Dojo Etiquette

Entering the Dojo

Have your keikogi (top) on and obi (belt) tied PROPERLY. Just inside the door, perform a bow towards the photograph of O'Sensei. Go to the corner of the tatami (mat) and perform a kneeling bow, again towards the photograph of O'Sensei.

The Bow

Remain seated on your heels. Place the left hand 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, or appointed instructor enters the dojo all members should line up in the sitting position facing the photograph of O'Sensei.

Starting Class

All bow with Sensei towards the photograph of O'Sensei, then return Sensei's bow, saying "Onegaishimas" ("Please teach me"). Follow his lead during warm-up exercises.

During Class

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, kneel on the tatami.

Make sure your keikogi remains tied properly during practice and that you remain adequately covered.

Coming Late to Class / Leaving Early

Wait before entering or leaving the dojo until the instructor is not demonstrating. Wait at the side of the tatami to ask Sensei's permission to come onto the tatami. Perform the proper kneeling bow.

When leaving early go to Sensei and ask permission to leave the class. Perform the proper kneeling bow before leaving the tatami.

When indicated by Sensei, line up, in a straight line, as at the start of class. Bow to Sensei. It is polite to say "Domo arigato gozaimashita" ("Thank you"). Allow Sensei to leave the tatami first. It is also polite to thank your partners.

Leaving the Dojo

Perform kneeling and standing bows in a similar manner to when entering the dojo, but in reverse order.

Wear zori (footwear) to and from the tatami.

Wash your keikogi at least once a week. Keep it in a good state of repair.

Also, make sure that finger nails and toenails are short and long hair is tied back.

Keep a high standard of personal hygiene.

Take pride in your dojo. Five minutes from each member before every practice will help to maintain the dojo in a clean, neat condition.

- Instructions taken from the British Aikido Federation membership book.