Opening & Closing Class

From “Gōjū-Ryū Karate-Dō Desk Reference 剛柔流空手道 机参照: Volume 2: Dōjō Auxiliary, Glossary & Terminology 道場の補助、用語集 と 辞書

Opening & Closing Class

The opening and closing of class although ceremonial is necessary to establish order in the class as well as:

  • Respect for the training,
  • Those who have created the training,
  • Those who are presenting or leading the training and
  • Most importantly those participating in the training (mutual respect for the participants).

Traditional commands for opening and closing class may include the vocabulary which follows. The order of these commands and presentation may vary slightly, depending on who is present (including dignitaries), location (indoor or outdoor) and the extent of the formalities of a specific Dōjō 道場 or event:

  • Seiretsu 整列: Form a line by rank (grade) or age.
  • Kiotsuke 気を付け: Stand at attention.
  • Seiza 正座 (or Chakuza 着座): Proceed to traditional kneeling position.
    • Senior participants should begin first followed by junior participants.
  • Mokuso 黙想: Close your eyes and use deep meditative breathing to clear your mind.
    • Polite formal alternative ‘Mokusō kudasai 黙想ください’ (Please meditate).
    • Mokusō yame 黙想止め: Stop, open your eyes ending meditation.
  • Shomen ni Taishite Rei 正面に対して礼: Bow with respect to the front; face to the front of the dōjō and bow.
    • Shinzen ni Tashite Rei 神前に対して礼: Bow to the forward position with respect, in the case that you are not in a formal training place, such as outdoors.
  • Bowing to senior attendees:
    • Shuseki Shihan ni Taishite Rei 主席師範に対して礼: Bow with respect to the senior most Shihan 師範.
    • Shihan ni Taishite Rei 師範に対して礼: Bow with respect to the Shihan 師範 ; face to the Shihan in training and bow.
    • Shihan kata ni rei: face to the group of Shihan 師範 in training and bow.
    • Sensei ni Taishite Rei 先生に対して礼: Bow ith respect to the Sensei; face to the Sensei 先生 in training and bow.
    • Jokyō ni rei 助教に対して礼: face to the Jokyō 助教 (4th Dan 段) group and bow.
    • Shidō-in ni rei 指導員に対して礼: face to the Shidō-in 指導員 (3rd Dan 段 assistant instructor) group and bow.
  • Senpai ni Taishite Rei Senpai 先輩: Bow with respect to the Senpai 先輩; face to the Senpai 先輩 or group of Senpai 先輩 and bow.
  • Otagai ni Rei お互いに礼: Bow with respect for each other mutually.

The class or group should not kneel to Seiza 正座 at once however in an orderly fashion beginning with the Shuseki Shihan 主席師範, or senior most individual attending, followed by the rest of the Shihan 師範 group, then the Jokyō 助教 attendees and Shidō-in 指導員 (lower graded Sensei) attendees if following such format. The remaining group of lower graded students should wait for the head or senior most Senpai to kneel before they kneel together. (diagrams available in volume 2 “Gojuryu Karatedo Desk Reference” and class handouts). Alternate (equally common) formats can be adapted to organize larger classes, gatherings or gasshuku 合宿.

Note that the most senior individual in attendance is nearest to Shōmen 正面 (or upper left from Mukō Shōmen 向こう正面) regardless of the layout.

Warmest wishes,

Johnpaul Williams

Seiwakai Karate Silicon Valley