We wish for you to enjoy your training. But like any other martial arts, standard knowledge of etiquette is required. Aikido promotes and encourages the Japanese traditions of etiquette and respect in training. Following our dojo etiquette, you will not only show respect to your instructor but to others and yourself as well. It is about having respect for those around you.
- Keep your training uniform clean, in good condition and free from offensive odours.
- Remove watches, rings and other jewellery before practice as they may catch your hair, skin, or clothing and cause injury to yourself or your partner.
- Please keep your fingernails (and especially your toenails) clean and cut short.
- When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper etiquette to bow in the direction of O-Sensei’s picture.
- When stepping onto or off of the mat, always bow in the direction of the picture of the founder.
- You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat.
- If you need to leave the lesson for any reason, then please let the teacher know.
- The proper way to sit on the mat is in seiza – formal kneeling position with back straight.
- If you have a knee injury, you may sit cross-legged, but never sit with legs outstretched and never lean against the walls or anything else. You must be alert at all times.
- If you are unavoidably late, you should wait until the instructor signals permission for you to join the class. Perform a formal seated bow as you get on the mat. It is most important that you do not disrupt the class in doing so.
- The words spoken at the beginning of practice between the students and instructor are, “Onegai shimasu.” Loosely translated, it is a request, which when spoken by the student means, “Please give me your instruction.” When spoken by the teacher, it means, “Please do what is expected of you,” or “Please receive my instruction.” The words spoken by the student to the instructor at the end of practice are, “Domo arigato gozaimashita.” “You have my respect and gratitude for what you have just done.” This is the most respectful way of saying thank you.
- Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is, should be restricted to Aikido. It is impolite to talk whilst the instructor is addressing the class. Aikido is an experience.
- When the end of a technique is signalled, stop immediately. Bow to your partner and quickly line up with the other students.
- Respect your training tools. Weapons should be in good condition and in their proper place when not in use.
- When receiving personal instruction during class, sit in seiza and watch intently. Bow formally to the instructor when the personal instruction is finished. When the instructor is instructing another, you may stop your practice to watch. Sit formally and bow when he or she has finished.
- Do not leave the mat during practice except in the case of injury or illness. If you must leave the mat for personal reasons, request permission before doing so. Although it is important to push your body to discover your limits, it is permissible to rest if necessary. Do so by moving to the edge of the mat and sitting seiza until you are able to rejoin the class.
- Never stand around idly on the mat. You should be practising or, if necessary, seated formally, awaiting your turn.
- If for some reason it is absolutely necessary to ask a question of the instructor, go to him or her (never call out), bow respectfully, and wait for an acknowledgement. A standing bow is acceptable.
- Respect those who are more experienced. Never argue about technique.
- If you know the movement being studied and are working with someone who does not, you may lead the person through it. But do not attempt to correct or instruct your training partner if you are not of a senior yudansha (black belt grade holders) level.
- Do not lounge around on the mat before or after class. Space is for students who wish to train. There are other areas in the dojo for socialising.
- It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the dojo clean.
- No eating, drinking, smoking, or gum chewing on or off the mat during practice, nor on the mat at any time.
- Respond to new situations with common sense.
If you’re unsure of something, then please ask or follow the other students.