The manner in which an Aikidoka behaves on the mat can at times differ a bit from daily life. The etiquette is being respected though mainly in order to facilitate ease of mutual practice and to preserve the origin and tradition of Aikido. In this way, the appropriate conduct of a person is as much part of Aikido as the techniques taught. Therefore respect your environment and your fellow training partners and they will do the same to you.
- Please take your shoes of at the entrance to the dojo. On the mat, we are barefoot.
- Your outfit and body should be kept clean at all times. This also means toe- and fingernails are kept short, hair staked where necessary, jewelry taken off, hands and feet washed. The keiko-gi should be laundered regularly.
- Please don’t eat in the dojo.
- At the moment, we have to put the mats up before and accordingly down after training. Since you’re training on them as well, please help out with that.
- Make sure you take all your belongings with you after training. Please do not leave anything in the dojo.
- When you come to practice, you should be mentally receptive, physically well and adequately resilient.
- If you have to leave the tatami during practice, please inform the teacher.
- Inform your teacher immediately about any health impairments or injuries.
- Practice techniques with regard to the level and knowledge of your partner.
- You should be especially careful and attentive when using weapons (Bokken, Jo, Tanto) to avoid injuries.
- Practice times are like an agreement for mutual practice. Punctuality helps sticking to that agreement. You should allow for 15 minutes before class starts.
- When going on and off the mat, you bow.
- At the beginning and end of class, we’re doing a short meditation after which we bow.
- If you’re tardy for class, sit in seiza on the side of the tatami and wait for a sign of the teacher.
- During the presentation of a technique, the student can sit on his/her knees or cross-legged. After the explanation, bow in seiza.
- Don’t overly discuss techniques. Before you offer your corrections, the partner should have ample time to give it a try.
- At the end of class, we bow to our last training partner to thank him/her. This is substitutional for all training partners of the class.
In Japan, there is an idea that being faithful to yourself is being expressed in discipline, diligence, and orderliness. This doesn’t mean that self-abandonment is necessary to learn aikido, but simply that the inherent frame of a dojo is being observed and respected. This way you will profit the most from training. But the most important will always be: Treat others the same way you would like to be treated – with courtesy and respect. Then you will have lots of fun on the mat and a good time with your training partners.
When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.