Student Guide


It has been said that martial arts begin and end with courtesy. Such courtesy is not uniform throughout the martial arts, much less within Aikido. Be sure that whenever you go to another Dojo, or join another organization, you inquire about the rules of etiquette as soon as practical. Listed below are a few notes of things to inquire about and other miscellaneous practices.


  1. In many Dojos the Sensei will call students attention by clapping his hands. Typically a single clap by the Sensei is a signal for all students to stop what they are doing, sit down (Seiza or Anza) where they are, and pay attention to Sensei. This is usually done in the middle of practicing an art when Sensei wants to give an additional explanation or demonstration. Two claps mean that all students should stop practicing, bow and thank their partners, and line up in front of the Shomen. This is usually done when Sensei wants to finish one art and move on to another. Clapping may also be a part of the ritual at the beginning and ending of each class.
  2. Sometimes students in a Dojo will line up in rank order. The highest to Sensei's left to the lowest on Sensei's right. When you first come to a new Dojo, take the lower seat and wait to be invited to a higher seat. The same if you are a guest. If you are an observer watch and see how the chief instructor deports himself.
  3. At some Dojos it is part of their practice to recognize other black belt instructors as they enter the Dojo. You might be asked to stop class, face the new instructor, and execute a standing bow. This is especially true when more than one martial art share the same building and hold classes at the same time. Find out as soon as possible and avoid being embarrassed.
  4. In some Dojos there may be other Aikido classes or even other martial arts being practiced. It is rude and discourteous to interrupt those classes by walking around, talking loudly, etc.. Therefore, do not walk behind other classes at any time. Do not talk loudly. Do not interrupt the other class. At some Dojos the rule is to stop at the edge of the class area, stand at attention, and wait for the instructor to signal you to pass by. When he does, bow and go quickly and quietly. Keep your trips to a minimum. Be thoughtful and courteous.
  5. In this day and age, it is unforgivable that a martial arts student or instructor would make sexual advances, comment about others in a lewd way, or otherwise harass another person. In Aikido, this breaks the spirit of harmony and oneness. It is also against University policy, and we will not tolerate it.
  6. There is no smoking, drinking of alcoholic beverages, or taking of non-prescription medications during Aikido practice, nor should students come to practice under the influence of alcohol or any non-prescription medication. Students under a physicians care, especially those taking medication, who have (or might have) infectious conditions, or with restrictions that might influence their ability to participate in the physical activity of Aikido, should consult with the Instructor before the beginning of each class.