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rottunpunk 03-05-2006 06:10 AM

ettiquette question
im thinking of stuff for future iai grading essays and this question came up so i thought i might quiz you guys on it if thats ok?

If you were a guest in a club (not teaching just training) where abouts would you line up for bowing etc.?
right at the bottom, at the bottom of ones own grades, or your grade place?
im guessing its for the sensei or instructor to invite you to your position in the line, is this correct?


Mark Uttech 03-05-2006 06:15 AM

Re: ettiquette question
I would observe or ask... It is ok to make a mistake.

Dirk Hanss 03-05-2006 09:00 AM

Re: ettiquette question
If you have to ask, ask. It just shows, that you are not very far on your DO, but you know, where you are.
Otherwise just feel where you belong to and line up in that place. If you miss your place a little bit, it is as good as the first one. It you hit the right place it is probably luck (or you do not need to practise aikido any longer ;) ).
If you are totally misplace you should humbly accept that you are just a beginner in touching the spirit, regardless of your grading.

Simple hint: Do not line up as the first one, nor as the last one, as there might be no space. Look for someone, who you think of being similar grade as you and sit close to him/her. If the dojo has an order, you are probably not bad, if they don't you cannot be bad either. And if they insist that guests have to stay in the left rear corner, it is not your fault.


giriasis 03-05-2006 09:42 AM

Re: ettiquette question
Ask a member of the dojo what the line up procedures are. In our dojo, it's simple because we do not line up according to rank. If they don't ask, and if I see a visitor standing back to line up in a "second" line I waive them up to the main line. And the only place in our dojo that's "reserved" is during seminars when our sensei will sit all the way to the left of the line. And he doesn't care if a day one newbie is sitting next to him and the next person is a yondan or godan.

Lyle Bogin 03-05-2006 01:09 PM

Re: ettiquette question
I'd ask.

MaryKaye 03-05-2006 06:05 PM

Re: ettiquette question
I usually pick someone friendly-looking as soon as I arrive and make him or her my "local guide." Saves lots of embarrasment. But I still haven't encountered a dojo that actually lined up by rank (or if I have, I was totally oblivious).

The one that always catches me is bowing to the shomen: one bow? two? how many claps? But no one reasonably expects a guest to get this exactly right.

Mary Kaye

Nick Simpson 03-06-2006 03:52 AM

Re: ettiquette question
I'd sit at the bottom of the line, until told to do otherwise.

UnholyFracas 03-06-2006 04:46 AM

Re: ettiquette question
I'd sit at the bottom of the line. I might be an Aikido god (ah hahahahahahhaa *cough*) elsewhere, but I'm new to this class/dojo/Sensei whatever my grade! :)

rottunpunk 03-06-2006 08:49 AM

Re: ettiquette question
thanks for the comments.
they have been very informative.

the essays just in the pipeline at the moment, and ill probably do it on making tsubas in the end anyways, but ill let you know how i get on.

cheers again

Trish Greene 03-06-2006 10:25 AM

Re: ettiquette question
In respect and humility I would sit at the end of the line and let the practice show my skills.

Each instructor has a skill that you should be able to determine and pick up on that is new for you to learn..

Robert Cheshire 03-06-2006 11:20 AM

Re: ettiquette question
Tell the Head Sensei "Excuse me, I believe you're in my seat!" THAT is a surefire way to be told where to go ;)

In truth I would introduce myself to the instructor at the start and give a brief background of me (rank, style, teacher). I would then proceed to sit at the end of the line. The sensei can then choose to move me up or let me stay there. You know what you are.

I have seen the grandson of the creator our art sit at the end of a black belt line when he knew VERY well that he was ranked higher than other people there (modest and wouldn't move up when told (more or less) "hey, you out rank me you should go before me." He has replied that's ok, I know what rank I am or something very similar. He was in his early 20's at the time and I rember that being a very mature and humble remark.

Qatana 03-06-2006 03:21 PM

Re: ettiquette question
Ive only ever seen a dojo line up by rank once and if I had been training would have ended up in the wrong place in line anyway as that dojo had a vastly different belt color system than mine does.Everywhere I've trained just lined up however you end up.
Seems like our oldest member always sits nearest the door, I guess to mislead potential dojo-busters who wouldn't worry about the little old man next to the door.
The little old 4th dan old man...

giriasis 03-06-2006 07:35 PM

Re: ettiquette question
I've been in two dojos that line up according to rank. With one, which is within our association, I was politely told where to sit. They are very formal in their dojo and their are pre-set spots where each rank sits. The other was an independant dojo and I just wore a white belt (as stated on their website[they have a colored belt system]) and just sat at the end of the line. Even within our association things are different. At big seminars (at least what I have seen at Winter Camp) usually the black belts will sit in front and whites a little back, but no one will say anything to you if you, as a white belt, line up with all the black.

Karen Wolek 03-06-2006 07:53 PM

Re: ettiquette question
Once at a big seminar, I was in the second line and my sensei was in the front line. There ended up being an empty space in front, next to him. He turned and gestured for me to move up. Heh. I did, of course. I guess it's not cool to have an empty gap in the line.

I don't think it matters at big seminars; I just think the dans want to sit in front and the kyus are a little more "timid". I have sat in the front line many times since then.

I have never trained at a dojo that lined up according to rank, but if I ever do, I'll just be sure to ask.

Dajo251 03-06-2006 08:30 PM

Re: ettiquette question
We line up roughly by rank in my dojo, its nothing overly complicated as long as the highest rank is at the far right its ok, and the new people generaly sit far left

nathansnow 03-06-2006 08:30 PM

Re: ettiquette question
I've visited several dojos in which I was just a guest and not a member of their organization. I always wore a white belt (no matter what belt I was at my own dojo) and sat at the very end of the line. This has served me well and I will continue to do it in the future.

Nick Simpson 03-07-2006 05:56 AM

Re: ettiquette question
Like I said, I'll sit at the bottom, cos I just dont really care. I've been told I've got 'no grade' when at others dojos, so fine...practise shows true spirit, not belts.

Pauliina Lievonen 03-07-2006 09:14 AM

Re: ettiquette question
We line up roughly according to rank, the main thing is that hakamas all sit together, people in keikogi but no hakama in the middle and people in t-shirts and sweats in the other end so it's all neat like. :) Visitors usually end up somewhere mixed with the group that dresses like they do.

The problem I've had as couple of times while visiting is that it's not always obvious where the bottom of the line is! :D


Josh Reyer 03-07-2006 11:13 AM

Re: ettiquette question
Interestingly, at my main dojo we don't line up according to rank, but more like free-form staggered columns. My instructor tells new people and non-ranked folk to sit in the front, to see better. The kids class before the adult class does line-up, but it seems to be a mixed bag.

At the other dojo I've trained at, they did line-up according to rank. But at the beginner's class I participated in at Aikikai Hombu, everyone lined up where there was space. I tried to place myself at the end of the line, but a hakama'd fellow lined-up to the left me anyway.

In traditional Japanese etiquette, the basic rule of thumb is that the guest always takes the humblest position, and the host always tries to exalt the guest. So when you enter a house, and the host tells you to sit down, you choose the shimoza 下座 "low seat", the seat facing the tokonoma or (similar shelf) and closest to the entrance. But, when you are the host, you are supposed to tell your guest to sit in the kamiza 上座 "high seat", the seat nearest to the tokonoma and farthest from the entrance.

This would translate to the dojo as a guest choosing to sit at the end of the line, unless invited to sit elsewhere by the instructor.

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