Our Dojo

TRADITIONAL DOJO ETIQUETTE AND PROTOCOL


Proper manners and rules should be obeyed while following the teachings of one’s instructor. Students follow these precise rules of conduct once they step on the tatami (training mat) – a form of ceremony that has been adopted from the martial customs of Japan and which is adhered to by practitioners of most Japanese martial arts today.

A comprehensive list of these very important and practical instructions follows below:

  • A standing bow is performed when entering or leaving the dojo and a (preferrably) seated bow is performed when stepping onto, or leaving the mat

  • Students may spend the time that they are waiting for the instructor by stretching, exercising or in meditation. This is to rid one’s mind of the day’s anxiety and to prepare for study. A few minutes before practice is to begin, you should be warmed up, seated formally and in quiet contemplation, ready for the instructor to arrive

  • The class is opened and closed with a formal ceremony. It is important to be on time and to participate in this ceremony. If you are unavoidably late, you should wait, formally seated beside the mat, until the instructor signals permission for you to join the class. Perform a formal seated bow as you get on the mat. It is most important that you do not disrupt the class in doing so

  • The proper way to sit on the mat is in seiza. If for any reason you cannot sit this way, sit with your legs crossed and discuss your problem with the instructor

  • At the beginning and at the end of each class, the insructor and students bow to the kamiza. Then the instructor and students bow respectfully to each other, before bowing to their practic partners. Class starts with “ONE GAISHIMASU” (please teach me) and finishes with “DOMO ARIGATO GOZAIMASU” (thank you very much).

  • On the mat the instructor is addressed as “SENSEI”

  • Practice should be serious and sincere, but should not inflict injury on others

  • Harmony should be respected and practice should be bright

  • Talking on the mat should be absolutely restricted. Aikido is learned by experience

  • Do not attempt to correct or instruct your training partner. You are here for practice. Do not force your ideas on others. If you know the movement being studied and are working with someone who does not, you may lead the person through it

  • Respect those who are more experienced. Never argue about technique

  • Do not leave the mat during practice except in the case of injury or illness. If you must leave the mat for personal reasons, request the sensei’s permission before doing so

  • Although it is important to discipline and push your body to discover your limits, it is permissible to rest if necessary. Do so by moving to the edge of the mat and sit in seiza until you are able to re-join the class

  • During class, when the instructor demonstrates a technique for practice, you should sit quietly and attentively in seiza. After the demonstration, bow to the instructor and then to a partner in close proximity and begin practicing the technique

  • During class, practicing of techniques is normally done in pairs, with sempai taking four turns as nage and then four as uke. If there are an odd number of students in the class, a group of three may be formed, with practice proceeding in turn by two’s.

  • When the end of a technique is signalled, stop immediately. Bow to your partner and quickly line up with the other students

  • Never stand around idly on the mat. You should be practicing or, if necessary, seated formally, awaiting your turn

  • If for some reason it is absolutely necessary to ask a question of the instructor, go to him or her (never call out), bow respectfully and wait for acknowledgement. A standing bow is acceptable

  • When receiving personal instruction during class, sit in seiza, watch intently and acknowledge with a bow after a technique has been demonstrated. When the instructor is instructing another, you may stop your practice to watch. Sit formally and bow when he or she has finished.

  • Be safe and respect your training partners: short nails, no jewellery, no shoes

  • Show consideration for your training equipment: gi should be clean and mended. Weapons should be in good condition and in their proper place when not in use. Never use someone else’s gi or weapons without permission

  • It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the dojo clean. All should participate to ensure a hygienic place of training give a hand to sweep the tatami and clean the dojo before/after class. Sandals are worn off the mat.

  • No eating, drinking, smoking, or gum chewing on or off the mat during practice, nor on the mat at any time. Never drink alcoholic beverages while still wearing keiko-gi.

  • Respond to new situations with common sense.