Dojo Etiquette by Monica Tschochner

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dojo Etiquette:

The etiquette is relevant for beginners, advanced students, and teachers. The etiquette includes politeness, good behaviour, hierarchy, respect and gratitude. Several aspects from the etiquette originate from the Japanese tradition and the history of martial arts.

Always consider that your partner is a human being. Treat him or her with respect and consideration and do not force any techniques on them.


Be on time for training. Training starts with the putting down of the mats (Freemantle) or cleaning of the mat area.


Bow towards the Kamiza when entering and leaving the practice room (Dojo), as well as entering and leaving the Tatami.


We usually train in a white Gi (jacket and pants). Your training outfit should always be clean and hygienic.


If you are feeling unwell never leave the mat by yourself. Tell somebody immediately, and ensure the instructor knows. Somebody will escort you from the mat.


Should there be reasons to make leaving the training space necessary (e.g. for going to the toilet, or a drink) please inform the instructor.


Your finger and toe nails where possible should be cut short, or if you have long nails please be aware of them when training 


Please make sure to have clean feet before you enter the mat. Don't walk outside without shoes.


Don’t wear jewellery, watches or rings during training (Piercings can be taped with sports tape if they cannot be removed).


During training, focus on the here and now, on the techniques shown. Try to keep chatting to a minimum.


Respect your teacher (Sensei) and the advanced students (Sempai) and listen carefully.


Before and after each exercise, bow to your partner.


If your teacher comments or corrects one of your movements, try to understand the background of it. It is polite to bow to the teacher if you received help.


Help the less advanced students and beginners (Kohei) with the techniques and the etiquette.


Never sit with your back to the Kamiza (also when folding the Hakama)


Don’t sit on the Tatami with your legs stretched out, with the soles of the feet facing the Kamiza and do not lean against the wall


When you train, try not to use the first 1.5 mats in front of the Kamiza when possible.


Keep your emotions under control; avoid disdain of others and an exaggeration of your ego.


When using weapons during training bow with the weapon towards the Kamiza before the first and after the last use of it.


The correct sitting technique is the seiza where you kneel with straight upper body. If you do have knee problems, you can also choose to sit cross legged.


Enjoy your training! Remember Aikido is a complicated martial art and will take a while to understand. Don't expect to know everything in the first few months. Your seniors are there to help you develop your understanding, as your juniors will expect help from you themselves one day.


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