Dojo Etiquette

Entering Dojo.  When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction of sensei’s picture, the kamiza, or the front of the dojo. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat.  No shoes on the mat.

Promptness.  Be on time for class. Students should be lined up and seated in seiza approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class. If you do happen to arrive late, sit quietly in seiza on the edge of the mat until the instructor grants permission to join practice.

Proper Sitting.  Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of Sensei. Also, do not lean against the walls or sit with your legs stretched out. (Either sit in seiza or cross-legged.)

Leaving the Mat.  If you should have to leave the mat or dojo for any reason during class, approach the instructor and ask permission.

Personal Effects.  Remove watches, rings and other jewellery before practice as they may catch your partner’s hair, skin, or clothing and cause injury to oneself or one’s partner.

Food and Drinks.  Do not bring food, gum, or beverages onto the mat.

Personal Hygiene.  Please keep your fingernails (and especially one’s toenails) clean and cut short.  Keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of offensive odours.

Silent Way.  Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to one topic – Aikido. It is particularly impolite to talk while the instructor is addressing the class.  Learn by doing.  Show by example.  If you are having trouble with a technique, do not shout across the room to the instructor for help. First, try to figure the technique out by watching others. Effective observation is a skill you should strive to develop as well as any other in your training. If you still have trouble, approach the instructor at a convenient moment and ask for help.

Safety.  Aikido practice is fun and safe.  Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during class.  Remember, Aikido is not about muscle or stiffness.

You are not the instructor. Even if you have been training for many years you should never assume the role of instructor. If your partner is having difficulty encourage then to relax, then as Uke guide them by being cooperative and taking things slowly. Kokikai training demands that the intensity of training (as partners) will be decided through the ability and comfort of the least developed person. The nature of Aikido greatly governs this. Sensei Maruyama and common sense  insist that we take care of each other.

Dues.  Please pay your membership dues promptly. If, for any reason, you are unable to pay your dues on time address your instructor with this issue before engaging in your training.

Positive Attitude.  Remember that you are in class to learn, and not to gratify your ego. An attitude of receptivity and humility (though not obsequiousness) is therefore advised.  As one Buddhist monk said, “make yourselves empty vessels.”

Addressing Instructor.  It is usually considered polite to bow and say “thank you” upon receiving assistance or correction from the instructor. Always stop and listen if the instructor starts to address you or your training partner/ group.

Instructor Space.  During class, if the instructor is assisting a group in your vicinity, it is considered appropriate to suspend your own training so that the instructor has adequate room to demonstrate.

Dojo Prep.  There are several tasks inherent to the smooth running of a dojo. It would be helpful if students would sweep the mats. Perhaps there may be some training equipment that needs to brought into the Dojo. If you see something that needs doing (e.g. sweeping the mat, welcome guests, etc.), do it. Don’t wait to be asked.