Rules And Etiquette

Aikido is a traditional Japanese Art and as such a dojo follows a set of traditions that follow a particular structure. It is mostly based n mutual respect for each other and for the senior members of the dojo.  

How you dress for training is very important it helps set your mood and show that you are prepared.

  • Before entering the dojo have your keiko-gi on.
  • Obi and/ or Hakama should be tied correctly.
  • Kit should be clean and presentable with the sleeves rolled down.
  • Make sure that your hands and feet are clean and nails trimmed and you look presentable.
  • Remove all loose items such as watches and jewelry where possible.
  • Footwear (zori or sandals) should be worn at all times when not on the tatami in order to keep the feet clean. 
  • If you have weapons place them at the rear of the dojo.

When just inside the dojo door, perform a standing bow to the kamiza. Go to the corner of the tatami at the shimoza end remove footwear (the heels should touch the mat) and perform a kneeling bow to the kamiza (this should be done whenever entering onto the mat).

When the sensei enters the dojo, all students should line up (in grade order) in seiza facing the kamiza). Should you arrive after the sensei has started the class (tardiness is considered bad etiquette but is sometimes unavoidable) wait beside the tatami until invited on the mat. The class instructor is always called Sensei in the dojo.

Anytime the sensei is teaching it is polite to watch in seiza, it is important to not sit with your back to the kamiza at any time as this is disrespectful.

If the sensei comes to instruct personally during the class it is customary to kneel at this time also, when they are finished teaching bow and say "domo arigato". If you have a medical reason for not sitting in seiza please inform the sensei a the beginning of the class and you will be allowed to sit in agura (cross-legged).

If the sensei asks you to demonstrate with them, bow and say "hai, onegaishimasu" make sure you respond quickly. When the demonstration is over perform a kneeling bow and say "Domo Arigato goziamasu" then bow to the class.

Students should attempt to copy exactly what has been taught.

When selecting a partner it is customary to bow to each other and say "onegaishimasu". The Sempai (senior) should take ukemi first and practice in a co-operative manner, however they should not teach without permission as this is bad manners. You should show some deference to your sempai and they should show you respect. The sempai should work with their partner at their level of practice. It is important to practise with as many different people, young or old, experienced or new as the variety enhances your experience. When partnered practice finishes partners bow to each other and say "domo arigato". 

  • If you need to leave the mat ask the sensei, then bow at the edge in the tatami, then leave.
  • If returning to the mat wait at the edge of the tatami for the sensei to invite you then perform a seated bow at the edge.
  • You should never sit or practice with your back to the picture of O'Sensei
  • If you need to drink or adjust you clothing or wipe your face you should sit at the edge of the mat facing out to do so. Some people will bow before and after doing this.

At the end of the class once again line up in grade order and the bow will be taken as described above except "domo arigato gosaimashita" is said when bowing to the instructor. It is polite to thank students individually by bowing to them, and also the sensei. Perform a kneeling bow at the edge of the mat when leaving the mat and a standing bow when leaving the dojo.