The Aikido dojo is the place where we train our mind and body. Such a place offers effective use only when it is filled with feelings of respect, gratitude, right attitude, and positive mutual support. When you come into the dojo, you will notice that everyone works very hard and sincerely to maintain these feelings. Any feelings to the contrary should be left outside the dojo. Following traditional forms of etiquette in the dojo is an essential aspect of our training and should be practiced with sincerity.
The following are a few simple rules which allow us to train together in the spirit of budo:
Bowing is an appropriate way of showing gratitude, humility, and respect while at the same time placing one's mind in a state of non-dissension, which is necessary for the right training attitude.
When to Bow
* Upon entering and exiting the dojo.
* When Sensei arrives at the dojo, all students must make it a point to greet the Sensei. If all are sitting, all should stand and bow.
* Always bow when addressing the Sensei.
* When stepping on or off the training mat.
* Before each training session, bow to the front of the dojo, and then to the instructor, saying "onegai shimasu," which translates as "please teach me."
* Bow whenever requesting help from an instructor.
* Bow when instructor calls upon you to assist in the demonstration of a technique.
* Bow to thank the instructor after he has assisted you while practicing a particular technique.
* After each training session, bow again to the front of the dojo, and to the instructor, saying: "Thank you, Sensei," then bow to your partner or partners.
General Dojo Etiquette
* The instructor is treated with respect at all times.
* The instructor is referred to as "Sensei."
* Please do not interrupt the class to question unnecessarily. If you must ask a question, wait until an appropriate moment.
* Please do not call out to or interrupt the instructor while he or she is teaching.
* Please do not leave the mat during class without first obtaining the permission of the instructor.
* There should not be conversation of any kind while the instructor is demonstrating. When training with your partner, speak only as absolutely necessary.
* If you are in the dojo, but not on the training mat, respect the teaching, stay quiet, and pay attention. Guests should also be informed of this policy.
* Please do not argue about a technique. If there is a problem that cannot be resolved, ask the instructor for help.
* Please do not interrupt another student's training to ask assistance. Wait until the instructor is available to help.
* When receiving personal instruction, remain quiet until the instructor has completed his explanation. Then bow.
* It is inappropriate for a student (including black belts) to offer instruction when he or she is not formally teaching the class, or has not been specifically requested to assist by the instructor. This is an essential point of your personal development, and should be followed carefully, particularly among those who assist or teach in other classes.
* When an instructor is teaching a point, do not attempt to move ahead to another point, thinking you know what is next.
* Do not compare one instructor with another. Every Sensei has something unique to share with you. Your job is to discover it.
* Sensei should not have to fold his/her own hakama after class. You will learn the proper method of folding as you progress.
* Arrive at the dojo with plenty of time to change into your gi, and report to the mat at least 15 minutes before class is to begin. If you are early, do rolls or practice your techniques to warm up.
* If you are late for class, wait at the side of the mat until the instructor signals that you may join the class.
* All participants should be sitting in attentive meditation when the instructor steps onto the mat to begin class.
* The formal sitting position on the mat is seiza. If you have an injury, check with the instructor, and/or if the instructor suggests, you may sit cross-legged (agura), but do not sit with legs outstretched or lean against posts or walls, or lie down during class. Once in the dojo, you are here to train.
* Please do not be idle during practice. You should be training or, if necessary, seated formally awaiting your turn.
* The are only 2 ways to move around the mat during practice: Zagi (samurai walk on knees) or a quick trot. Do not saunter, stroll, skip, or run. Always move quickly when the Sensei calls on you.
* A place of martial arts training should be kept spotless. If you see something that indicates otherwise, for example, rubbish or dirt on the floor, don't wait for someone else to correct it, pick it up or throw it away.
* When approaching or leaving the dojo, check to make sure that the outside area is clean. Take care of your dojo.
* Training weapons, jo, bokken and tanto, will not be taken from the dojo without permission of the Chief Instructor.
* Treat your training tools with respect. Your gi should always be clean and mended. Your bokken, jo, and tanto, should be in good condition, and in their appropriate place when not in use.
* A pair of slippers is part of your training outfit. Slippers must always be left neatly facing away from the mat. If someone's slippers are not in order, correct it immediately.
* Your body and, your feet, must be clean before you step onto the mat.
* Enter the dojo with an "empty mind", a positive attitude and with plus Ki. Do not let outside distractions interfere with your training.
* Do not come to train when you have ingested any type of drug or alcohol unless it has been prescribed for your health.
* No rings, watches, or jewelry of any kind should be worn during practice. These items can injure yourself and others.
* If you are ill or injured, do not attempt to train in the dojo. If you do decide to train, do what you can without aggravating the existing injury. If your leg is injured do not sit seiza. If your shoulder is injured do not roll. Ki breathing and Ki meditation will help you to restore your Ki and help your injury to heal.
* No gum chewing or eating is allowed on the mat during training.
* There will be no smoking in the dojo.
* Do not wear heavily scented perfume or cologne in the dojo.
* Please do not speak ill of another form of martial art. All martial arts are to be respected.