Aikido Dojo Etiquette


1.   When entering or leaving the Dojo, students should bow in the direction of the Kamiza which is the raised area where O Sensei's picture stands. (Note: This is not a religious practice but simply a tradition of showing respect to the founder of Aikido.)


 2.   Shoes are to be removed and placed neatly in a row at the side of the mat. When entering the mat or Dojo students should ideally kneel and bow or at least bow respectfully to the Kamiza.


 3.   Students should assemble quietly at least five minutes before the class is scheduled to start. It is recommended that all students kneel (seiza) in meditation and await the instructor's arrival on the mat. Line up in grade order from left to right. Shodans make one line at the front and kyu grades in lines behind. Nidan and above in grade order along the right hand side of the mat from the first row.


 4.   When the instructor comes on to the mat, he will sit and face the sudents (also in kneeling position) and then turn to face the kamiza and perform a rei (bow) the students will bow with the instructor towards the Kamiza. The instructor then turns and bows towards the students who bow in unison towards the instructor. It is also the custom to say at this point "On 'e' gaishimas" which literally means "please show my your favour" but a better translation could be 'Please teach me'.


 5.   It is proper to ask the permission of the instructor to practice when arriving late. Please stand at the side of the mat or in the dojo doorway until the teacher acknowldges you. Always bow when entering the dojo or mat.


6.   Students should never sit with their backs to the Kamiza, nor should they pass between the instructor and the Kamiza.


7.   When approaching the instructor on the tatami, whether you ask him, or he calls you, bow first and at the end of your interaction. Never yell out 'Sensei' and/or beckon for instruction - go up to him and bow.


 8.   Once engaged in the practice of Aikido, clear your mind of everything but the lesson given and the principles of Aikido.


9.   When the instructor is teaching a pair of students, it is not necessary for others to sit down and watch unless he says to. It is preferable to keep practicing.


10.  Your partner is not your opponent. Techniques are learned through him/her and with him/her. You can learn as much from having a technique applied as to apply it yourself. Each movement in Aikido teaches the principles and spirit of Aikido and should be practiced sincerely.


11.  When changing partners during class, you should acknowledge both the partner you are leaving as well as your new partner with a bow.


12.  Care should be taken to be aware of the ability of your partner, so that no injuries occur.


13.  At the end of class, the instructor and students bow to the kamiza (O Sensei's picture), and then the students bow to the instructor and to each other. Students should wait until the instructor has left the mat before getting up from seiza.


14.  A few don'ts:- Don't lie on the mat, lean against the walls, sit with your legs stretched out, talk loudly or in a manner which distracts others, wear rings or watches, chew gum, have long finger or toe nails, wear dirty or torn Keikogi (training suit), leave the mat unless it is urgent (and then always ask your Sensei first).


15.  Keep in mind the Dojo refers not only to the mat, but to the entire area inside the building. Maintaining quiet, and practicing courtesy in the Dojo pertains to all areas in the building.


16.  When observing a class, spectators should remain quiet out of respect for the instructor and the practicing    students. Please do not eat or in any way cause a distraction.


17.  Please turn all mobile phones off during class.


18.  Endeavour to remember and be able to practice what has been demonstrated. 


19.    If you are unsure of anything ask your Sensei.


20.   At the end of the class everyone will kneel (see #3) and the instructor will bow as in #4 except that instead of "on 'e' gaishimas" the students thank the instructor for teaching them by saying "Domo arigatou gozaimasu" (Thankyou very much)





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