Proper Dojo Etiquette

Aikido is not a religion, but the education and refinement of the spirit. You will not be asked to adhere to any religious doctrine, but to only to remain spiritually open. When you bow to it is not a religious performance, but a sign of respect for the same spirit of universal creative intelligence within us all.


  • Upon entering and leaving the practice area of the dojo make a stading bow.

  • Always bow when stepping on or off the mat in the direction of the shomen.

  • Repect your training tools. Gi should be clean and mended. Weapons should be in good condidion and in the proper place when not in use.

  • Never use someone else's practice gi.

  • Never use or touch someone else's weapons (Iaito, bokken, etc.) without their permission.

  • It is important to be on time for the practice and participate in the opening ceremony. If you are late you should wait, formally seated beside the mat until the instruction signals his or her permission for you to join the class. Quietly perform a simple seated bow as you get on the mat.

  • The only proper way to sit on the mat is in seiza (formal sitting position). If you have a knee injury you may sit cross-legged, but never with legs outstretched, never reclining, and never leaning against walls or posts.

  • Do not leave the mat during class except in the case of injury or illness.

  • During class when the instructor demonstrates a technique for practice, sit quietly and attentivelly in seiza. After the demonstration bow to the instructor, then to a partner and immediately begin to practice.

  • When the end of a technique is signaled, stop immediately, bow to your partner and quickly line up with the other students.

  • Never stand around idly on the mat. You should be practicing or, if necessary, seated in seiza awaiting your turn.

  • If it is necessary to ask a question of the instructor you should go to him or her and bow respectfully (standing bow). Never call the instructor over to you.

  • When receiving personal instruction, sit in seiza and watch intenly. Bow formally when the intructor has finished. When another near by is being instructed you may stop your practice to watch. Sit formally and bow as before.

  • Respect those more experienced. Never argue about technique.

  • Respect those less experienced. Do not pressure your ideas on others.

  • If you understand the movement and are working with someone who does not, you may lead that person through it. Do not attempt to correct or instruct your training partner unless you are authorized to do so.

  • Keep talking on the mat to an absolute minimum. Aikido is experience.

  • Fingernails and toenails mus be short. Feet must be clean. Shoes or sandals are never allowed on the mat.

  • No eating, dringking, smoking or gum chewing on or off the mat during practice.

  • No jewelry should be worn during practice, including rings and pierced earrings.


    You are welcome to sit and watch a class at any time, but the following rules of etiquette must be followed.

  • Sit respectfully, never with legs propped up on the furniture or in the reclining position.

  • Do not talk to anyone while they are on the mat and class is in progress.

  • Do not walk or talk around while the instructor is demonstrating or during the opening and closing ceremony.