Dojo Etiquette

A good set of rules to follow:

  • Don't punch the sensei.
  • Come to think of it, don't punch anyone.

But seriously, Martial Arts of any flavor begin and end with respect. Respect for one's sensei, students, peers, training partners, and most importantly--oneself. It's a lot of people to respect, but it's good for you.

Some general guidelines for etiquette and operating procedures are as follows:

When to bow:

  1. Upon entering and exiting the dojo
  2. When stepping on or off the mat
  3. Before each training session, bow to the shomen(front of room) and say to the instructor, "Onegai shimasu." Onegaishi is a repayment of kindness.It's like asking,"please do me the favor{of}". Therefore in this context you are essentially saying "I humbly thank you for allowing us to work and learn together." This is also said before training with your partner.
  4. After each training session, bow again to the shomen and to the instructor say, "Arigato gozaimashita." This is a very formal and respectful way of saying "thank you." It is also good to say this to one's training partners after working on a technique.
  5. Bow whenever asking or receiving permission/help/advise/instruction from a sensei.
  6. Any other time the setting feels right... when in doubt, bow!

General Dojo Etiquette:

  2. Come to class early to help with any cleaning or set up that may be required.
  3. The dojo is a sacred place, one that we are lucky to have designated for our development and growth. Therefore leave all negative emotion and problems that happen outside the dojo, outside the dojo. Hopefully when you leave, they will no longer be waiting for you.
  4. A closed mind is referred to as "negative Ki." An open mind is called "Plus Ki." Always extend positive Ki. Enter the dojo and begin training with an "empty mind." You are training to learn not to argue.
  5. No jewelry (watches/rings/necklace/etc.) are permitted on the mat. This is for your own safety as well as others.
  6. Flip flops/sandals should be worn to and from the mat. Line sandals up at the edge of the mat facing backwards. No shoes of any kind on the mat. Ever. Sandals allow us to approach the mat without dirt collecting on our feet, helping us protect our mats.
  7. Do not compare one sensei to another negatively. Everyone has their own personal interpretation and beliefs about everything. Respect this and realize that every sensei has something unique to share with you. Your job is to discover it. If you are told to do something differently by one sensei than you had previously learned, do not argue. Ask questions as needed but adapt to the way they want it done. This will not only help you get a more broad understanding of the art but will increase your ability to adapt to ever-changing situations.
  8. Please do not speak ill of another form of martial arts. "The mountain does not speek ill of the river because it is lowly, nor does the river speak ill of the mountain because it cannot move about. Speak ill of others and it shall soon come back to you." Just as every martial artist practices for their own reasons every martial art is developed to meet a certain need at a certain time for a specific reason. No martial art is "right" or "wrong". They all exist to fulfill a purpose. Discussions about each art's application and how Aiki fits into it are welcome at appropriate times. It is only through learning about other arts that we can learn to adapt to any given situation. "To know but one is to know none." Therefore members are welcome to train in any other arts they wish. To each his own.
  9. Do not train if ill or excessively tired. Also do not perform any maneuver you do not feel comfortable with. The goal is to train and learn without injury so be gentle and never push anyone beyond their limits.Never-the-less, accidents can happen but we are fortunate to practice in a doctors office,a half mile from the hospital,and have several trained Medical Professionals as members. Therefore, if something happens, your in the best hands of any martial art group in the area.

Aikido Facebook Group

Aikido Email List