Student Handbook

FIRST AND FOREMOST: Sensei DARIAN STOKES is the head Sensei of Bushido Judo School. He is the final say in any call regarding this dojo. Any descrepancies can be taken up with him.

Welcome To the Exciting World of Martial Arts!

Thank you for joining our dojo. We’re proud to have you as a student and look forward to working with you for many years to come as you progress to your black belt and beyond.

This handbook is designed to help orientate you with the traditions of the martial arts and rules that are specific to our dojo. Of course, you may always call or speak to any of our instructors and they will be happy to help you get the most out of your training with us.

Our Instructors

Rather than tell you about our championships and black belt rankings, we prefer to focus on our students. Certainly, we’re proud of our instructor’s accomplishments.

But, we’re more proud of the achievements of our students. Our instructors understand that the student’s individual progress is the most important focus of their attention. That’s why our instructors continue to be students themselves. They take classes, attend seminars and continually work to improve their ability to help our students reach their goals.

Our Commitment to You

Instructor education helps our instructors stay up-to-date on the most important teaching issues such as teaching by age groups, safety in the classroom and student motivation.

Our instructors continue to upgrade their teaching and leadership skills to make your experience in class the best it can be.

Everything we do at Bushido Judo School is based upon ideas of respect and courtesy. All Black Belts and adults are addressed with respect. Responses of  “yeah,” or “no” are not encouraged. “Yes sir” or “no ma’am’ are preferred. Response to the Head Sensei is “Hai Sensei or Yes Sensei”.   We sincerely hope this conduct will carry outside of the dojo and have a positive effect on our community.

Disrespectful conduct by students can result in suspension or expulsion from the dojo. Misuse of martial arts techniques in an intimidating or aggressive manner outside of the dojo can also result in suspension or expulsion from the school. Cigarette smokers are kindly requested not to smoke while in uniform or waiting for class. All smokers are asked to smoke away from the dojo.

Vacations or Extended Absences

If you will be missing class for vacation or illness for any period of time, please notify the Head Instructor.

Birthday Parties

Bushido is available for birthday parties on Friday’s Saturdays and Sundays. If you would like information and prices on parties, please contact Sensei Darian Stokes at 336-270-0538 or by using the Contact Us form. (Click here for details on our Bushido Birthday Bash)

Private Lessons

Private lessons can be scheduled upon the availability of the instructor for 45.00 per hour

Special Events

Don’t miss our exciting events. Additionally throughout the year we will host a variety of seminars, weekend retreats and picnics, tournaments, along with fundraisers. Your support and participation in these events is important so be sure to stay up to date with them.

Bushido Rules of Etiquette

Martial Arts History can be traced perhaps as far as 5,000 years. Because of this long tradition, there are many rules of conduct and standards of etiquette of the students of Bushido. These are necessary for everyone’s safety, for maintaining an atmosphere optimal for training and to protect the rights of each student.


  1. The Japanese refer to the training hall as the “dojo” (doh-joe). Dojo means more than merely a place for training; it means a place where one seeks to perfect their character, and to master their body, mind, and spirit. The dojo is considered a very special place and is treated with respect. It is the Place of Enlightenment.
  2. Uniforms must be kept clean and fresh. No shoes are to be worn on the workout floor without permission. Shoes, bags and clothing are placed out of the way. A true martial artist is always precise. They keep their things neat, clean and organized as they will their minds and their lives.
  3. As a sign of their seriousness and dedication, students bow towards the workout area when coming onto or stepping off of the training area. It is also a martial arts custom for students to bow and offer a greeting of “osu” to the senior instructor present when greeting. During training, students use the term “Hai Sensei” (yes) when asked a question or “No Sensei”
  4. Students must always address the senior instructor with proper respect. The “Head Instructor” will be referred to as “Sensei”. All other black belts should be addressed as “Sensei (first or last name).”
  5. Family members and friends are invited to watch class however, it is important that small children and spectators are contained and quiet during class. Also, only students are permitted on the training floor. Please do not enter or cross the training floor.
  6. Family members are encouraged to support their children in class by applauding good efforts and cheering at the end of class. However, we do not permit coaching from anyone other than the instructors. All sideline talking should be kept to a whisper during class. All talking should cease while Sensei is talking.
  7. Whenever instructed to line-up, students hurry into place quietly. Lines are straight and by rank. The person to the right (the most senior member) will be the point on which everyone lines up. It is their duty to see that they are positioned properly and that the line is straight and orderly. When lining up, Seniors line up ahead of Juniors (ages 16 and under) of the same rank. Then Juniors line up according to rank below Seniors.
  8. There is no Unnecessary talking when a class is in session, even if you are not in class. Family members are encouraged to support their children in class by applauding good efforts and cheering lightly during class. However, we do not permit coaching from anyone other than the instructors
  9. Bushido is one of the most respected schools. As such, we look for our students to help keep the school clean and free of clutter. Each school has a lost and found and we will hold clothing for 30-days after which it will be donated to homeless shelters. Bushido is not responsible for lost items.
  10. Students should signal by raising their hands when they need help. They should stand with their feet together at attention, whenever an instructor comes to assist them. They should bow to the instructor before and after their help and thank them or respond with “Hai”.
  11. Questions or comments during class time should be kept to a minimum and related directly to the subject at hand. If you have a relevant question while the instructor is occupied, do not interrupt the instruction. This is distracting to others in the class and to the instructor, who may be attempting to explain an important and difficult point. The instructor will get to you eventually. Please be sure to pay attention to the instruction at the time it is given to minimize class interruption.
  12. Students are encouraged to call if they are going to miss class. Our instructors monitor your attendance very closely and will call you if you have missed class without calling in. We encourage students to attend class at least twice a week.
  13. There should be no unnecessary moving about during class. When not instructed to do otherwise, students should stand or sit at attention, ready for the next instruction.
  14. When instructed to take up a fighting stance or perform a technique, students should rush into position and “Kiai” (key-eye) loudly. Students should do so while responding with spirit.
  15. Students should thank the instructors after class for the instruction. This creates an appreciative and positive atmosphere.
  16. If the instructor ask a student to help demonstrate a technique, the student should run to where the instructor designates and wait motionlessly until they begin. They should bow to the instructor before and after the technique. They should do only as instructed and do so with spirit. They should not cringe away or lunge weakly when executing their portion of the demonstration. If thrown, they should not collasp but take adequate falls. They should listen to the instructor’s verbal commands.
  17. Students should not come onto or leave the training floor during a workout without permission of the instructor. If they are sick or injured, they will notify the instructor by raising their hands. Students never leave the mat without permission as the instructor should be aware if they or sick or injured. Water breaks will be permitted directly from the head Instructor.
  18. When given permission to cross the training area while class is in session, the students will pass behind the class. Do not pass in front of or between the instructor and the class. When exiting or entering the training area, students should always pass behind other students and instructors.
  19. If a student arrives late (which should only happen occasionally and for good reason) they change quickly and wait at attention until told to join the workout, unless otherwise instructed.
  20. Students are ONLY allowed to sit in Seiza or Anza. Leaning on the walls or lying down during instruction is not allowed.
  21. Bushido Judo School students are expected to be of HUMBLE character, and should bring PEACE, ORDER, and CALMNESS to their life and others.
  22. Refrain from using foul language and inappropriateness in the Dojo.
  23. Disrespect towards anyone is NOT TOLERATED under any circumstances or at any time or any place. Disrespect towards anyone, especially black belts, will be dealt with by serious consequence. Disrespecting Sensei could mean automatic expulsion from the dojo.
  24. Come to class with an open mind. “How can you drink my tea, if your cup is already filled with your own?”
  25. Any and all Bushido Judo School activities or changes must first go through Sensei.

Our Philosophy on Belt Exams

Sometimes we are asked how student exams are scheduled. Our philosophy is that students take an exam after a specified period of time. For example, a white belt could take the yellow belt exam after 5 - 6 months of training, which is the. The number of months increase as you go through the higher belts.

One comment we sometimes hear is, “I’m not ready to take the exam. Consider for a minute how the exams are scheduled in school. The math teacher doesn’t give the exam when each student becomes ready. He would say, "the exam will be given a week from Friday. Ready or not, all students will take exam on the given day." This is also how our exams are scheduled.

You should never pester Sensei about your Rank.

The information that we receive by watching the exams helps us to know which students are in need of the most attention. When a student does well, or not as good, we take that information back to the instructing staff. Upcoming lessons are planned accordingly.

Finally, as you spend more time in the classroom, you come to realize that Bushido Judo School instructors are some of the best that you will ever work with. They are 100% on your side and are only concerned with your individual progress. As you build trust in these outstanding martial arts educators you realize that they work very hard to position you for victory.

What is the Junior Stripe System?

The key to getting your Black Belt is in the stripe system. Stripe exams could best be compared to the ongoing exams you take in any semester course in school. The Black Belt formula is: Attendance =Improving Skill = Stripes = New Belts = Black Belt!

Why do we have to test?

This is a school and examinations are part of any quality school. In order to gain any real confidence in your technique, you must work it and then demonstrate it under circumstances outside of the comfort zone of the classroom. Nearly all of the confidence thresholds achieved by our upper ranks came as a result of test preparation and performance. It is a challenge that has to be met head on.

We are doing all we can to get you ready and to eliminate excuses. Testing fees for striped ranks are 20.00. All Solid Belt Rank Promotions are 35.00

Promotion Requirement Guide

Can be found and downloaded on our website. Take testing seriously and keep it formal. Do not bother Sensei about your rank. You are always evaluated and will be promoted when necessary. Do not always expect to be tested with the minimum time in grade. If you have surpassed the maximum time in grade, with adequate mat time, you may then bring it to Sensei’s attention and he will respond to the situation accordingly.

Keep this guide handy to use and study whenever possible. Keep in mind that testing has three stages

  1. Knowledge
  2. Demonstration of techniques
  3. Combat Prowess

I want to thank you for making Bushido Judo School your dojo of choice. Please help us keep it up to expectations by doing your part. Help keep it clean, Help keep a positive atmosphere, and help support by paying your dues. Thank you for your support as always and we look forward to helping you grow as a martial artist in your quest for excellence.

Go Bushido!!!

“The greatest warrior is not he who conquers his enemies… but he who conquers himself.”

-Sensei Darian Stokes



  • "In an age where commercialism seems to rule in the Martial Arts space and the true values of the Martial Arts are getting blurred Bushido Judo School holds true to the age old traditions of Honor, Respect and Discipline."

    -Andres Andreu
  • "Bushido Judo School has changed my life not only as a competitive athletes point of view but as an overall person. I have come to understand my self and gain much knowledge on how to control myself. Bushido's instructors are very caring and not only willing to help with judo but in all aspects of everyday life. Bushido isn't just a school it becomes your family."

    -Chris Elias
  • There's a few good places in Raleigh for martial arts, but I travel 40 mins to Bushido in Durham, because they're a competitive Judo club with the perfect balance of play-rough practice and fun-loving attitude.

    -Matt D'Avanzo
  • For the past two years, my six year old son had been asking to take martial arts classes. Being new to the area, we began visiting different dojos. A friend recommended that we visit Bushido. From the moment I met Sensei Stokes I was impressed with his interactions with the children in the class. My son joined, and a week later, I joined as well. The instructors and fellow students are exceptionally helpful. My son and I both enjoy the classes immensely, and my younger daughter now wants to join us.

    -Joe Zakszewski