Proper observance of etiquette is as much a part of your training as
is learning techniques. In many cases observing proper etiquette
requires one to set aside one's pride or comfort. Nor should matters
of etiquette be considered of importance only in the dojo. Standards
of etiquette may vary somewhat from one dojo or organization to
another, but the following guidelines are nearly universal. Please
take matters of etiquette seriously.
- When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction
of O-sensei's picture, the kamiza, or the front of the dojo. You should also
bow when entering or leaving the mat.
- No shoes on the mat.
- Be on time for class. Students should be lined up and seated in seiza
approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class. If you do
happen to arrive late, sit quietly in seiza on the edge of the mat until the
instructor grants permission to join practice.
- If you should have to leave the mat or dojo for any reason during class,
approach the instructor and ask permission.
- Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of O-sensei. Also,
do not lean against the walls or sit with your legs stretched out. (Either
sit in seiza or cross-legged.)
- Remove watches, rings and other jewelry before practice as they may catch
your partner's hair, skin, or clothing and cause injury to oneself or one's
- Do not bring food, gum, or beverages onto the mat. It is also considered
disrespectful in traditional dojo to bring open food or beverages into the
- Please keep your fingernails (and especially one's toenails) clean and
- Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is
should be restricted to one topic - Aikido. It is particularly impolite to
talk while the instructor is addressing the class.
- If you are having trouble with a technique, do not shout across the room
to the instructor for help. First, try to figure the technique out by
watching others. Effective observation is a skill you should strive to
develop as well as any other in your training. If you still have trouble,
approach the instructor at a convenient moment and ask for help.
- Carry out the directives of the instructor promptly. Do not keep the
rest of the class waiting for you!
- Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during
- Keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of offensive
- Please pay your membership dues promptly. If, for any reason, you are
unable to pay your dues on time, talk with the person in charge of dues
collection. Sometimes special rates are available for those experiencing
- Change your clothes only in designated areas (not on the mat!).
- Remember that you are in class to learn, and not to gratify your ego. An
attitude of receptivity and humility (though not obsequiousness) is
- It is usually considered polite to bow upon receiving assistance or
correction from the instructor.
- During class, if the instructor is assisting a group in your vicinity,
it is frequently considered appropriate to suspend your own training so that
the instructor has adequate room to demonstrate.