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Class Format Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-Ryu) Karate-Do Crest
Dojo Etiquette
Junbi Undo - Warm Up
Kihon Undo
Kiso Tanren
Niju Shichi Waza
Kyu Requirements
Testing Procedures
Yakusoku Kumite
When You Are Late


Dojo Etiquette

Dojo Etiquette

  • Punctuality is encouraged. Try to be ready and on the mats 5 minutes prior to the start of class.
  • Never attend class if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suffering from any sickness. Your ability to be completely focused on training at all times is imperative.
  • When you greet a fellow student or an instructor, greet them by bowing. This is customary in the practice of Okinawan and Japanese Budo.
  • Upon arrival at the dojo, remove your shoes and place them in the shoe rack.
  • All jewellery must be removed. Jewellery may cause injury to yourself or your fellow students.
  • Once you have changed into your training uniform or dogi, enter onto the mats by kneeling on the mats and bowing to the front of the dojo. When the class is ready to begin, before the teacher sits, all students should line up sitting in seiza in a straight line. The person to your right should be of equal or higher rank; the person to your left, equal or lower rank.
  • If you arrive for class late (a practice that is not encouraged), do not act in any way that would be disruptive to the sensei or to the class. Bow onto the mats and stay kneeling in seiza until instructed to join the class by the sensei. (Lateness)
  • If you arrive while the class previous to yours is still in progress, do not act in any way that would be disruptive to either the sensei or the class. Go quietly to the changeroom. If the class is still in progress after you have changed, chairs are available at the side of the dojo for quiet observation. Note: If you are sitting on the side while a class is ending, stand up during the ritual bowing that ends the class and bow with the class - this enables you to show respect along with the rest of the class.
  • When the sensei is instructing the class, or if you wish to listen to an explanation given to another student during the practice, you should kneel politely in seiza. When corrected or instructed by the sensei or a senior student, bow and say "Domo arigato sensei" (thank you, sensei).
  • Always begin training with a partner by bowing to each other.
  • During class, focus your attention on the sensei's instruction. Listen to the sensei and the senior students, and move quickly and with spirit when instructed to do so.
  • Talking on the mats during class is impolite and interferes with the concentration of other students. When discussion is necessary, keep it brief and quiet. Never shout, curse, or become angry on the mats.
  • It is very poor etiquette to question a teacher's or senior's authority or technical knowledge, especially during a class. If you are confused about something, ask respectfully by raising your hand and/or asking the sensei. Do not interrupt the sensei or the senior students. Do not insist on your point of view.
  • During the class, if you wish to leave the mats or practice something other than the techniques the class is practicing you must first ask the permission of the sensei.
  • Always be aware and pay attention to where you and your fellow students are when you are training. When doing a technique, ensure that neither you nor your partner will collide or hit other students while practicing. The senior student is always responsible for the junior student during training.
  • When the class is ending, line up quickly and kneel before the sensei goes into seiza. After the class is over, bow to the sensei and to your partners.
  • If you are unable to train and are observing , please be aware that during the course of the class you should not ask or answer questions nor exchange comments with the students who are training. If you are present during the opening bow or closing bow, a standing bow to the shinden and the sensei is appropriate.
  • Please remember to pay your dues on time. It is easy in our enjoyment of Karate-Do to sometimes forget our responsibilities to Karate-Do, and to the dojo.


Class Format

While each class at Renseikan Dojo is a unique experience, every class follows a basic pattern or format. Students should be familiar with the etiquette of the dojo (dojo rules)

When arriving at the dojo, all students and visitors remove their shoes and hats when entering the building. Students should let the sensei (teacher) know they have arrived by greeting him or her with a bow (rei). Students should also check the bulletin boards, which will carry notices about new events and other dojo-related information.

After changing into their dogi (uniform), students bow onto the mats and warm up and practice their karate until the start of class. The first student on the mats is responsible for sweeping the mats in preparation for class. Getting to the dojo early is encouraged - lateness is not a quality in keeping with the practice of karate-do.

At the start of class, students are called to line up ("Shugo") and take their positions at the back of the dojo, seated in seiza (kneeling/zazen (meditation position)). The most senior student (sempai) instructs the others to begin their zazen/meditation ("Moku so") with three strokes of the gong or with a verbal command. The sensei bows onto the mats and takes his or her place at the front of the dojo, facing the shinden (front) and joins the students in zazen. Zazen usually lasts 10 - 15 minutes and the sensei signals the end either with three strokes of the gong, or with verbal instruction ("Mokuso yame").

Immediately following the end of the zazen/meditation, the sensei and the class participate in ritual bowing, both to the shinden and to the sensei. The sensei begins the bowing by saying "Shinden-ni taishi harai", which means show respect to the shinden (the past and origins of Karate-Do) with a bow. The sensei then turns to face the class, and the senior student calls out "sensei ni taishite rei", which instructs the class to bow to the sensei to show their respect. During this bow, the sensei says "Keiko hajimeru", indicating that the class will being, and the students respond by asking to be taught ("Onegaishimasu").

All students take their places in rows facing the shinden, with the senior students (sempai) at the front so that the junior students (kohai) can watch them and copy their movements. (Late students).

The class begins with the standard warm-up, followed by the Kihon Undo and the Kiso Tanren. There may be slight variations, depending on the level of the students in the class and the specific lesson for that class. Students will also practice other kicks and blocks and strikes with partners (sotai) and solo (tandoku).

The students then practice Kata, the pre-arranged series of movements integral to karate-do. They also practice the bunkai (application) for these kata and Yakusoku Kumite (a series of seven kumite sets developed by Nagamine Shoshin Sensei). Other forms of practice include goshin waza (self-defense movements) and Kobudo (weapons).

Each class will almost always emphasize the eighteen Matsubayashi-Ryu Kata. Kata is the mainstay of traditional martial arts and the one true and safe way to practice maximum power in all techniques.

At the end of the class, students usually do a series of exercises which include push-ups, abdominal exercises, leg exercises and stretching. The students are then instructed to line up ("Shugo") for a short period of zazen/meditation ("Mokuso") to reflect on the lesson, which ends when the sensei says, "Mokuso yame". Ritual bowing also ends every class. As at the start of class, the sensei instructs everyone to show respect to the shinden ("Shinden-ni taishi Harai"), then turns to face the class. The senior student instructs everyone to show respect to the sensei ("sensei ni taishite rei"). During this bow the sensei says "Keiko owaru", meaning, the class is over, to which the students reply "Arigato gozaimashita" (thank you).

The sensei leaves the mats, bows and thanks the students ("Arigato gozaimashita"). The senior student then says, "Class dismissed", at which point the students take the time to bow to each other and say thank you for the training they did together. One of the sempai will let the students know if there are any important dojo-related matters which may require their attention. The students then usually do a quick 5 minute clean up of the dojo and other rooms (this often includes cleaning the mats). This after-class group effort keeps the dojo clean for everyone's mutual benefit.


Junbi Undo - Warm Up

The following series of warm up exercises are followed each class with only minor variations, when felt required by the sensei.

  1. Standing Stretching Ki exercise
  2. Knee bends (shallow)
  3. Knee bends (deep)
  4. Leg raises (three directions)
  5. Neck exercises (three orientations)
  6. Shoulder shrugs
  7. Side stretches
  8. Cross Toe touches
  9. Stretching down and up
  10. Leg stretches (foot flat and foot raised)
  11. Ankle rotation, quad stretch and toe stretch
  12. Cardio movement (jumping jacks, jogging around dojo etc)
  13. Back breakfalls (koho ukemi)


Kihon Undo

During Kihon Undo we concentrate on several single motions from the 18 Matsubayashi-Ryu kata. We alternate between defense and attack movements.

  1. Neko-Ashi-Dachi Suri-Ashi
  2. Neko-Ashi-Dachi Mae Geri
  3. Neko-Ash-Dachi Chudan Shuto Uke
  4. Shizentai-Dachi Chudan tsuki
  5. Shizentai-Dachi Jodan Uke
  6. Shizentai-Dachi Gyaku Zuki
  7. Neko-Ashi-Dachi Gedan Shuto Uke
  8. Shizentai-Dachi Mae Geri to Gyaku Zuki
  9. Zenkutsu-Dachi Gedan Uke
  10. Shiko-Dachi/Jigotai-Dachi Oi Tsuki
  11. Shizentai-Dachi Soto Uke


Kiso Tanren

The Kiso Tanren are foundation drill exercises and are done without stepping. The emphasis is on challenging oneself to get better at these basic movements. There are many techniques to practice, here are just some of them.

10 to 50 counts of each.

  1. Naname Zenkutsu-Dachi kaiten Uchi Uke
  2. Naihanchi-Dachi Chudan Uchi Uke
  3. Naihanchi Fumi Komi Ashi
  4. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Chudan Wari Uke
  5. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Morote Barai Uke
  6. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Nejikomi(short corkscrew punches)
  7. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Uraken (Three kinds)
  8. Neko-Ashi-Dachi Mae Geri
  9. Shizentai/Zenkutsu Dachi Mae Geri
  10. Shizentai/Zenkutsu Dachi Yoko Geri
  11. Shizentai/Zenkutsu Dachi Ushiro Geri Tenkan
  12. Shizentai/Zenkutsu Dachi Mawashi Geri
  13. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Seikan Zuki (single)
  14. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Seikan Zuki (double)
  15. Shiko/Jigotai-Dachi Seikan Zuki (triple)




Fukyugata ("Promotional Kata"):

Fukyugata I was created by Master Shoshin Nagamine in 1941 and Fukyugata II by the Master of Goju-Ryu, Chojun Miyagi. These two introductory kata were originally requested to be created by a special committee of all the Okinawan Karate-Do Association organized and summoned by the governor of Okinawa at that time, Mr. Gen Hayakawa. The reason for the inception of these two introductory kata was to allow beginners and school children to approach Karate practice in the most lenient way possible.


Pinan: ("Peace"):

Pinan I through V were created by Anko Itosu in 1907 and were intended to be practiced by high school students as an integral part of the regular curriculum.


Naihanchi: ("Horse Riding Kata"):

The composer of Naihanchi Shodan through Sandan is unknown. These ancient kata were the introductory ones to Karate for beginners before the Fukyugata and Pinan kata were composed.



The composer of this kata is unknown. The characteristic of this kata is noted by the lunging stances for defensive and offensive movements.


Wankan (Okan) ("King's Crown"):

The composer of this kata is unknown also, but it has a long history. This kata was practiced mostly in Tomari Village. The characteristics of this kata are its elegance combined with powerful movements of attack and defense sequences.



The composer of this kata is also unknown, but it has a long history as well. This kata also was mostly practiced in the village of Tomari. The characteristic of this kata is the one-foot stances where the other foot is drawn to deliver a quick snap-kick. It is a short kata but is very elegant looking.



It is believed that this kata was brought to Okinawa in 1683 by a Chinese envoy named Wanshu; but later, this kata was reformed and developed by Karate men of Tomari Village. The characteristic of this kata is the execution of hidden fist punches.



The composer of this kata is also unknown. The characteristic of this kata is the execution of knife-hand techniques. This kata was the favorite of many Karate men of Tomari Village.  

Gojushiho (literally "54 Steps"):

The composer of this kata is also unknown. Goju-Shi-Ho literally means 54 steps. The characteristics of this kata are the spear-hand thrust and the resemblance of a drunken man's movements.



The composer of this kata is unknown. The characteristics of this kata are the execution of a flying kick, and every movement is composed in a diagonally straight line.



This kata was adopted and developed by Okinawan Karate men after it was brought to Okinawa in 1761 by a Chinese Martial Artist named Kusanku. This kata is the most magnificent and advanced kata of all Matsubayashi Ryu Karate. It is also the longest and most difficult kata, requiring painstaking practice for more than a decade for mastery.


Yakusoku Kumite

The Yakusoku Kumite graphics below are from the WMKA Web Site of which this Dojo is a full member. If the animated characters are not running, clear your cache and reload the page.

Ipponme (Number one):

Nihonme (Number two):

Sambonme (Number three):

Yohonme (Number four):

Gohonme (Number five):

Ropponme(Number six):

Nanahonme (Number seven):


Niju Shichi Waza

The first series of movements taught in the children classes is called "Niju Shichi Waza", which means Twenty-Seven movements. It is an exercise that we treat as the first kata, because it helps students memorize basic karate hand techniques and practice the most fundamental karate stance - shiko-dachi (straddle stance or horse stance). I encourage all adults who participate in the children's classes to learn this basic kata as well. It is an excellent training tool and emphasizes both left and right hands equally.

Below is the order of techniques. All techniques are done in shiko-dachi and start with your left hand:

1 & 2 Jodan uke - hidari Jodan uke - migi
3 & 4 Uchi uke - hidari Uchi uke - migi
5 & 6 Soto uke - hidari Soto uke - migi
7 & 8 Gedan uke - hidari Gedan uke - migi
9 & 10 Chudan zuki - hidari (kiai) Chudan zuki - migi (kiai)
11 & 12 Square punch - hidari Square punch - migi
13 & 14 Punch over shoulder - hidari Punch over shoulder - migi
15 & 16 Mae Hiji ate - hidari Mae Hiji ate - migi
17 & 18 Shuto uchi - hidari Shuto uchi - migi
19 & 20 Shotei - hidari Shotei - migi
21 & 22 Yoko hiji ate - hidari Mawashi hiji ate - hidari
23 & 24 Yoko hiji ate - migi Mawashi hiji ate - migi
25 & 26 Ushiro hiji ate - hidari Ushiro hiji ate - migi
27 Juji uke Re-chamber fists


Late Students

(1) If you arrive after class has started: Change and warm up quickly in the changeroom, then proceed to the entry point of the mats. Bow onto the mats and sit in seiza. Wait for the sensei to invite you into the class. Once invited, take a position at the back of the class (regardless of your rank) and join the class.

(2) If you arrive after everyone has lined up but before the class has started: Change quickly. If the sensei is not seated on the mats, bow onto the mats and take a vacant position in the line up of students, walking behind the other students, who will have already begun their meditation. If the sensei is already on the mats, bow onto the mats and take a position behind the first person (in a second row) sitting in meditation in seiza. This way you will not disturb the formal meditation by trying to find a spot in the line.

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