Etiquette

Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art that has been heavily influenced by traditional forms. This history gives Aikido a strong expectation of etiquette and courteous behaviour in the dojo. Aikido etiquette conveys a sense of traditional formality and helps foster safe and respectful martial arts training. Showing respect to one’s sensei (teacher), to other students and to the dojo environment also develops focus, self-awareness and martial effectiveness. Please observe and follow Aikido etiquette during your training.

 

  1. When you enter the dojo make a standing bow towards the kamiza (the area at the front of the mat where O-Sensei’s picture is hanging).

  2. Perform a seated bow to the kamiza when getting on and off the mat.

  3. It is important to arrive on time for class. Students are expected to line up in seiza (sitting position) just before the class start time and wait for the instructor to commence.

  4. If you arrive after the class has started, wait at the rear of the mat until the instructor has noticed you and gives you permission to join the class. Step on to the mat and bow from seiza, as usual.

  5. After the instructor has demonstrated a technique, find a practice partner. It is an excellent idea for junior students to seek out senior students and ask them to practice. A visitor, a yudansha (black-belt holder), or the student who was the uke for the instructor in the demonstrated technique - should not have to wait and hunt around for a practice partner; they should be approached right away and asked to practice.

  6. Students are expected to follow the instructor’s techniques as demonstrated. Practice should be carried out without conversation. If you are seriously confused you may ask for help, but discussions or lengthy commentaries are not appropriate during class. A student should never try to correct someone of higher rank; it is a very bad breach of etiquette, even if you believe you are right and the senior student is wrong.

  7. If your training partner indicates that they don’t feel safe or comfortable in taking ukemi (the receiving of your technique) in a particular way even if this style is the method being demonstrated by the instructor, then this needs to be respected. If the taking of ukemi is of sufficient concern that it may appear to compromise the performing of the technique, the attention of the instructor should be sought so that alternative methods can be considered.

  8. If the instructor offers personal instruction to you or your partner, stop practicing with your partner and pay strict attention to the instruction. If the instructor is working with your partner, sit in seiza and observe. Please do not ever sit with your back to the kamiza.

  9. Students should never casually wander on and off the mat during practice. If you need to leave the mat during class, ask the instructor first, and make a standing bow to the kamiza when you leave the mat and when you return. If you need to obtain a drink during class, bow off and drink facing away from the mat (not standing drinking and watching the class). If you need to leave practice (dojo) early, obtain the instructor’s permission before doing so. Otherwise, at the end of the class, approach and face the back or side wall (not a person) and straighten your gi (uniform) then line up in seiza to bow out as a class.

  10. When you leave the dojo, as when you came in, make a standing bow towards the Kamiza.

  11. Keep yourself and your gi clean; keep your fingernails and toenails closely trimmed. Also, don’t wear jewelry, chew gum, or have long, loose hair during practice.

  12. Payment for class takes place before the class starts, or after the class--but before you change into street clothes. Payments should always be made to the appointed person or class instructor, and not just left on the front desk.