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Old 03-18-2003, 09:59 PM   #1
Dojo: New York Aikikai; Byakkokan Dojo (Toyama Ryu Battodo)
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 71
a couple etiquette questions

1) Toes in seiza. I swear I heard somewhere that it's supposed to be right big toe over left, except for women, but I have been unable to verify this. Right over left makes sense, because if you had to get up quickly, you'd start with your right foot to ease in sword-drawing. Why would it be different for women? Am I misinformed? Did I imagine this?

2) Lining up. Every school I've been to lines up at least roughly by rank, but which way seems to vary. Some schools align by placement of the door, with the lower ranks closest to the door (presumably, this is so if the school is attacked by perhaps a rival school, the higher ranking members will have a chance to observe the enemy's style as they wipe out the less experienced students). Other schools seem to be more concerned with seating the Yudansha to the right.

Picky questions, I know, but I haven't been able to get them answered anywhere else. Insights?

Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 03-18-2003, 10:15 PM   #2
Jake McKee
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 27
1) In Yoshinkan, the left big toe is over the right big toe in seiza. I've never heard of anything different for women.

Jake McKee
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Old 03-18-2003, 11:03 PM   #3
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,003
1) I personally don't cross my toes in seiza.

2) We don't line up by rank at our dojo.

-- Jun

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Old 03-19-2003, 12:41 AM   #4
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240
I don't cross my toes at all -- I like to have my options open Left-over-right was, more or less, a sign of respect, because you were assuring your company that you were not going to draw your sword.

Lining up is generally a case-by-case thing too I've found. Personally, I like to sit dead center if possible, simply so I can hear better.

These are the things you'll get used to as you visit more dojos and you'll just know to look for them.


Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 03-19-2003, 01:09 AM   #5
Dojo: samourais,Eindhoven
Location: the Netherlands
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 31
I have to second Jun and add that I never been to a dojo where toe crossing was an issue or line-up by rank was customary.

However, I have had some comment by one person on the colour of the top I wear under my gi. The top should be white instead of the black I wear during normal class for practical reasons. To avoid offending anyone (especially Japanese teachers) I wear white tops during seminars but I have no idea if there is a rule about that sort of thing.


I haven't failed, I have found 10.000 ways that won't work.
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Old 03-19-2003, 02:03 AM   #6
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Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
The only time toe crossing was an issue is when I went for my Judo Shodan. The Shodan was issued to anyone who completed the seminar but to get there you had to fight to get on the mat and stay there for two more. Basically three matches in less than 10 minutes against some very hungry young men.

Well I did that besides a small hangover (keep those disapproving looks to yourself) and to the heart of the story a split open big toe. You know the kind, after enough tsugi ashi the skin builds up and up and then splits.

So before we learnt the required waza they went over how to sit in seiza which, apparently does require an overlapping of toes. And apparently, split toe or not, I was going to have to do it. I spent about 2 hours leaking away and seriously regretting the entire day. I suppose I could have managed better if it was all in one go but every time we sat down, my toes were checked. Sadists they were, sadists.

In all my time in Aikido, never been an issue.

Lining up by rank, our yudansha do, more precisely as the rank goes up. Most senior furthest away from the door but for all I know it may be just a left to right thing or so that anyone late doesn't have to go round. Brown belts sit one row back and the rest in a third line - no particular order. My advice is look around and err on the side of caution.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-19-2003, 02:15 AM   #7
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Dojo: Seibukan Aikido UK
Location: body in UK, heart still in Japan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,031
Varies from dojo to dojo. I've never been reprimanded for not crossing my toes (I don't because it is too uncomfortable and gives me cramp)and I've never been told that it is neccessary, have seen some do it and some not.

Lining up in order, I've been to dojo'd where they start on the left going down in order, others where they start on the righ, others where they sit wherever they can find a space (including the Aikikai Hombu).

Take your pick



A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:31 AM   #8
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Crossing toes:

I was told that the big toes should touch or cross right over left.

Lining up:

I've been told and read that the formal way is to line up by rank from joseki (right hand side of dojo if facing kamiza) to shimoseki (left hand side...) with the highest ranks furthest to the right.

The only time we follow this is at the beginning of class. During class and at the end you sit wherever is closest.

I was also told that when instructing and turning to do the bow to kamiza that you should always turn toward the junior students as these are the ones who can't be trusted to not attack you


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-19-2003, 07:58 AM   #9
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
I have never heard of the crossing the toes thing, but obviously it is the style in some organizations.

As to lining up order; as fast as you can. Actually, I've seen it as Bronson describes, but the only way I've seen it in my own dojo is that you line up as quickly as possible without regard to rank, with the exception of the sensei (if s/he is training) who is off to the left and a bit back and distant from the line (and this goes for high-ranking visiting teachers as well).


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Old 03-19-2003, 10:09 AM   #10
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erikmenzel's Avatar
Dojo: Koshinkai Leeuwarden
Location: Leeuwarden
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 594
Toe crossing I only do because it sits more comfortable for me.

In our dojo we only line up in an order at the beginning and at the end of a class: Hakama and non-hakama's, thus giving nice blue/black next to white.

The more advanced students (who thus have a greater responsibility in the dojo) are then closer to the door, the place that might require their attention (guest, visitors etc)

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 03-19-2003, 10:45 AM   #11
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Dojo: Satori Dojo
Location: Bogotá - Colombia
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 109
In our Dojo we do the same about lining up as Rachel and Bronson said. it is also made in the same way in many countries for the military lines,... higer to the right (maybe also en ancient japan, Samurais did in that way). In some way Aikido brings military items to our dojos!,..what do you think?

César Martínez
Satori Dojo
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