Dojo rules Bow with Jo ( Rizurei, Dzarei)
Rules for spectators Bow with Bokken ( Rizurei, Dzarei)
Remember Folding a Kimono (Gi)
Greetings (rituals) at the start and the end of a training Folding a Hakama
Anatomy of a Dojo Tying a belt (Obi)
Bow from a standing position (Rizurei) Putting on a Hakama
Bow from Seiza (Dzarei) The hakama and 7th principles of Bushido

 

    Dojo rules

  1. When you enter or leave the place for training (called Dojo) you must greet with Rei (bow) standing towards the Shomen facing the Dojo.
  2. Every time you step on the Tatami or get off it you must bow towards the Shomen and the Sensei.
  3. The Dojo is a place for developing your mind, body and soul. It is not a place for demonstration of physical strength. You must be careful with your partners.
  4. You must respect the founder of Aikido and his teaching. You must respect your Sensei, the Dojo and the weapons you train with. You must respect each other.
  5. Everyone has different physical qualities and abilities as well as different reasons to study and train Aikido. You must respect them.
  6. Doing Aikido every student takes the moral responsibility not to hurt or harm other people. Aikido is to create not to destroy.
  7. You must keep your partner and yourself safe. It is every aikidoka's responsibility not to hurt or harm the others.
  8. Every student must keep the Dojo and their own Gi (a training costume) clean and tidy.
  9. You must change your clothes in the place used for that (changing room) not in the Dojo.
  10. You can't sit with your back to the Shomen, lean against the walls or columns in the Dojo.
  11. You must enter the Dojo dressed in a tidy Gi (a training costume) with an embroidered patch with the name of the club on it. (Beginners can wear something different).
  12. You must take off all your jewellery and accessories in order to keep safe during trainings. For the same reason, you mustn't have long nails and wear your hair loose.
  13. You must turn off your mobile phone when you enter the Dojo. Only the Sensei and people with urgent duties can leave their mobile phones on (but only after the Sensei's permission). In these cases the phone call is made out of the Dojo not to disturb the practitioners. After the phone call you must wait for permission to get in.
  14. The Dojo can't be used for another purpose but training.
  15. Respect the place for training (the Dojo). Your Gi (a training costume) must be neat, clean and tidy. Weapons must be kept in a good condition and put in place if they aren't used during the trainings.
  16. Five minutes before the training starts after a short individual warm-up you must sit in Seiza in the row with the others being at the same level and concentrated in Zen Shin. This will help you to clean your mind, get rid of the daily routine and concentrate on the training.
  17. The training starts and finishes with a traditional ceremony in which every practitioner must take part. Those who are late must wait in Seiza beside the Tatami until the Sensei gives them a sign to join the others. Getting on the Tatami must be followed by Rei (a bow) without distracting the others.
  18. You must sit on the Tatami in Seiza. You can sit cross legged only if your knee hurts. You mustn't stretch your legs forward or sit leaning against the wall. It is not ethical.
  19. You can leave the Tatami during training only after the Sensei's permission.
  20. When the Sensei shows or explains techniques during trainings you must sit in Seiza, be quiet and listen to him/her very carefully. After the end of the explanations bow to your Sensei and then to your partner and continue training.
  21. During trainings you must practice only what the Sensei has shown.
  22. You must observe strict hierarchy in the Dojo.
  23. Respect those who have trained more than you. Never argue about techniques. Remember you are in the Dojo to train not to express your own opinion.
  24. You must be ready at any moment. Watch carefully even if you are not training at the moment and don' t get distracted.
  25. When the Sensei gives a signal you must stop training at once and take your place in the row with the others very fast.
  26. Don't walk around on the Tatami before or after the training. The Tatami is only used for training.
  27. If you need to ask the Sensei for something never call him/her. Approach him/her bow and wait until he/she turns to you.
  28. During trainings when the Sensei shows or explains something personally to you, listen to him/her very carefully sitting in Seiza. After the end of the explanations don't forget to thank the Sensei. If you get interested in the explanations which the Sensei gives to the other students you can stop the technique and watch in Seiza. After the end of the explanations remember to bow to the Sensei.
  29. If you know a technique and your partner does not you'd better avoid making comments or correcting him/her especially in case you are not Yudansha (black belt).
  30. During trainings you mustn't talk to each other.
  31. At the end of the training you must bow to everyone you have trained with in order to show respect.
  32. Everyone must be responsible for cleaning and tidying the Tatami.
  33. Practitioners who have drunk alcohol are not allowed in the Dojo. Chewing a gum during trainings is not allowed either.
  34. The monthly fee gives you an opportunity for studying and training. Paying the fee in time shows respect to your Sensei.
  35. Rules for Spectators

    You can attend trainings as a spectator at any time. However, you need to observe certain rules:

    • Your behaviour in the Dojo shows your attitude to Aikido. Don't take liberties.
    • You must turn off your mobile phones entering the Dojo.
    • Don't distract the students who are training by talking to them.
    • Don't talk or walk around the Dojo while the Sensei is explaining something.
    • Don't stretch your legs over the Tatami or step with shoes on it.
    • Respect the martial art's ceremonies at the beginning and the end of the training by standing up.
    • You can use cameras or camcorders only after the Sensei's permission.

     

     

     

     

    Remember

    You must follow strictly these rules for your safety and successful studying of Aikido.
    Aikido is not a religion. Aikido is a way of educating the spirit. You don't need to believe in any religion - you only need to keep your spirit pure.
    Rei (the bow) which is done in Aikido has no religious meaning. Rei is the sign of respect to the unified spirit of the world creative mind which lives in everyone of us. A special ceremony called Dzarei (a bow in a sitting position) is performed towards the Shomen at the beginning and the end of every training. An exchange of bows between the Sensei and the students follows. The bow towards the Shomen is done to show respect to the spirit and principles of Aikido. It also manifests gratification to the founder of Aikido for the invented and developed system of spiritual education and training methodology.
    Etiquette and customs exists in our life in order to ease communication between people and to lessen the risk of misunderstanding. However, more important role these rules have in a society which lives following them. A society where the principlesofhonour and the strict social order are the only ones to stop violence. Allowingto keep the situation under control the etiquette very often turns out to be the thin line between life and death.

     

     

    Greetings (rituals) at the start and the end of a training

    A very precise ceremonial is followed before the beginning and the ending of every training in a traditional Aikido dojo. At the start of the training the students are lined up in a row, in Seiza, faicing the Shomen; with the student having the highest rank - Sempai (Instructor-assistant) standing on the far right side. The rest of the students stand in a position from the Sempai to the left, arranged from a higher to a lower rank. The Sempai says loudly the commands, which must be performed by everyone in the Dojo. When the training starts Sensei stands in Seiza facing the Shomen. As he bows the Sempai gives the commands: Shomen ni rei - A bow to the Shomen. All the students bow simultaneously. After that the Sensei turns around facing the students and the Sempai gives commands: Sensei ni rei. While bowing all the students say the words: Onegeishimasu - I welcome you to train with me! or literally: I make a request!). Everything is repeated again at the end of the training. The only difference is in the words: Sensei ni rei, with the second bow, which are said after the commands. Then everyone says: Domo arigato godzaimashita - Thank you very much! After that the Sensei stands up and leaves the Tatami, while the students are still in Seiza. After the Sensei leaves the Tatami, the Sempai gives commands Otogai ni rei, and the students bow. This is the bow for all who train in the Dojo, regardless the rank and the grades.

    Commands and bows at the start and end of a training:

    MOCUSO - The time of about 2 minutes for meditation. The purpose of it is to achieve inner peace, to forget all problems, to concentrate on Hara, to breathe the right way. (Close the eyes, meditation!)
    SHOMEN NI REI - A bow (greeting) to the Shomen. (Bow to the Shomen!)
    SENSEI NI REI - A bow (greeting) to the instructor. (Bow to the Sensei!)
    SEMPAI NI REI - A bow (greeting) to the instructor-assistant. (Bow to the Sempai!)
    OTOGAI NI REI - A bow (greeting) between the students. (Bow to each other!)
    KIRITZU - Standing in upright position. (Stand upright! Stand up!)
    ONEGEISHIMASU - I welcome you to train with me! or literally I make a request to you!
    DOMO ARIGATO GODZAIMASHITA - Thank you very much!

     

    Anatomy of a Dojo

     


    The most important part of a dojo is Kamiza. It is the place reserved for Kami, situated on the platform. In monasteries it is the altar or Butsuden - with some symbols like offerings, adornments, photographs, Gaku or calligraphy with Kanji, representing some kind of an ideal, etc. This is the place designated for the masters, guests of honour or the instructor. There he/she usually observes the course of the Kata, the exams, demonstrations, etc. Students must never turn their backs to the Kamiza during the demonstrations.
    Opposite the Kamiza is Shimoza or the lower rank side. It is intended for the students where they bow to the instructor.
    On the left side of the Kamiza is Shimoseki or the side for the lower rank students and on the right - Joseki or the side for the upper rank students. Before and after the lesson students should aline in order of rank from upper to lower, starting from Joseki to Shimoseki.
    Before and after the lesson students should aline in order of rank from upper to lower, starting from Joseki to Shimoseki.
    In case a special ceremony is performed in front of the Kamiza the instructor is on the side called Joseki and the students are opposite him/her on Shimoseki.

     

    Bow from a standing position (Rizurei)


    Ritsurei is a bow from a standing position. This is the most commonly used bow before entering and exiting the Dojo, and before stepping on and leaving the Tatami. It is also exchanged between opponents as a sign of respect when Tachi waza techniques must be performed before their initiation and after their end. There are two ways of performing the bow from a standing position - Ritsurei of politeness and Ritsurei to an opponent. Ritsurei of politeness is performed as the body and head bend slowly for 2-3 seconds at 25-30 degrees while the fingers are stuck together and touch the side of the thighs. If you bow to someone standing opposite you as a sign of respect, you look them at the chest. Ritsurei towards an opponent is quicker and shorter as the body and head bend to 15-20 degrees and the look is into the opponent's eyes.


    Bow from Seiza (Dzarei)

    Dzarei is a bow from Seiza (kneeling position). It is the most commonly used bow before the beginning and end of every training. It is performed by the students as a sign of respect to the Sensei or Shihan after demonstrating a technique. It is also exchanged between students as a sign of respect when techniques from Seiza or Hanmi handachi waza must be performed before their beginning and after their end. There are two ways of performing the bow from Seiza - Dzarei of politeness and Dzarei to an opponent. Dzarei of politeness is performed as the palms are placed on the Tatami simultaneously and the fingers and thumbs of both hands are touching in the shape of triangle. If you bow to someone kneeling opposite you as a sign of respect, you look them at the chest or the knees. Placing the palms on the Tatami together and simultaneously means "trust". Dzarei (without weapon) can be performed when you first place the left palm and then the right one. However, this means to be alert, which leads to "mistrust". This way of performing the bow was done by the Samurai in order to have the chance of drawing their sword until the last moment. Dzarei to an opponent is quicker and shorter and the look is into the opponent's eyes.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bow with Jo

    from standing position (Rizurei)

    Ritsurei (a bow from a standing position) with Jo is used before performing techniques, Kata or Kumi jo. Ritsurei with Jo is performed as the body and head bend to 25-30 degrees. The Jo , which is in the left hand when bowing, is retracted close to the body and left leg. The fingers of right hand are stuck together and touch the side of the right thigh.

    from Seiza (Dzarei)

    Dzarei (a bow from Seiza) with Jo is used before the beginning and end of a training. Before bowing Jo is placed on the left side near the body. Dzarei with Jo is done when you first place the left and then the right palm on the mat unlike Dzarei without weapon.

     

     

     

    Bow with Bokken

    from standing position (Rizurei)

    Ritsurei (a bow from a standing position) with Bokken is used before performing techniques, Kata or Kumi tachi. Ritsurei with Bokken is done when the body and head bend to 25-30 degrees. The Bokken, which is in the right hand when bowing, is retracted close to the body and right leg. The fingers of the left hand are stuck together and touch the side of the left thigh. The Bokken is supported by the forefinger and thumb. The grip of the hand which holds the Tsuka (the handle of the Bokken) must be loose, not to hold the Tsuka firmly.

    from Seiza (Dzarei)

    Dzarei (a bow from Seiza) with Bokken is used before the beginning and end of a training. Before bowing the Bokken is placed on the right side near the body. Dzarei with Bokken is performed when you first place your left and then your right palm on the mat unlike Dzarei without weapon.

     

    Folding a Kimono (Gi)

     

     

    Folding a Hakama

    Tying a belt (Obi)

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Putting on a Hakama

    The hakama and 7th principles of Bushido

    The hakama have seven deep pleats, two on the back and five on the front. The pleats are said to represent the seven virtues of bushido, considered essential to the samurai way. Although they appear balanced, the arrangement of the front pleats, (three to the right, two to the left) is asymmetrical, and as such is an example of asymmetry in Japanese aesthetics.

    "They symbolize the seven virtues of budo," O Sensei said. These are gi (justice, honor), yuu (courage), jin (benevolence), makoto (sincerity), rei (respect, courtesy), meiyo (honor), chuugi (loyalty). We find these qualities in the distinguished samurai of the past. The hakama prompts us to reflect on the nature of true bushido [the Warrior's Code]. Wearing it symbolizes traditions that have been passed down to us from generation to generation. Aikido is born of the bushido spirit of Japan, and in our practice we must strive to polish the seven traditional virtues."