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Old 10-22-2013, 11:16 AM   #40
amoeba
Dojo: Aikido Netzwerk
Location: Düsseldorf, NRW
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 80
Germany
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Re: How respectful is the atmosphere in your dojo?

I think in Europe (at least in Germany, Scandinavia and France - can't really speak for the rest), training's generally a lot less formal than in the States or Japan.

I'd say our place has quite a respectful atmosphere - nobodys putting anybody down, everyone shows genuine interest in what the teacher's showing, people are working together (not blocking)...

Formality-wise, I guess we're somewhere in the middle (for Germany. I guess in the States we'd count as horribly informal). We bow in and out, we say onegaishimasu and thank you - the latter sometimes in German, sometimes in Japanese. We try to come in on time and if we're late, we sit, wait for the teacher to acknowledge us and bow in. I've trained in other dojos where that, for instance, isn't done, you just join. We sit in seiza or crosslegged, don't lean against the wall, don't point our feet at the shomen.

Most of the rest, though - nobody really cares how we stand when the teacher explains something, whatever's comfortable as long as we're watching and listening. Hands on hips or crossed arms aren't considered disrespectful (though I know better than to do it on an Endo seminar ). The teacher normally goes around explaining things to couples all the time, the rest of us is just supposed to train on. Otherwise, you'd never get to train at all. Oh, and we don't line up according to rank.
Also, we call our teacher by his first name (on and off the mat), never use the word sensei (unless talking about japanese teachers) whoever has the longest legs tends to sit in front in the car, regardless of rank - generally, off the mat, rank isn't considered important at all.
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