Policies, Procedures and Dojang Etiquette


Instructors reserve the right to set specific requirements on attendance. The general practice is that consistent training is required for testing. If the instructor feels that the student has not met the minimum time required for testing, or the student has not exhibited a readiness to test, the instructor may prohibit the student from testing. Instructors do try to facilitate opportunities to make up classes. Three months is the minimum standard time for testing for each belt from 10th gup through 3rd gup, six months for 2nd gup and a year of consistent training is required upon passing one’s 1st gup before they can test for black belt (1st dan).

Entering Class

Arrive at the dojang promptly. Use the bathroom and drink water before class begins so as not to disturb class. Timeliness enables the student to make a smooth transition from street life into the dojang mentality.

Entering Class Late

If you come to class late and the class has begun, you must ask for permission before entering. Standing at attention beside the instruction area until the instructor acknowledges you, then bowing, the student asks, "permission to enter class late, sir, ma'am, sun bay nim, or sah bu nim." Once the instructor acknowledges the request in the affirmative, the student may take the junior-most position (regardless of his/her normal place) until the teacher instructs otherwise.

Leaving Class Early

If you must leave class early, please inform the instructor prior to the beginning of class. When the time comes, ask formal permission to leave, and your instructor will bow you off the training area.


Everyone is expected to have proper etiquette during any TSD function (in the gym or elsewhere). This includes showing respect to all people. Some things you may not be aware of include:

  1. Acknowledging seniors with proper titles (sah bu nim for heads of schools who are 4th degree black belts or above; ko dan jah for masters who are not the heads of schools; sun bay nim for Dan holders below 4th Dan) is expected at all times so become familiar with these terms. When unsure of the correct title the student should use the terms "sir" or "ma’am;"
  2. It is also proper etiquette to salute any dan holder the first and last time you see them each day with a bow (it is proper etiquette for a dan holder to return that bow if they are not involved with something);
  3. Everyone should salute the flag, and bow when entering and leaving the instruction area;
  4. The senior student’s place is at the far right of the floor facing the flags and the junior students are always to their left; (5.) At the end of each instruction period, the student should thank the instructor for teaching them with the Korean phrase "kum sah hap ni da" which means, "thank you." Ask your instructor if you are uncertain about these or have other questions regarding etiquette. (See "Training etiquette" below.)


It is required that you wear your karate uniform to each class (pants, jacket, and belt) unless otherwise instructed. Your uniform should be in presentable condition (free from excessive strings or wrinkles, bold stains, tears, or in an otherwise ragged condition). You may wear only a plain white T-shirt or tank top under your jacket. Females are required to wear one of these under their jacket at all times. When you don your jacket, the left flap covers the right. Patches are on the left side of the uniform. If your belt has a stripe, it also hangs to the left. The wearing of jewelry, other than medical alert bracelets and wedding bands is strictly prohibited for the safety of the student.

Training Etiquette

When training stay focused, leave the outside world outside. If you are working with a partner, keep in mind that they are not your enemy, you are to learn from each other. It should be a pleasure to kick/throw/punch your partner and be kicked/thrown/punched by your partner. This means that everyone should exhibit self-control when practicing, making light contact to the body, and no contact to the head. You are not fighting your partner, you are working together, on a team and your goal is learning and growth. Work together to succeed. Keep the ability and knowledge level of your partner in mind as you practice together. This will aid in avoiding injuries.

  • Remember, instruction from the teachers are not criticism and are intended to help you improve.
  • When changing partners or moving on to a new area of instruction acknowledge your old and new partner with a bow.
  • If you have a question, please wait until the instructor comes to you. Do not call out to them since this may be distracting to those around you and may hinder the instructor from helping someone else. After the instructor has satisfactorily answered your question, bow and thank them with a kum sah hap ni dah.
  • If the instructor claps his hands, stop what you are doing and listen for further instructions.
  • If the instructor calls upon you to assist in demonstration, come to attention, bow to them after you approach them, and wait in a choon bee stance until they direct you otherwise. When they have finished the demonstration, bow again before returning to your position/practice.
  • Talking has some merit but, with the limited time for practice, try to keep conversation, even for instructional purposes, to a minimum. If your partner has trouble understanding a concept, the best way for you to help them and yourself is by demonstrating it. This way you get more practice, they see the technique, and there is no distracting murmur.
  • When observing class, spectators should remain quiet out of respect for the instructor and so as not to distract the students.
  • At the end of class, the students will return to their places in the line up for bowing out according to seniority: seniors to the right, juniors to the left.
  • At the end of the bow out, as the class bows to the instructor and to the senior student(s) they should acknowledge him/her with an enthusiastic kum sah hap ni dah, followed up with an exuberant "Tang Soo!" At the end of bowing the instructor will dismiss the class.
  • It is a courtesy for the students to take a look around the Dojang to see if there is anything that needs to be cleaned up (i.e. take out trash, sweep/vacuum floors, pick up targets, gloves or trash and put them in the appropriate spot, etc.)

Make-up Classes

Each instructor endeavors to allow make-up classes according to his/her own schedule and availability. Generally speaking, any student may make up classes at any of the Pinnacle schools during normal operating hours in accordance with the students’ level of training. (See schedules) Do not hesitate to talk with your instructor regarding making up missed classes.

Cancellation Policy

Any classes that fall on a holiday, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. will be cancelled and need not be made up. All cancellations will be posted at the main Dojang bulletin board, and will be announced by instructors during classes the weeks prior to the scheduled cancellation. Cancellations due to inclement weather will be at the instructor’s discretion and need not be made up. Please call the respective gyms about one hour before the class is scheduled to begin and listen to the recording to see if a cancellation is in effect. Remember, always use your best judgment when inclement weather strikes…safety first!!

Policies and Dojang Etiquette - Quick Reference Chart - Hyung: Origin and Meaning
Flags and Insignia - Tang Soo Do Terminology - Christianity and Martial Arts

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Revised 7/18/16