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Martial Arts Etiquette: It's Important to Be On Time


Why is it important to show up for class on time? Not only does it give you time to prepare for class, but it is bad etiquette to be late.

What is Martial Arts Etiquette?

Martial Arts etiquette are the traditional rules that help us get the most out of our training. Training teaches us to be respectful, courteous, and to do things with honor. Being late for class violates all 3 of these principles.


Being late for class is disrespectful in several ways.

  1. First being late is disrespectful to your Insructor, your Taekwondo and your fellow students. Your lateness tells them that you do not care about their training and their time. When you come late you disrupt class and the flow of the lesson.

  2. Second, being late is disrespectful to yourself. This shows that you do not really care about your training and you do not take it seriously.

  3. Third, being late is disrespectful to your school. Part of every student’s job is to promote the school and the best way to do that is by your behavior. It does not set a good example for students or potential students for you to come in late. It gives the school a bad reputation.


Courtesy is about politeness and about understanding other people’s time and making things easy for them. Your Instructor has put together a lesson plan and that takes place over a block of time, namely the length of the class. If you show up late, you are out of sync with the lesson plan and the rest of the class. You can work off to the side and get warmed up, but you have missed the essential parts of the warm up that are specifically done for a particular purpose that will aid in the upcoming lesson.

Most people do not understand that the warm-up is not just any exercises that are just thrown together to get the body warm. Many times there are discussions between Instructor and the senior student running the warm up, prior to class, about what exercises should be covered in the warm up to ensure the students are properly stretched and warmed up for the upcoming lesson of the class. There is a different type of warm up for a grappling lesson versus a stand-up lesson.

In addition, by being late you take yourself out of the brotherhood of training. You are taking this journey together with your brothers and sisters, there is a camaraderie. You miss out on this when you do it on your own.

Do Things with Honor

A big part of your training should be to make YOU a better person. You should be more focused, more disciplined, more organized, and ready for success in every aspect of your life. Honor is, basically, a measure of your integrity.

It is who you are as a person. Are you trustworthy? Are you someone that people can count on? Your honor speaks to all of this.

When you show up late for class, you are telling us who you are and, sorry, but no, you are not someone who can be counted on. That is the sad truth of it. Part of becoming a more advanced martial artist is to get control over these areas in your life. There needs to be spiritual growth within you as you progress and mature in the martial arts. You should get to the point where you do not want anything to sully your reputation or honor and you would never dream of being late.

Your Martial Arts training is a journey. Take it seriously. Get organized. Plan for your training regimen. Make sure you are properly hydrated, you have given your body sufficient fuel and you are on time. Show your Instructor that you are ready to train right now. If you do this your Martial Arts training will be that much more enjoyable and beneficial.

See you in class! Master Bartley

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