Dojo Etiquette

Dojo Etiqette is an important aspect of Aikido training. It creates an atmosphere conducive to learning and also provides separation from one’s daily grind. In Aikido, etiquette is an outward expression of your martial arts awareness.

By observing good dojo etiquette, you will be demonstrating proper understanding of your relationships with other students and the martial aspects of Aikido training.

  • Bowing is not imbued with any religious significance. It shows mutual respect, as well as helping to create the mental framework in which we train. Bow towards the kamiza when entering the dojo, and when stepping on and off the mat. Bow to the sensei after instruction, and to partners at the beginning and end of practice.
  • Shoes are removed upon entering the Dojo. This applies to both students and visitors.
  • When observing a class please sit quietly. No food or drink is allowed. No photography is allowed without the express permission of the instructor.
  • We train in extremely close proximity to one another. While this obviously necessitates keeping our bodies and gis clean, it also requires that we avoid wearing perfumes, colognes, or other scents when training. Fingernails and toenails should be kept short and smooth. All jewelry should be removed.
  • The proper position when observing a demonstration, waiting to train, and during the beginning and end of class ceremonies is to sit in seiza. If this is difficult or painful due to an injury, it is acceptable to sit cross-legged. Sitting in stillness with back straight, and feeling the body connected to the ground helps to focus the mind on your practice.
  • All students should be lined up on the mat in seiza for the start of class. Any time on the mat before class can be used for stretching, working on technique, meditating, or sitting quietly.
  • All non-training-specific discussions should be kept off the mat. This enables you to get the most out of your training, and also shows respect for the time and effort that others are contributing.
  • Discussion, even aikido-related, should be kept to a minimum on the mat. The best way for us to help each other learn is to offer attacks appropriate to the technique, and to respond with proper ukemi.
  • If you need to step off the mat during practice, or if you arrive late for class, please wait for the sensei’s permission to bow in or out.
  • You and your partner are responsible for each other’s safety. Maintain awareness at all times of your surroundings as you take ukemi and as you perform techniques on your partner. Maintain awareness of both your own and your partner’s abilities and limits and adjust your practice accordingly.
  • If you have an injury or condition that limits your practice, be sure to communicate this clearly with the sensei before class, and with your training partners. Using tape on your gi or body part is a useful way to help your partner maintain awareness, for example, of a tight shoulder or tender wrist.
  • At the end of class, everyone pitches in for a few minutes to clean the Dojo. If you are not sure what to do to help, ask the sensei or another student.