The Nanaimo Aikikai Crest O-Sensei (Morihei Ueshiba) - Aikido's Founder
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Ai calligraphy by Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei - All rights belong to Aikido World Headquarters in Hombu JapanIn Aikido training, etiquette is as important as the study of physical techniques. Proper execution of the etiquette forms not only creates a good atmosphere in the dojo, but it also develops your intuition and awareness. You will not be expected to know all of the etiquette forms in the beginning, but you should try to observe and learn as many as possible before entry into the regular classes.

Rei (bowing): Bowing is a very important aspect of Japanese culture. In Aikido, we bow to show respect, honor and gratitude. There are two ways of bowing: from a kneeling position and from a standing position.

The kneeling bow is considered more formal and is performed:
(a) when fist stepping onto the mats, and when finally leaving the mats
(b) at the formal beginning and ending of class
(c) to your partner, when beginning and ending the practice of a technique
(d) to the instructor, after a demonstration.

The standing bow is performed:
(a) when entering and leaving the dojo
(b) when temporarily leaving and returning to the mats
(c) after receiving personal attention from the instructor. 

Etiquette for Practice:

    Be punctual: you should be changed and on the mats at least 10 minutes before the start of class. Take this time to warm up. When the senior student sits down to form the lineup, other students should quickly form a straight line, From higher to lower rank from right to left.

    If you are late: Get changed and do your own warm ups OFF THE MATS. When you are ready, sit quietly on the edge of the mats, bow to O'Sensei, and then remain sitting until Sensei (or the senior instructor), gives you permission to join the class.

    If you have to leave the mats during class: Ask the Sensei (or senior student if they are teaching) for permission. 

    Always be alert while on the mats: Careless practice can be dangerous and cause injury to yourself and others.

    Keep conversation to a minimum: During practice there should be no discussion of anything other than Aikido techniques. Try to learn with your eyes and body, and help each other with the appropriate body movements rather than with words. If it is necessary to speak, do so in a low voice.

    Do not teach fellow students: Unless specifically asked by the Sensei. Questions may be asked directly to the Sensei, or to one of the senior students.

    Hygiene is very important: Personal hygiene is a reflection of your respect and attitude toward Aikido, the Sensei, your fellow practitioners, and yourself. Keep your finger nails and toenails clean and short to minimize the chance of cutting yourself, other practitioners and mat surfaces. Keep your do-gi clean and wash it regularly.

    Do not wear jewelry during practice. Earings can be snagged on your partner's uniform and pulled off...ouch! Also do not wear make-up.

    If you become sick, overtired, or injured and cannot continue to practice: let your partner and the Sensei know before sitting off. If you just need a short rest, bow to your partner and to the Sensei, move to the edge of the mats and sit quietly watching the class until you are ready to resume practice.

    Wear thongs to and from the mats: This prevents dirt being tracked onto the mats by bear feet or from street shoes

    Page updated Mar. 3, 2007 by Glenn Chapman

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