Reaching black belt level is not the aim of karate. Indeed, it is only the beginning of your journey in karate, since it represents the mastering of the basic techniques. Humility - understanding that one is never finished with learning is one of the important aspects of Shotokan karate.
We practice KATA (forms, or prearranged moves): these are traditional sequences of techniques against several virtual enemies.
We practice KUMITE (sparring): practicing GO NO SEN (block and counterattack), or MIRIKI ( shift out of range of the attack and counter), SEN NO SEN (attack when your enemy has committed to an attack mentally, but not physically, i.e., you felt their intention to attack). We also practice DEAI (utilizing an opponent's opening created by his/her intention to attack).
1. Bow when entering and when leaving the dojo (training room).
2. Bow to your training partner before you begin a sequence of exercises and when changing partners.
3. If you are late to class, please kneel at the dojo's entrance until you receive the instructor's acknowlegment, at which time you should bow to the instructor and join the class.
4. Karate ends with courtesy also. We show this by ending the training as follows. We line up shoulder to shoulder in order of rank from right to left. The senior student announces "shomen ni rei": bow to the front. Then the senior student announces "sensei ni rei": bow to the instructor. While bowing, all students say: "domo arigato gozaimashita": thank you very much. Finally, the senior student announces "otagai ni rei": bow to each other.
The words "hai" (yes) and "ous" (I acknowlege) are often used to acknowlege that you heard what the instructor said. The word "ous" (pronounced "oss") is also used when greeting the instructor and other karateka while bowing.