Etiquette

Aikido evolved from the martial arts of feudal Japan, techniques that were designed to be dangerous, but by following a few basic guidelines the risk of accident and injury can be minimised. Some are also for hygiene purposes, and some are to create a pleasant training atmosphere.

Arriving at the Dojo

  • Remove shoes before stepping on the wooden area of the dojo, never, ever wear shoes on the mat.
  • Switch off mobile phones upon entering the dojo.
  • Make sure finger and toenails are kept short and clean, nail clippers are available!
  • Remove all jewellery, watches etc before stepping on the mat area

Before and After Stepping onto the Matted Area

  • When stepping onto or off the mat area, it is customary to rei (bow) to the mat area. This has the dual purpose of preventing people wandering on and off the mat without thinking (improving safety), and it satisfies Japanese tradition
  • Try to arrive on time! If you do arrive late, i.e. the class has begun, wait for permission to enter the matted area from the instructor.

The Beginning of Class

  • When the session starts and at the end, there is a line up before bowing to shomen and to the instructors- just follow the people with coloured belts on.
  • The highest grades kneel on the left, and the line goes down the grades until those with a white belt, and then on the very right end, those without a gi join.

During a Class

  • When a technique is being demonstrated, sit either in seiza or cross-legged. Pay complete attention to the instructor when demonstrating, but feel free to move to get a better view or to ask a question.
  • Always rei to your partner before and after practicing with them, it’s just polite.
  • Always stop when told.
  • Always stop if your partner taps out – this is probably the most important rule.
  • Keep the dojo clean and tidy- no food or drink on the mat, throw all litter in the bin etc.
  • Make sure you are in a generally clean and hygienic state – it sounds patronising but it can be unpleasant as aikido is a contact sport.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, we have limited space!
  • Treat everyone on the mat with respect, do not use foul language.
  • Enjoy yourself! You’ll pick up the routine quickly enough.



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