Like them or not, these rules are out there. Not every gym abides by all of them, but you may find traces of at least one of these rules in your academy.
- Don’t ask a higher belt to roll
This is one rule that a lot of black belts like to use to tease lower belts. Most black belts that I’ve seen don’t actually care if a lower belt asks them to roll, many will encourage it. But if you’re at an old school academy, you will definitely hear stuff like this. It’s meant to be a sign of respect, indicating that you can’t go out and just challenge a black belt. This rule does have some practical applications, such as if eager white belts continually ask a black belt to roll but that black belt really needs to train with more advanced people. So, the rule makes it easy for the black belt to just choose the training partners he needs without constantly brushing off white and blue belts. If you are an instructor, then you do have a responsibility to roll with the lower belts since you are their teacher.
- Line up for bow-in at the beginning and end of every class
Most of these rules are rooted in judo, and in judo, the bow-in is very important. Students are lined up by belt rank and your toes must be perfectly in line with the mat that everyone is standing on. Your gis and belts must be perfectly tied and folded, and you have to stand with perfect posture. There is no talking in the line and once your instructor drops to his knees, everyone else follows by belt rank - then you bow out...