School spirit
Written by Rachel

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How to behave

'School spirit' is all about making your class a pleasant place to be. Unlike the Code of Conduct, these are not rules set in stone. They are more like tips & pointers, guidelines.
Not everyone knows how to behave in an Asian martial arts class.
Here are some considerations:

  1. Etiquette

  2. Helping out

  3. Appropriateness (towards Sifu Waller)

  4. Fees

  5. Feedback, reviews & suggestions

  6. Attendance & enthusiasm

  7. Grading

  8. Your school

  9. Visiting the instructor's home

  10. Public


f you want to know a whole lot more about martial arts etiquette, Dave Lowry's In the Dojo is a good starting place.
Keep in mind that Chinese internal arts customs may differ from those suggested by Dave Lowry.
A martial arts class is a potentially dangerous place to be, but good manners and etiquette ensure that people behave themselves. Mutual respect is the key.

Helping out

Some students
help out because they want to. Others help out because they are asked. Being involved in the running of the class is a good way to show school spirit.
Ways to help:

  1. Prepare the room for class

  2. Greet new students

  3. Chat with new students during class break times

  4. Promote the class on-line

  5. Put up flyers

  6. Tell people about class

  7. Putting a review on Facebook, Google or other websites

  8. Participate in class videos

  9. Give feedback when asked for it

Occasionally Sifu Waller will ask for help in finding a new venue. This is a major opportunity to really help the class.


Pay your fees punctually. If you need to be reminded or prompted, this
is an unpleasant and embarrassing situation.

Feedback, reviews & suggestions

Positive, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Negative feedback should be cautiously worded. Sifu Waller tends to really like feedback and is keen to try out new approaches.
Suggestions are fine if Sifu Waller has asked for them or you really feel that it will help the class or make the teacher's life easier.
The main danger with suggestions is that the student invariably lacks the complete picture and is making assumptions from a limited perspective.

You will see karate students who are learning tai chi, for instance, coming from a long background in karate. Unable to see the new art through anything but the filter of their karate experience, they come up with a weird hybrid. They have not learned how to see beyond their past experience and open up to a new one.

(Dave Lowry)

Attendance & enthusiasm

Attending class is an easy way to show school spirit. The more people in the hall having fun, the better the atmosphere.
Nothing is worse than workshops attended by 2 people or cancelled due to lack of interest. How shameful. Working diligently through your grade shows enthusiasm. 


If you are seeking assessment, then arrive early to class. Do not expect charity. Assignments need to be completed and handed in, challenges undertaken and skills memorised.
Should you forget a set of exercises, be prepared to work on it further until the problem has been rectified to Sifu Waller's satisfaction.

Your school

You get out of class what you put into it. If you treat class as a service industry and Sifu Waller as your personal trainer/sports
coach, you are just not getting it.
The more effort and interest you put into the school and the syllabus, the more rewarding the experience will be for you.


When it is Start of the Training Year or Chinese New Year the celebration usually takes place in public. It is important to remember your relationship with your instructor when attending.
You may be friends with Sifu Waller but remember that he is not your work colleague or mate. You should behave accordingly.
Getting drunk or acting like a fool are not acceptable at a class event. Chat with your class mates, have some food and drink, relax and enjoy yourself... but remember where you are

school database

Page created 21 October 2007
Last updated 5 November 2016