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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Karate Words 1

Some Karate words and their meanings

Dojo – We refer to our club where we train as our dojo. It is a school assembly hall Monday to Friday but on a Sunday evening it is our “dojo”. Do means the way and Jo means the place. “Dojo” the place where we find the way”. Japanese traditions call for paying respect not just to people, but also to places and things. This is also true of our Dojo. It is kept clean and tidy, and it is a requirement to bow on entry and egress. This may seem a little over board to the beginner however by paying proper respect we show that we do not take the Dojo for granted.
The dojo is not simply where you train, but also a place to where you will make friends.

Shomen – The front of the dojo is called Shomen, Sho means proper or correct and men means side or façade. The instructors stand at this side of the dojo and the classes face towards Shomen. Some dojos may have a photo of their chief instructor on the Shomen wall. Both the students and the instructors will bow towards Shomen when they enter the dojo. It is a mark of respect to your association and your senior instructors.

Rei – We begin and end each class with Rei, this means respect, courtesy and not taking things for granted. To Rei is to bow, this may be standing or kneeling.
You will Rei many times during training. As you enter and leave the dojo, as you start and finish a training session. As you commence or finish training with a partner. It is a bit like saying thank-you for the opportunity of training together.
It also is a signal of rest to attention. From rest we rei and become ready for training, we rei and training is finished until we commence again. You should be ready for an attack at any time from the first to the second Rei.
To Rei the palms of the hands are place on the outside of the thigh and you bow from the waist. If you Rei to a senior grade or instructor you would bow a little lower than they do. This is a mark of respect.
At the beginning and the end of training there is a formal Rei.
The senior student will announce “Seiza”, this is to formally kneel. The left knee is lowered to the floor followed by the right. And you cross your toes/feet underneath. Sitting up tall with a straight back and hands on your knees.
"Mokuso” is announced, you close you eyes and clear you mind for a short period of meditation. “Kamaku”, you open your eyes.
Shomen-Ne-Rei” is announced. This means pay respect to our association, senior instructor and our gods. The instructors turn to face the class.
Sensei- Ne-Rei” This means bow to our teacher. Then the students turn in to face the senior instructor,
Otoga-Ni-Rei” this means bow to your fellow students.
You then raise your right knee and then your left to the standing position.
The reason the right leg is lowered last and raised first goes back to when Samurais wore swords. You are restricted in drawing a katana in the kneeling position. You wanted to reduce the amount of time it was unavailable.


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