.
- Bow when you greet them and when you say goodbye, regardless of whether it's inside or outside the Dojang. It's a mark of respect that is so simple and means so much but many forget.
- Carry there bags. Masters should carry nothing. This isn't because they are not capable but it's a way to show your respect.
- Open doors for them.
- If you are fortunate enough to be out eating with them. Pay for them. Remember all the things they have done and continue to do for you. There is a Korean saying "Master should have no hands and no pockets." Meaning you should look after them at all times.
- Always show your appreciation after a big event such as grading by buying them a small gift/card. It's a token gesture to say thank you for all the time they have put in with you over the years.
- Always ensure that junior grades treat your Master with respect. A quiet word is all that is needed if someone doesn't understand the correct etiquette. It is YOUR job to teach lower grades correct etiquette.
- Protect them. Look after them. Listen to them. Care for them.
All of the above things are so easy to do. It is simply thinking about someone else before yourself. No matter your age, how long you have known your Master or how familiar you are with them, NEVER FORGET basic dojang etiquette. In fact the more familiar you are with your Master, THE MORE you should understand the importance of showing respect. It makes them feel wanted and appreciated. True martial artists understand this better than anyone.