Proper etiquette is as much a part of your training as learning the techniques. Awareness is the most important thing. Be conscious, not only in your training on the mat, but also in the way you walk into the dojo, the way in which you align your shoes, and the way in which you speak: all these are training in Budo as well.
The etiquette at the dojo may seem confusing at times, but if you carefully observe and follow the examples of the chief instructor and the senior students, you will soon pick it up.
For a list of common Japanese terms encountered in the dojo, please click here.
We have changing rooms available for students to change into their gi uniform before class begins and after class ends. It is discouraged to wear your gi to the dojo or in public in general. Plain white, grey, navy blue, or black t-shirts/tank-tops are acceptable to wear under a gi.
Bowing is a practice of humility. It is a matter of respect for the founder of aikido, your teacher, the dojo and your fellow students, and to countless others who studied and persevered before you to help develop the techniques we now practice. The spirit of your bow gives it meaning.
Your training in the dojo will start with a bow towards the kamiza when you come onto the mats for the first time each day. Training in the dojo concludes with an additional bow towards the kamiza after members have finished training and bowed to each other. Cleaning and getting changed takes place after.
There are additional moments in which bowing is necessary. For example but not limited to bowing to your teacher when class begins, bowing to fellow students while training, and bowing to the extended aikido community whether we are hosting or attending a seminar. We ask that you use your awareness when determining an appropriate time to bow as well.
Students should be lined up in seiza and ready to practice several minutes before class begins. Before practice, the instructor and students will bow together to the kamiza and each other, saying "o-negai-shimas(u)" (please) and also after practice, saying "domo arigato gozaimashita" (thank you).
During demonstrations and when receiving instruction from the teacher, sit in seiza and bow after instruction is received.
Do not sit with your back against the wall (feet out) or with your back to the kamiza. Do not lean against the wall.
Keep talking to a minimum. Learning the art is done primarily through observation. Ask questions after class.
Please be on time. This is a matter of respect for your teacher and your fellow students. The door is open 30 minutes before class starts. You should arrive at least 10 minutes before class begins. If you know ahead of time that you are going to be late you should message Sensei to let him know.
If lateness cannot be avoided then you must ask permission to be allowed on the mat. This means that if class has begun when you arrive, you should get dressed quickly, come upstairs, do your seated bow, sit in seiza at the edge of the mat, and wait until the instructor invites you onto the mat. Once you are invited onto the mats, you may bow to the instructor and join class.
Keep your body and gi clean. Trim your nails and remove any jewelry before practice. Refrain from wearing strong perfume, cologne, fragrance, or spray during class but also be aware of overpowering natural odors.
Please do not leave your gi in the dressing room. Hakamas should be folded and stored neatly.
It is the student's responsibility to keep in contact with Sensei (not vice versa!). This means letting him know when you will be out of town, if you have been injured or are sick and will not be in class as usual.
Bring a courageous and bold spirit to the dojo. The nature of this training is difficult and one must persist. Push forward!