Respect for Katana
How to Guides
Bow In Ceremony
Warm Up Exercises
Bow Out Ceremony
Is my sword sharp?
8 Basic Cuts
Target Prep & Spiking
St Petersburg Dojo
Code of Conduct
Classes and Fees
Code of Conduct
All students must understand these rules before signing
up for training. Students should learn and remember these rules that
constitute proper dojo behavior and are essential to maintaining a safe and
positive training environment. The dojo is much more than a "training hall."
It is the place where the spirit is forged through rigorous physical
conditioning, self-discipline and introspection (looking within). The dojo
has its own culture and it takes time to learn the proper procedures and
rules. You should ask sensei if you have any questions. Students must
approach and correct others not abiding by the dojo rules, but this needs to
be done in a non-demeaning and courteous manner. Anyone who violates these
rules will be subject to disciplinary action (including suspension,
revocation and or expulsion) as directed by sensei.
Bowing in the dojo has
no religious connotations. The Japanese greet each other by bowing. Bowing
can also have the functions of thanking and apologizing. Bowing may range
from a small nod of the head to a long 90-degree formal bow. You are
supposed to bow deeper and longer than your opposite if they are of higher
status than you are. Your back and neck should be kept straight while
Students must face the
shinza and respectfully bow
when entering or leaving the dojo.
Students must bow to the senior student on
the floor and always bow to any dan ranked students upon first meeting
If sensei arrives late or leaves early, the
class should be brought to attention and bow as a group.
Students shall bow to each other prior to
mutual exercise and upon completion of that exercise.
disrespect will be shown to any instructors or fellow students.
Students should follow
the instructions of their sempai.
Respect your fellow
students experience in other arts. As well, do not expound upon your
experience to others during class, regardless of how it may relate to the
techniques being taught.
Students shall refer to the head instructor
as sensei (Mike Femal), and assistant instructors as sempai
at all times in the dojo and outside
the dojo when the conversation relates to dojo and training matters,
otherwise they should be referred to by name.
Students, who arrive
late should enter the dojo and wait to be invited to join the class by
A student cannot leave class early without
the permission of sensei.
There is no talking in class unless you
have been recognized by sensei by raising your hand or using the phrase "sumi-ma-sen
sensei” (excuse me teacher).
Talking in the
changing rooms should be minimal and restricted to matters concerning
Students must learn and uphold the correct
ways of sitting and the proper way of standing.
If asked to watch a
technique, remove your sword from your belt, sit in seiza, with your sword
on your right side, blade edge towards you, tsuba forward. The tsuba
should be inline with your knee.
Always place your
sword on the rack edge up, with the handle facing to the left as you face
the rack. The upper spaces are reserved for higher ranks.
Juniors should never
walk in front of seated seniors without bowing and saying "sumi-ma-sen".
The handling of swords in any capacity is potentially dangerous. Therefore,
for the general safety and well being of the participants, certain rules
must be in effect at all times during training class. It is the direct
responsibility of every student to know and abide by these rules.
Always let sensei know if you are suffering
from any physical disability, restrictions, injury, illness, or require
special assistance before class.
Do not come to class when suffering from a
contagious illness. Rest and come back to class when you have fully
Try your best, but do not overdo it. You
can take a break when needed. Just let sensei know.
Do not run or act recklessly in the dojo.
There will be no horseplay in the dojo or dressing rooms.
When the instructor
says "FREEZE" do exactly that, FREEZE. Don't move to where you think he
wants you to be, don't make any kind of adjustments, simply stop all
movement and stand there until he tells you to move.
NEVER walk behind
someone training with a sword. They cannot see you.
If your sword slips
out of the saya, do not try to catch it. Step back and let it fall to the
Check your sword's
general condition before every class; pay special attention to the mekugi
pin in the handle. If you have any doubts, ask your instructor
Always be aware of
where you are and where everyone else is while training. Develop this
awareness and keep your distance.
Control your sword at
all times, keep your thumb on the Tsuba when bowing and moving about.
Never make wild or
careless motions with an unsheathed or sheathed sword at any time.
Never place an
unsheathed sword on the floor or on the rack.
When handing a sword
out of its sheath to another person, hold the bottom of the handle with
your little finger at the butt. The blade's cutting edge should face you.
When accepting a
sword out of its saya, grasp the handle firmly at the guard with your left
Wear your obi and
hakama properly snug. Hakamas should never be overly long or short. They
should just touch the tops of your feet.
Before cutting check
the mekugi peg in your sword's handle. If it is missing or loose, inform
When cutting, be
aware of whether or not you have bent your sword's blade. Allow your
instructor to straighten it if needed. Never attempt to sheath a bent
During cleaning, keep
sword blade pointed away from other students.
Absolutely no shoes on the dojo floor.
Shoes should be neatly arranged at the edge of the training floor.
Students must wear shoes or sandals outside the dojo.
Do not wear rings, earrings, necklaces,
bracelets, anklets, nose/ear studs, watches, neck chains, or any metallic
articles during class. Wedding bands are okay.
Do not smoke, chew gum or eat candy or food
while in the dojo.
Do not come to class when intoxicated. Do
not consume any alcohol before class.
Do not misuse any equipment in the dojo.
Do not use profanity or abusive language in
Use a quiet voice in the dojo (except when
leading the count).
Do not talk to
someone who is not in class or who is just watching.
Do not stand around
idle in class. This is your time to train.
Beginners must have
an oak bokken, keiko gi top, obi (belt), and
hakama before starting
All students must
have an iaito (metal practice sword) within 3 months of starting class.
All students must
have a shinken (cutting sword) within 3 months of starting tameshigiri.
wear a plain T-shirt
under their gi top that is the same color as their gi top.
Your uniform should be put on after arrival
to the dojo and removed before departing the dojo.
Your uniform must be folded properly after
class and should always be mended and clean.
If you need extra
stretching or warm-ups, do them before class begins.
There is only ever
one sensei teaching class. Don’t
offer advice to your fellow students.
Sempai will assist lower ranked belts in
their training, but only upon the request of sensei.
Whenever sensei is explaining or
demonstrating all students should give him their full attention.
Never contradict or attempt to correct
sensei or sempai. Discuss such matters with sensei privately.
No interrupting while the instructor is
teaching in class. If you have a question, wait until the instructor is
done speaking and raise your hand.
Students should question what they do not
understand but answers are not debatable.
Students must not practice any technique
that has not been formally taught to them by sensei.
Respect other styles but practice your own.
Knowing "a little of this" and "a little of that" usually ends up being "a
lot of nothing." If you practice more than one style or art, keep them
You must have explicit permission from your
sensei to demonstrate any aspect of Batto Do.
You must have explicit permission from
Nihonzashi LLC before teaching anyone outside of class or opening a dojo.
An expression such as “hai, hai” does not
mean yes when requesting permission and “that is difficult or we’ll see"
usually means no. In the absence of a positive "yes," the answer is no.
Usually, a non-answer means no.
Your family and work comes first. Come to
class after you have fulfilled these obligations.
As you advance, ego is a constant enemy.
Always accept correction positively and
with an open mind.
Always be courteous in demeanor and be
helpful to juniors and each other.
Always maintain a beginner's attitude. You
can't learn if you think you already know it.
Pay close attention to what your instructor
has to say at all times.
Come to class to learn. Practice at home or
during open practice times.
Do not become angry or upset in the dojo.
It is far better to know one kata well than
dozens of kata poorly.
Never criticize other schools or styles of
the martial arts.
All students share in the responsibility
for keeping the dojo safe and clean.
Please arrive at
least a half of an hour earlier to prepare targets and get changed so that
training can begin on time.
Every student should help clean the dojo
floor and mirrors after each class.
Never let a student with higher seniority
work harder than you.
Never leave clothing or valuables of any
type in the dojo. We will not be responsible for these articles if lost or
Rank testing is not a formality. Students
must be prepared to not pass.
Promotions and promotion dates are at the
discretion of sensei.
There are minimum time periods between
rankings. However, training for the minimum time period does not entitle
the student to promotion. Many factors are involved in promotions such as
time in rank, attendance, technique, teaching ability, helpfulness,
attitude, courtesy, effort, contributions to the art, etc.
Never request to be tested or promoted.
Sensei will let you know when you will be tested or have been promoted. If
you ask for promotion "you will cease to exist." This means that sensei
will see you but not see you.
Accept a promotion with a sense of
increased responsibility to your fellow students.
This is not a contract,
but a statement. We are here to provide instruction to members providing
they pay their membership in a timely manner. Keeping your word and honor is
the center of our program. Not keeping your word bounces back to you, not
being honest with yourself as well as others. No one makes progress as a
human being unless we learn to keep our word. We keep our word and expect
the same from you. The student agrees to pay the tuition without regard to
the attendance made or classes missed. Tuition is not a Rank Guarantee; your
rank is based on attendance and performance in class. We do not sell rank.
Your personal progression is in your hands, we are here to help and guide
you on your journey.
- All regular students must keep a steady
attendance of class.
a student withdraws from the dojo temporarily or permanently let sensei
know immediately in person or by phone.
are responsible for keeping your dojo dues up to date.
dues are due at the beginning of the month and must be paid on time.
tameshigiri targets must be pre-paid and are not part of monthly dues.
Fees are non-refundable and are not prorated.
- Sensei must approve absent membership. This is offered to
extreme hardship cases or out of town members.
- Enrolling in the Basic Program will maintain your status as a
student and we allow you to maintain your rank.
- Failure to keep in communication with sensei or failure to pay
dues will result in cancellation of your rank and membership.