Dojo Etiquette |
Entering the Dojo
Have your keikogi on (jacket fastens left over right for both sexes), and obi (belt) tied properly (ends should finish out to the sides). Just inside the door, perform a bow towards the photograph of O Sensei (the Kamiza). Zori (sandals) must be worn to and from the tatami (mat), step out of them and onto the mat as a backwards step. Go to the corner of the tatami, and perform a kneeling bow, again towards the photograph of O Sensei.
Remain seated on your heels. Place the left hand, then the right on the tatami in front of you so that the two thumbs and index fingers form a triangle. Bow the head, keeping the back straight, towards the tatami.
When the Sensei enters the dojo all members should line up in the sitting position, with the senior graded students to the right-hand side, facing the photograph of O Sensei. the Sensei's entrance may be announced by the signal of a double handclap by a senior student. All members bow with Sensei towards the photograph of O Sensei, then return Sensei's bow saying "Onegaishimasu" ("Please teach me"), then follow his or her lead doing the warming up exercises.
Perform a standing bow to your old and new partner. If the instructor should teach you and your partner individually, it is proper to perform a bow of gratitude afterwards. While the instructor is working with your partner, kneel on the tatami. Make sure that your keikogi remains tied properly during practice, and that you remain adequately covered. If your clothing needs to be adjusted you should face away from the kamisa and also away from the edge of the mat. When sitting to take instruction try to keep your back straight with your hands placed palms down on your legs - arms should not be folded, you are inhibiting the flow of your ki, also in Japan this is a sign of disgrace.
Finishing The Class
When indicated by Sensei, line up, in a straight line with the senior graded students to the right-hand side, as at the start of class. Bow with Sensei to the picture of O Sensei, Sensei will then bow with the most senior students present, then with the whole of the class, and say "Domo arigato gozaimashita" ("Thank you for teaching me"). Allow Sensei to leave the tatami first, the most senior graded student present will then call "Rei" ("Bow") and the whole class will bow once more to O Sensei's picture before rising, it is also polite to bow to your partners to thank them.
Leaving the Dojo
Perform kneeling and standing bows in a similar manner to when entering the dojo, but in reverse order. Step into your prepared zori as you leave the tatami.
Wash your keikogi at least once a week, keep it in a good state of repair. Also, make sure that finger and toenails are short and long hair is tied back, and no "designer stubble"! Keep a high standard of personal hygiene, and note that no jewellery of any kind should be worn in the dojo. If jewellery cannot be removed, for example a wedding ring, it should be taped over. Take pride in our dojo, five minutes from each member before every practice will help to maintain the dojo in a clean, neat condition. Unless otherwise instructed, ALL members are expected to help in removing mats and other equipment at the end of the class.
Aikido represents a vast inclusive system. An essential part of that system is its martial art aspect. Aikido is a physical budo, but should be accompanied by personality improvement and mental and spiritual growth.
Advantage should not be taken of a partners openings in Aikido practice. They are pointed out during training only so the student will become aware that they exist and can therefore protect him or herself from them.
Working with a partner should not be a test (contest) of energies. Each individual (Uke and Tori) in all techniques, moves from the centre (Seika tanden), and uniting, becomes a singular, controlled movement.
Knowing an aggressor will take advantage of any openings provided, the Aikido student must eliminate openings and develop control of the opponent to avoid being hurt, at the same time without hurting the opponent or allowing him or her to hurt themselves.