Japanese culture and etiquette are both very important in Aikido and deeply rooted within our dojo. Members are expected to treat the dojo as a sacred space in which to develop their spirits as well as their bodies, and show respect to the tradition that has been handed down to us and our teachers.
Proper etiquette is also part of your daily aikido training as it puts one in the appropriate frame of mind for training and shows respect to our partners, regardless of their rank. “Aiki” means the joining of spirits.
In practice, we often say “Onegashimasu” to each other, translates as “please let me train with you.” In Doshu’s book, Progressive Aikido, he mentioned that “Children who start the martial art of Aikido naturally settle down and learn good manners.”
One is here to learn, not to gratify one’s own ego. We are all working with each other to grow together, and to share what we have learned. Preserve common sense standards of decency and respect at all times inside and outside the dojo.
Attached please find attached Aikido etiquette for attending dojo worldwide.
Have fun and onegashimasu…
Dojo Manner and Etiquette
1. Upon entering and leaving the dojo, always perform a standing bow toward O’Sensei’s portrait (Shomen).
2. Remove your shoes and place them neatly on the line of wall. This not only keeps the dojo clean but it also symbolizes the dojo’s attitude.
3. When entering and leaving the mat area, always perform a seated or standing bow facing the Shomen.
4. Respect your training tools. Dogi should always be clean and in good repair. Out of respect for your training partners, always wash your uniform after no more than two training sessions.
5. Use good personal hygiene. Finger and toe nails should be trimmed short and kept clean to avoid injury.
6. Do not be late for class. Getting on the mat after class has begun is disrespectful to Sensei and is a disruption to your fellow students. Arrive at the dojo early enough to be changed and on the mat 10-15 minutes before class starts. Use this time to warm up or sit quietly in preparation for class. Do nothing to disturb others who are waiting for class to begin.
7. Class opens and closes with a bowing ceremony and it is important for you to participate. If you are unavoidably late for class, sit quietly in seiza, at the edge of the mat, until Sensei gives you permission to join the class. When stepping onto the mat perform a seated or standing bow facing the Shomen. Do not disrupt the class when entering the mat area.
8. The proper way to sit on the mat is in seiza. If an injury prevents you from sitting in seiza, you may sit cross-legged with your feet underneath. Never sit with your legs outstretched or lean against walls and posts. You must remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
9. Do not leave the mat for any reason without first receiving Sensei’s permission.
10. If you must leave the mat or have a question for Sensei regarding practice, go directly to him; never call Sensei over to you. Bow respectfully and wait for his acknowledgment.
11. While Sensei is demonstrating a technique, you should sit quietly and attentively in seiza. After the demonstration, bow to Sensei, then bow to a partner, and begin practice.
12. When Sensei signals the end of a technique or practice session, stop immediately, bow to your partner, and line up with the other students.
13. When receiving personal instruction during class, sit attentively in seiza. Bow to Sensei when he has finished.
14. If someone near you is receiving personal instruction from Sensei, you may stop your practice and observe. Sit quietly in seiza and bow to Sensei when he has finished.
15. Never stand around idly on the mat; you should be practicing or, if necessary, attentively waiting your turn.
16. If you know the technique being studied and your training partner does not, you may lead your partner through the technique but do not assume the role of the instructor.
17. Your are here to practice Aikido as interpreted and taught by Sensei Nagai; do not force your ideas on others. At the same time respect those who are more experienced than you.
18. During class keep talking to a minimum and directly related to what you are practicing.
19. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the dojo clean and in good repair. If you see something that needs to be done, show initiative and do it. If you’re not sure what to do, alert a senior student to any need you may uncover. If you would like to volunteer any personal skills that might be an asset to the dojo, please speak to a senior student.
20. There is no eating, drinking, or gum chewing in the mat area.
21. In order to prevent injury or damage to personal property, no jewelry should be worn during practice.
22. All cell phones and pagers should either be turned off or on silent as not to disrupt class.
23. Visitors are always welcome to observe class but the following rules of etiquette should be followed:
a. Sit quietly and respectfully.
b. Do not disturb anyone on the mat.
c. Do not talk or walk around while Sensei is demonstrating.
d. Do not eat, drink, or chew gum in the mat area. Do not smoke in the dojo.
e. Make sure all cellphones and pagers are either turned off or on silent.
25. All visitors should be treated as prospective students and training partners. Everyone should make a concerted effort to make vistors, and new students as well, feel welcome. If a visitor enters the dojo during practice, either excuse yourself from class to greet them or alert a senior student who may not have seen them enter.
26. If you are unsure of what to do in a particular situation, ask a senior student or simply follow their lead.
27. Most importantly, always have fun and enjoy your practice!