Opening and Closing Ceremony

To be performed at the beginning and ending of every class.

Soke Sato would like to standardise the way that all members of Sato Ha Shito Ryu Kokusai Rengo start and end each class. The ceremony is shown in the YouTube video linked below.

The first version is the standard way to perform the ceremony – with everybody kneeling (seiza). For members with physical issues such as knee problems, the ceremony can be performed while standing, as shown in the last part of the video.

The ceremony is as follows:

  • Everybody lines up by rank. The chief instructor faces the lines and the senior black belts line up on the left hand side of the chief instructor. (Which members are in the senior black belt line will depend on the situation and class.)
  • On command, everybody kneels down (seiza)
  • On command everybody closes their eyes and meditates for a few minutes (mokuso)
  • End of meditation (mokuso yame)
  • On command, face front (shomen)
  • Bow to the front (shomen ni rei)
  • Everybody returns to original kneeling (standing) position and the head of the line-up shouts out the five rules. Everybody repeats the five rules after each sentence.

The five rules in English are:

  1. Be moderate and courteous
  2. Be righteous and have a strong sense of justice
  3. Be modest in your words and actions
  4. Respect others
  5. Karate do is a lifetime study

(These are the rules in English. You can translate them and use them in your own language.)

  • After the five rules, the person at the head of the main line says: “Bow to sensei” (sensei ni rei)
  • Then he/she will say: “Face sempai” and “Bow to the sempai” (sempai ni rei)
  • Next, everybody will face the front again and the command is “Bow to each other” (otagai ni rei)
  • Finally, everybody stands in turn starting with the chief instructor

When bowing at the beginning of class, we can say in Japanese – onegai shimasu (English – please). During the ending ceremony, we can say in Japanese – arigatou gozaimashita (English – thank you).

Link to the video

(Thanks to Tony Au for creating the video.)