SMAA Code of Conduct & Ethics


Written standards for the SMAA Code of Conduct & Ethics are necessary to clearly articulate what is expected of our members. Furthermore, the SMAA Code of Conduct & Ethics should be a source of inspiration for all martial artists with regard to maintaining an elevated sense of morality and ethical behavior.

Philosophical Influence

Philosophically, the martial arts have always had lofty goals and taught that all practitioners shall adhere to the following:

  • Demonstrate courtesy and respect in all personal encounters.

  • Develop proper attitude in your daily life. Remain positive in thought and personal interaction.

  • Be mindful of everything around you.

  • Carefully consider the consequences (intended or otherwise) of your actions.

  • Develop the courage necessary to face daily challenges.

  • Create good will by providing the influence that creates camaraderie.

  • Demonstrate the highest level of morality and personal values. Be humble, respectful, trustworthy, loyal, honest, tolerant, and patient.

  • Keep balance in your life. Do not sacrifice excessively in one area to gain in another.

  • Honor your personal obligations.

Code of Conduct & Ethics for Martial Artists

Martial artists are traditionally leaders and figureheads serving as an example for others to follow. As a result, the worth of the martial arts as a whole is often judged by the actions of its practitioners, underscoring the importance of being ever mindful of the image we project. For this reason, all SMAA members shall adhere to the following:

  • Appropriate martial courtesy must be observed at all times.

    • Proper verbal responses are to be observed (yes sir, thank you sir, etc.)

    • Proper etiquette is to be observed (bowing, salutations, etc.)

    • Proper attitude is to be displayed toward others (seniors, juniors, peers)

  • Appropriate behavior must be observed at all times.

    • Avoid cursing, offensive language, gestures, etc.

    • Avoid drinking excessively.

    • Avoid promiscuity.

    • Remain respectful.

    • Avoid conflict.

    • Do not allow yourself to become involved in illegal or unethical activities.

    • Remain positive and professional.

    • Be willing to cooperate and help others learn.

    • Follow your seniors and guide your juniors.

    • Respond to official correspondence in a timely manner.

    • Complete official duties as assigned in a timely manner.

    • Avoid any actions or affiliations that could have a negative impact on your reputation or might bring embarrassment to you, your family, your school, your teacher, the association, or the martial arts.

    • Maintain a safe and clean environment for practice/training.

    • Avoid affiliations with any person, service, or organization that is of questionable integrity, or may be illicit, immoral, or illegal.

    • When speaking of others maintain a high level of civility.

    • Do not accept gifts or gratuities, as this may give the appearance of fostering favoritism.

    • Do not share confidential information.

    • Honor the martial arts hierarchy

      • In your training facility
      • As a guest in someone else's training facility
      • In the SMAA
    • Endeavor to live up to the recognition you receive with regard to rank and other certifications.

    • Do not make claims of rank, certifications, awards, accomplishments, etc. that are false or cannot be verified.

    • Honor SMAA standards and policies:

      • Honor and utilize SMAA time in grade standards
      • Honor and utilize SMAA evaluation requirements and procedures
      • Honor the SMAA Code of Conduct & Ethics
      • Honor the teacher/student relationship.
  • Appearance

    • Clothing must be neat and clean in appearance.

    • Honor the uniform requirements of your style and school.

    • Personal appearance must be neat and clean.

    • Good personal hygiene should be observed at all times.


Any profession, organization, or group of people who fail to establish and abide by a coherent and reasonable set of standards is destined to eventually descend into chaos. The SMAA Code of Conduct & Ethics is necessary to establish the highest level of integrity, honor, courtesy, civility, ethical behavior, and professionalism in the martial arts. Indeed these standards are equally suitable for use in everyday life and are therefore universal in application. The SMAA Code of Conduct & Ethics is to be adhered to by all SMAA members.

The SMAA wishes to thank Sensei Charles James and Brad Kerr for their work and input on this very important project.

About the SMAA
Code of Conduct