Dojo Etiquette

Etiquette is something which is universal throughout martial arts and Aikido is not exception. It is not being subservient, but merely showing respect your fellow Aikidoka, irrespective of what level of competence they have reached. Etiquette is important because in the time that we spend in the dojo, we behave in a dignified and disciplined manner. With time this will permeate into our everyday lifestyle so that we ensure that we may make a positive contribution to society.

  1. Upon entering the dojo, a bow is performed towards the centre of the the dojo.
  2. We remove our footwear and step on the mat.
  3. Next, we kneel and perform a bow, (with the left hand on the ground first) in the direction of O Sensei (the picture of the founder on the wall). The atmosphere is relatively informal as we wait for Sensei to arrive.
  4. Upon the arrival of Sensei, we adopt the position known as seiza (kneeling posture), about a metre from the brick wall, facing the picture of O Sensei.
  5. Sensei joins the class and we all perform a kneeling bow towards the picture of O Sensei.
  6. Then Sensei bows to us and we exchange the word onegaishemasu.
  7. A warm up then follows so that we may train without fear of injury. The class then begins.
  8. The basic format of the class is that of Sensei demonstrating a technique and then our subsequent performance of the technique under Sensei's supervision. Bow to your partner before and after practice with him.
  9. Before using the weapons, it is customary to bow to your weapon in the direction of O Sensei, with the blade (if sword) towards you. Repeat this after practice.
  10. When sitting in seiza with weapons, the jo and bokken should be placed by your left leg, level with your knees. The bokken should have its imaginary blade facing you.
  11. Remove all jewellery before the class.
  12. Keep your keikogi (suit) clean.
  13. Cut your nails regularly.
  14. Arrive at classes on time. If late, perform the standing bow towards O Sensei, off the mat and wait. When Sensei signals you, kneel on the mat and bow to O Sensei.
  15. Notify Sensei and your fellow students of any injury you have or you acquire in the course of practice.
  16. If you do not understand something, ask Sensei or senior grade. They will offer an explanation or ask someone who knows.
  17. At the end of the class line up in the same way as in the beginning, bow to O Sensei, and bow to Sensei with thanking him by saying Domo arigato gozaimashita.