Proper protocol for dying on the mat

by Ivan Vasilev

The corpse should be facing O sensei, or in other words, her head should be pointing towards the kamiza. Needless to say, a corpse shouldn't remain in the dojo for too long, but let be realistic: who'll give up her practice just to deal with a dead!? So one generally deals with possible corpses on the mat after the practice is over. But again, corpses or those soon to be corpses should be lying close to the door, heads pointing to O sensei, in a straigh, horizontal position. As a general rule, feet, ass and back should never be toward the kamiza, dead or alive!

Por ejemplo:

  1. When you bow to your partner in a test, don't turn your butt to the kamiza (or sensei) and bow. Even if your partner (or sensei) is directly in front of the kamiza, always put a bit of an agle, so you don't go ass-first to O sensei (or sensei). However, when Sensei bows in the beginning of the class to the class, it's ok for her to have the kamiza at her back.
  2. When you sit down to receive instruction, never sit with your back to O sensei. Leave a bit of space between you and the kamiza so if anyone is looking or bowing to O sensei, she doesn't look or bow to you directly.
  3. When you sit down, in front of the kamiza, never stretch your legs so that they point towards the kamiza. Sit in seiza or cross-legged.
  4. When stretching, you can point your feet towards the kamiza, but when you stretch your back, don't turn your back towards it.
  5. After a test/demonstration, don't simply turn your back to the sensei or O sensei and walk off. Walk standing up, backwards, remaining with your face towards both the kamiza and the sensei. ...And do it quickly! I'm not sure though what's the proper protocol to do it if you're on your knees. Some people say that one NEVER does shikko backwards.
  6. Don't ever walk between Sensei and the kamiza. Since Sensei would almost always be facing the class, doing so will put you at her back