COURTESY IN THE DOJO
Courtesy in the Dojo is an important part of Aikido. It is important because it creates a harmonious atmosphere, and because it is an excellent means of self-improvement.
Courtesty in the Dojo, as anywhere else, basically means thinking of the other fellow before you think of yourself. There are, however, a few signs of good manners which are particular to a Dojo alone. They are very simple, but you should check yourself to make sure you don't forget to do the following:
- * Promptness in arriving and departing is a courtesy to your fellow students and your sensei.
- * Upon entering or leaving the Dojo through any door = standing bow.
- * At the beginning and closing the class, the Sensei and Student will show respect and appreciation of Aikido by bowing to the "shomen" = kneeling bow.
- * Latecomers must wait at edge of mat for instructor's invitation to join the group. Upon receiving permission that person shall place oneself to the rear center of the mat and bow to the "shomen" before joining the class = kneeling bow.
- * Leaving mat - students should ask instructor's permission to leave. If you are not able to stay for a while class period, inform the instructor before the class begins and then let him/her know when you are ready to leave. Then place yourself to the rear center of the mat and bow to the "shomen" = kneeling bow.
- * Kneel and maintain a straight posiiton when the teacher is demonstrating to the class. This is difficult over long periods of time, but if you concentrate on the teacher rather than on your cramped muscles, you will not be aware of any discomfort. (Remember to sit in proper seiza positions as instructed.)
- * Whenever someone receives assistance, that person shall show one's gratitude to whomever helped = standing bow.
- * Show respect to your partner by thanking him for practicing with you. Remember at all times that you are practicing with him for mutual self-improvement and that, regardless of his rank, you should be able to learn something from each other. Remember to show respect to each partner with a small bow at the beginning and end of each practice session.
- * It is never necessary to demonstrate or prove your physical strength while working out with a partner. Doing so is apt to result in injury and certainly resentment on the part of the partner who is here to learn mind-body coordination and participate in a harmonious experience.
- * Take time to greet any new students or visitors. Remember how you felt when you were new in any group and how it feels to be left out. Aikido does not recognize any difference between the sexes; or any other 'differences'; we are aiming toward mind-body coordination and we must learn to extend it to all of life, not just for use on the mat.
- * Always try to out-do yourself in showing respect and gratitude to each other.
- * At all times --- show respect and gratitude to your fellow men.
GLOSSARY OF AIKIDO WORDS
AI - harmony
KI - spirit, energy
DO - way, path
way of martial arts
black belt rank
black formal garment worn over gi bottoms
nage is kneeling and uke is standing
the lower abdomen symbolizes existance
strong deep breathing with voice and ki
calming exercise in seiza with partner
rank before black belt
throw, person leading
formal kneeling posture sitting with calmness
teacher, used as a title
4 direction throw
1st degree black belt
practicing a "do"
knife (wooden in Aikido)
(Ten) heaven, (chi) earth
tenchi means universe
turning, initial harmony
take, catch, grab, also leading
person being thrown or lead
art of rolling or falling
behind, rear, back
side, side of head
humble request. In Aikido, spoken as a salutation before practice.
© Ganshinkan Dojo 2010