Karate etiquette is a reflection of the karate-ka's traditional respect with attitude and behavior.  It is also a representation of your training and of your instructor and dojo.  Karate etiquette consists of many factors including what is expected in the dojo and during training, how to wear a uniform, personal safety, spectator behavior, and dues or fees.  It is the responsibility of every karate-ka to learn the importance of dojo etiquette, apply it, and teach others.  Karate etiquette is a very important element in training.  Whether you are inside the dojo or not, there are specific rules that the karate-ka must abide by to be a true martial artist.
The first of Master Funakoshi's Niju-Kun is, "Do not forget that karate begins with a bow and finishes with a bow".  The literal translation of "Rei" means to salute, bow, or as a salutation.  Bowing honors the karate spirit, and shows respect for the sensei, the masters, the opponent, oneself, and the dojo.  By bowing, the karate-ka is also giving thanks to their sensei for their guidance and knowledge.  It sets the tone of your karate relationship through humility and the eagerness to learn and seeking to endeavor oneself.  

Bowing is not affiliated with religion, it is a form of communication, compared to the shaking of hands.  It can be a form of greeting and respect.  Bowing is done with intense feeling of humility, respect, strength, politeness, and thankfulness.
​There are many times and reasons for karate-ka to perform a rei.  The first is as you enter the dojo, and the last is when you leave the dojo.  When you rei as you enter the dojo, you are showing respect and honor for karate and the place you train, as well as everyone in your club.  As you leave the dojo, you rei as a symbol of thanksgiving, showing gratitude toward your sensei and other karate-ka for teaching you and for the training experience.  Bowing also occurs when you greet fellow karate-ka, you bow at the beginning and end of class, at the beginning and end of kata and kumite, and when entering and leaving the ring during a tournament.  

When bowing to Shomen, it is to show respect for those who have come before you.  Bowing to other karate-ka in the dojo is expressed to show thanks to who you are training with and that you show no harmful intentions towards them.   

This bow is done while kneeling.  When kneeling, the left leg goes down first, with the toes tucked under.  Then the right leg goes down keeping the toes tucked under.  As you settle down into seiza position either flatten both feet on the floor, or cross the big toes only.  Your knees should be close together yet touch the knees of the people on either side of you.  Your hands should rest on your upper thighs.  As you bow to the floor, both hands touch the floor, fingers together like in shuto position, with index fingers touching.  Bow at the waist, touching your head to your hands.  This is done slowly and for several seconds.  When standing, bring the right knee up first, then push back toward the left leg and stand up with heels together in shizen-tai position.  If one has a disability or injury and is unable to kneel in seiza, they may stand behind the kneeling line and do a standing bow.  


This bow is done while standing.  The body begins in shizen-tai.  Heels together, toes pointing out at a 45 degree angle, hands with fingers together like in shuto position at your sides, spine posture is tall and straight, and eyes gazing straight ahead.  Bow from the waist, while looking down in front of you.  Since bowing is a sign of respect and trust, it is disrespectful to maintain eye contact with an opponent or looking up while bowing.  The bow itself should be deep and long, lasting a couple seconds.  

When bowing to other karate-ka, the sensei, a partner, or an opponent, "OSS" is said simultaneously with the bow.  The meaning is formed from two Japanese characters.  The first means to push or control.  The second means to endure or suffer.  OSS has many different meanings such as:  I understand, thank you, please, yes, I'm sorry, and as a greeting.  OSS is an expression of respect, confidence, and sympathy.  
Always bow at the side of the dojo or ring before entering and leaving.  Shoes are not to be worn in the dojo.  Either leave shoes outside the dojo or in the back away from the training area.  Always arrive before the sensei and call attention when the sensei arrives so everyone will bow.  Line up quickly and quietly in order of rank with senior students on the right when facing Shomen.  
Be on time and come to training with a teachable spirit, your mind and body ready.  Always pay attention to the instructor and address him/her as sensei.  Senior students are addressed as sempai by the junior students who are the kohai.  When listening to the sensei, never place your hands on your hips or fold your arms across the chest.  Do not talk during class unless you're asking a question, but always raise your hand.  If you don't understand something, ask.  If additional clarity is needed, ask after class.  Do not have conversations during training, only if you are discussing a technique with a partner, but even then use minumal words.  During training, respond quickly to instruction and never argue with your sensei, or attempt to correct a senior student, always ask for clarity in an appropriate manner.  If you are told to sit, first kneel in seiza, then bow, and sit cross legged.  Never sit with legs straight and feet bottoms facing Shomen.  When partner training, always bow before and after.  Give your parter your best effort, help each other.  Make sure not to walk between partners during kumite training.  If you must leave training early or have medical limitations inform the sensei.  During exams, do not lean against walls or talk.  It is the senior student's responsibility to teach lower ranks proper etiquette.  Always train hard with enthusiasm and spirit!
​​The traditional karate uniform is called a gi.  The gi is white and the jacket is tied under to the right and over to the left.  An ISKF patch is worn on the left chest area.  The jacket should be loose fitting with the sleeves stopping at the forearm, between the wrist and elbow.  The length of the jacket should cover the buttocks or at least mid-way down.  The pants should hang mid-shin/calf level, between the ankle and knee.  Neither the arms or legs should be rolled up due to safety reasons of accidently getting caught in an opponent's gi.  A plain white sports bra or T-shirt should be worn under the gi.  The belt should be tied tightly and neatly around the waist twice with a sqare knot.  Your gi should be cleaned regularly and free of stains or odors.  If your gi becomes disarranged during training, turn away from Shomen, the sensei, and youir partner to adjust it.  
Family members and friends are welcome and encouraged to watch and support their students.  Spectators must also be respectful of the training.  They shouldn't talk or make noises to hinder the training.  They should never interrupt the sensei or attempt to discipline their child during training.  Flash photography and lighted video cameras are not permitted due to safety reasons.  Flashes and lights can blind competitors and examinees during their matches.  
​​Safety is important for yourself and your partners.  Do not wear jewelry.  If you cannot remove a ring or other article, you may tape it.  Fingernails and toenails should be short and clean.  No metal or sharp hair accessories should be worn.  Hair must be kept up.  The karate-ka shall always be clean, bathing regulary, and free of offensive odors.