From the very beginning of my training all the way to the current days I can remember sweeping, dusting, mopping and cleaning the dojo. It was ingrained into Karate as much as any punch, kick or Kata are. The tradition of Soji, cleaning the dojo, is very important in terms of proper character development.
In the years I have been teaching I have actually had adult students refuse to clean because they don’t feel they need to. I have had parents of kids complain because they don’t think their child should have to. Both the adults and the parents are very wrong in this matter. The parents that complain want us to teach their kids to keep their rooms clean and take pride in what they do yet we can’t have them clean the dojo? What better lesson to teach those than to clean the dojo! The adults that rush out trying to avoid it get mad when they are told it is their turn to clean so they do a crappy job just to get it done yet they are in Karate to learn patience, discipline and respect…all three traits thrown to the wind when they have to clean.
Cleaning the dojo is every student’s responsibility.
I always say:
Clean the dojo, clean youself.
Clean the dojo, have a clean mind.
If your dojo is clean, your home and office should be clean too.
If you are too good to clean, then you are too good for our dojo.
The Sensei should lead by example. If he does not help clean the dojo, he is missing his own training.
If you clean the dojo but do not help clean at home, you should quit Karate.
They way you are in the dojo should reflect the way you are outside the dojo.
Cleanliness should also apply to your gi and body.
Your fingernails and toenails should also be clean and neatly trimmed. Jewelry should not be worn in the dojo.