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Aikido Etiquette

Black Belts
  • Before entering the dojo have your keikogi (training suit) on and your obi (belt) tied properly.  Just inside the dojo door, perform a standing bow towards the photograph of O Sensei (the founder of Aikido).  Go to the corner of the tatami (matted training area) and perform a kneeling bow, again to the photograph of O Sensei.

  • To perform the seated bow correctly, remain seated on your heels (seiza).  Place the left hand and then the right hand on the tatami in front of you so that the two thumbs and index fingers form a triangle.

  • When the Sensei (instructor) enters the dojo, all students should line up (in grade order) in seiza facing the photograph of O Sensei.

  • To start the class all the students will bow with the Sensei towards the photograph of O Sensei.  The Sensei will turn to the students and say“Onegaishimas” (please teach me, pronounced; on-ay-gayshi-mass) and bow, the class then returns the bow.

  • During the class, it is polite to perform a standing bow to your old and new partner.  If the instructor should teach you and your partner individually, it is proper to perform a bow afterwards.  While the instructor is working with your partner sit in seiza on the tatami.

  • Ensure that your keikogi remains tied properly during practice and that you remain adequately covered.

  • If you come to class late wait outside the dojo until the instructor is not demonstrating before entering.  Wait at the side of the tatami to ask Sensei’s permission to come onto the tatami, then perform the proper kneeling bow.

  • If you wish to leave early, it is polite to ask the Sensei for permission to leave the class.  Perform the proper kneeling bow when leaving the tatami.

  • At the end of the class line up in a straight line as at the start of the class.  The instructor will bow towards the students and say “Domo arigato gozaimasita” (thank you for teaching me, pronounced; doe-mow ary-garto go-sigh-ee-mash-ta) the class then returns the bow.

  • To leave the dojo, perform standing and kneeling bows in a similar manner to when entering the dojo but in reverse order.

  • Students should always wear zori (sandals) or some form of footwear to and from the tatami.

  • For the benefit of all, ensure that your keikogi is clean, in a good state of repair, finger and toenails are kept short, and long hair is tied back.  Keep a high standard of personal hygiene.

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