Avoiding faux pas
IntroWhen attending a martial arts class for the first time, you don’t want to sound or behave as a rookie or make a faux pas. The best things to do are:
- Be very respectful.
- Listen carefully.
- Follow instructions.
- Keep quiet, unless asked a question.
- Follow the lead of the senior color belt students or students of your rank.
Tips for avoiding faux pas
- Don’t be late.
- Follow class rules; they are probably posted somewhere.
- Don’t assume you may freely use school equipment.
- Don’t ask to use other students’ equipment, and be cautious about using it if it is offered.
- Don’t act as if you think you are better than others.
- Don’t ask others to spar, wait until they ask you.
- Spar friendly. If an opponent starts sparring rough, step up your defense, but not your offense. The instructor should correct the opponent. If not, then address your concern to the instructor after class. If the response is not to your liking, then leave and don’t come back.
- Have good hygiene. Shower and brush teeth before class, wear a freshly washed uniform, and trim your nails.
- For the safety of yourself and others, take off all jewelry.
- No gum chewing.
- Don’t do anything without asking, or being told.
- Be friendly and train hard during class. Be serious until you understand the school’s training atmosphere; it may be strict, relaxed, or somewhere between.
- Even if the school allows senior students to correct junior students, do not give instructions to other students until you have proven your abilities and earned the right.
- Use the appropriate titles for instructors. If you do not know, then ask. Sir or ma’am will always work. Answer loudly when called upon, with "Yes, Sir!" and "Yes, Ma'am!", or "No, Sir!" and "No, Ma'am!" Even if the school does not require this, as a visitor, you will be showing proper respect.
- When other students are performing, watch intently and quietly. Give performers a wide berth for safety since you are not familiar with how much room they need to perform patterns or techniques. Not only is it respectful to watch others perform, it helps you learn who the good and bad students are.
- Don’t be overly friendly with students or instructors, no hugs or joking around. Be polite and respectful and wait until you know more about the school and its policies, and the personalities of the individual students and instructors.
- Never simply walk into the training area without being acknowledged and/or invited by the instructor. Stand or kneel at attention at the edge and wait to be asked to join the class. This is very important when visiting other schools since it shows respect.
- When visiting other schools, especially those of another organization or system, never make assumptions about a person's rank relative to your own. Not all systems, or schools within a system, use the same colors/stripes/order for belt ranks.
- Do not compare your new school to your old school. If you are visiting, this school and the instructor will be different from your own. If this is a new school for you, forget the way things were at the old school. This is now your school.
- When the instructor is demonstrating a technique, do not question him or her with “what ifs.”
- Don’t do more than your body can take. If it hurts, stop and evaluate the reason. Pain is the body telling you something is wrong.
- When returning after a period away, train slowly and carefully until you get back into the groove. You may injure yourself or others.
- After the class ends, thank the instructor and senior students for their help. Leave and don’t be a nuisance.