The Importance of Cleaning the Dojang
by Anthony Segura - 3rd Degree Black Belt

Group demo at the International Festival near the Alley Theater in downtown Houston in 1989.
   Cleaning the Dojang? How can cleaning the Dojang, something that is easily taken for granted, be an essential part of my martial arts training? In modern American culture, cleaning is something that we have to do; something we would rather pay someone else to do. It is usually done for a variety of reasons, i.e. guests coming over, that time of the week or something we do for exercise. And we rarely feel the impulse to clean a place that we don't live in - heck, we have a hard enough time just trying to clean our own home.

In traditional martial arts training the Dojang is treated as a revered location. In fact, in many cultures one must first spend several months just cleaning the Dojang before being allowed to train. The reason for this exercise is to teach the student patience as well as provide an appreciation for the school in which they train. A neat appearance is important to give a good impression of our Chayon -Ryu system. Looking at this from a different perspective, a person who visits our Dojang and finds it dirty and unkempt will associate that with the quality of the students and instruction and may decide not to join.

Now, how can cleaning the Dojang be an essential part of my training? There are few people who point out the similarities when discussing the relationship, or connection, between training in the Dojang and cleaning the Dojang. A properly cleaned Dojang is one in which the slightest detail has not escaped the awareness of the student who is training there. Thus, cleaning teaches us how to pay attention to detail. Attention to detail is very important in Chayon-Ryu training How can you learn to master a technique or form if you lack the ability to recognize and pay attention to detail?

The Dojang is a place of learning. Students are united in mutual friendship in an effort to improve oneself and others. The Dojang is where individuals come, not only to learn how to defend themselves physically, but mentally as well. How can you effectively and efficiently train when the Dojang is dirty? Students should, without having to be asked, help keep the Dojang clean. Students are responsible for cleaning the Dojang before and after every class. A clipboard is posted by the sign-in sheets with a list of what should be done. Pick something to clean - how much easier can it get? Every student should take part in these activities at least once per week.

Lastly, leaving the Dojang ready for those who practice after you is a sign of respect and humility for your fellow students. If you are one who doesn't care to clean the Dojang, then you are someone who doesn't care for or respect the Chayon-Ryu system in its entirety. "Respecting others" is one of the phrases spoken in our Dojang Hun Cleaning the Dojang should never be taken for granted if we truly want to learn what respect and mastery means