Dojo (guan): rules, respect and etiquette


All students who want to participate in a live 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s course are required to comply with the rules described in this article.

The context

  • The Kung Fu and the family – In traditional Chinese culture, the group of people who train together is equivalent to a family; the father (Shi Fu, beyond the age of the registry) is the master, the grandfather (Shi Ye) is the master of the master, the brothers (Shi Xiong Di) are the students
  • Guan and teaching – The guan (the place of training, whatever / wherever it is, even temporary) is a place of discipline, concentration and preparation (read The 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s way); to be able to access it, we need trust in the teacher (freely chosen), respect of the partners and the training materials / area
  • The deeper learning – Kung Fu requires an unusual concentration level; if the mind is elsewhere, one’s own practice and that of the training partners are damaged; for example, during a lesson it is wrong to ask “superfluous” questions to the teacher; in the Chinese culture, true learning takes place due to the understanding gained in the subsequent part of the training (rather than only with explanation); in Kung Fu it is necessary not only to pay attention to what is said in a direct way but also to what is transmitted “between the lines”, in an indirect way (read The true heart of 6DKF)
  • The instructor and the respect – Experience is not something that can be bought (read Measure ourselves with errors); the teacher is not the one who has the most colorful belt, the teacher is who has been wrong so many times that he has found a correct way; in our course, who is awarded with the title of Master, has spent at least 10.000 hours training hard, sacrificing (every day) a large part of their time at the expense of loved people, possibility of earning (etc.); Kung Fu is neither a job nor a hobby, nor a sport since it comes to extensively transcend passion to embrace self-discipline

Rules of ethical behavior

  • Avoid violence – Each student is forbidden to use the martial skills acquired to practice violence against anyone (read The 6DKF’s diagram about the use of violence); the only case in which the access to a (proportional) physical reaction is granted is that of self-defense (read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method); the teachings given by the instructor have the purpose to know oneself, to grow and therefore not to be applied for negative purposes (read Revenge and resentment, knives taken from the blade side)
  • Humility, availability and honesty – The student relies on the teacher to be guided to a complete life change; the student enters the guan to learn and not to exalt his ego; it is necessary to maintain a respectful behavior towards the instructor, the other students and the place of training; since the most ancient times, learning of Kung Fu presupposes an attitude of humility, honesty and availability more than complete; the more the practitioner’s behavior is right, the more the teacher offers learning possibilities
  • The training partners – Who train with us is a person to be respected, helped (not favored) and under no circumstances with which to compete; we train in group to progress faster and never to impose ourselves on the others; there are no enemies within the guan (the greeting before each exercise / sparring session is the demonstration of this principle); no form of rivalry is tolerated; order, concentration, courtesy and decency are principles that must reign supreme (before and after the practice)
  • Changing mental setting – The ones described in this document are rules that must be integrated into what the instructor communicates from time to time during the lessons; accessing the guan is a privilege reserved only for those who want to understand and study themselves, the goal is to improve both physically and mentally; to do this, it is vitally important to abandon all the (bad) conventions and habits of everyday life

Rules of practical behavior

  • Punctuality – When we go to the guan it is good to arrive a few minutes before the beginning of the lesson (without disturbing the teacher or who has already arrived); if we arrive late (1-2 times a year can happen) we wait outside the training area for the teacher’s permission to access the lesson; in case we have to leave before the end of the session of practice (for serious reasons) it is mandatory to inform the instructor the day before
  • Hygiene – Scrupulous personal hygiene must be observed; nails must be short, feet / underarms washed, no bouncing hair (if you do not want to cut them, you have to tie them firmly); avoid perfumes and opt for neutral deodorants only
  • What to bring – It is essential to take a training bag containing the uniform, clean slippers, a bottle of natural mineral water, a clean towel, a secondary T-Shirt and the training equipment (normally, most of these elements, can be purchased in an official version upon request to the instructor)
  • Safety – Let’s do not mess around / play during practice sessions, neither with the fighting techniques nor with the training tools / weapons; before starting let’s remove chains, watches, bracelets, earrings and all kinds of jewels / ornaments; on the body must remain only undergarments, uniform and eventual soft hair clips; glasses are generally to be removed (depending on the gap of sight), lenses are permitted; cheeses or candies are not chewed; nothing can be eaten until one hour before the beginning of the practice; objects inside the guan (weapons, furnishing elements, etc.) must not be touched without the consent of the instructor; the guan is a sacral place, not our own home (for example you cannot enter private areas without the instructor’s consent)
  • The greeting – Whenever we enter or leave the guan, it is fundamental to make a greeting; this is a way of declaring respect to the art, the instructor and the other students (it is comparable to the handshake or the military salute); before the lesson begins and at its end the greeting is made; the student salutes before the teacher and keeps it until the teacher finishes his; at the end of the practice we thank with applause the instructor for the time allowed, ourselves for the discipline and our partners for the collaboration
  • Education – Never forget courtesy and respect (in relation to this, the greeting is the first and most obvious expression); inside the guan the teacher has to be called Shi Fu (it is not very polite to call the teacher by name or using other colloquial expressions, this in respect of Kung Fu and of his history); during practice we abstain from speaking loudly, discussing or distracting in any way; outside the context of specific exercises no objects are thrown into the training area, but they are moved with care and composure; before and during practice all multimedia devices must be turned off (smartphones, etc.), unless we have explicitly the instructor’s permission (in serious cases); if we must leave the guan during the lesson (even temporarily), let’s approach the instructor and ask for permission; it is allowed to undress and change our clothes only within the dedicated area
  • The beginning of the lesson – After wearing the uniform we must ask permission to access the training area (through the gesture of two hands greeting combined with a slight bow of the head) and wait for the beginning of the lesson by preparing the mind through silence and meditation; students must form a line respecting the hierarchy of degrees, in doing this they must place themselves in front of the teacher in a position of rest (without speaking); the most advanced student stay at the top of the row (from the right) and then (in order of level) the others must be disposed at an equal distance (as for any other exercise)
  • Attention – We must pay the utmost attention to what the instructor says or explains, trying to catch every nuance or detail; each phase of the practice is punctuated by the start and the end command of the instructor (in particular stop, it means stopping immediately and paying attention, whatever are we doing); when the instructor calls, we have to immediately stop the exercise and approach quickly (keeping the rest of the students and / or the teacher waiting, means lack of respect towards them)
  • Communication – Within each practice session, questions must be asked after the deadline and warnings must be made before (problems, special needs, etc.); in no cases it is allowed to interrupt the practice (in case of real need, you have to raise our hand and silently wait for the instructor’s attention); last but not list (even it should be obvious) the teacher is the teacher, the student is the student, if no specific questions are asked to you, it is not polite to try to invert these roles (both for you, both for your training partners)
  • Duration and cost of practice sessions – It is not a good idea to enter in price / time discussions with the teacher; the lesson has a duration equal to or higher than the one indicated during registration, everything that (sometimes) the instructor decides to offer besides is a present and is not due; payments must always be done before starting (whether they are monthly, single or otherwise) because they go to reward the time offered (in advance) by the instructor and not only what he teaches (it does not matter whether we decide to leave before); it is also not very constructive to follow a martial path collecting debts
  • The equipment – There is a basic equipment necessary for an effective practice and one optional, the first is fundamental (after the first lessons or for example in a seminar), the second is simply recommended; generally it is not allowed to introduce equipment or uniforms not explicitly requested or purchased externally to the course; the primary reason is that, even if minimally, this is part of the sustenance of the course and the instructor, secondly to ensure uniformity of training quality between the participants (training tools or clothing out of the correct parameters are detrimental in terms of learning), last (but not list) to prevent students from running into unsuitable materials, of too low quality, with different purposes or (worse) dangerous; in most cases, the equipment provided by the teacher has already deeply tested (with the consequent wastes of in terms of wrong materials, wrong purchases, etc.)
  • The uniform – The uniform is and will be an integral part of the testimony of our training and of our labor for the years to come; it is when the teacher supplies the uniform that begins the real martial path; wearing a specific dress for practice (as well as facilitating the execution) helps to create a line of separation between the external world and profound practice, to create a sense of connection between the practitioners and the school itself; the clothing must be worn correctly and washed periodically (for those who regularly practice the purchase of a double uniform is strongly recommended); all the scuffing and tearing must be repaired as soon as possible
  • Attending lessons – To the non-practitioners it is allowed to attend one or two lessons or for the first few times if you bring a minor child (less than 14 generally); it is important to underline that viewing the lessons is equivalent to taking part in them, the teacher’s permission is required as for the absolute silence, respect for schedules and regulations; anyone who does not want to accept this regulation is not allowed to attend the classes

Even if some of these parameters may appear “strange” to the novices, they are the base of the base of what ancient masters demanded from their adherents. This set of rules mainly serves to guarantee a correct, positive and continuous course of the lessons.

In-depth articles


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  • What is the most important rule in your opinion?

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