There are three types of training that students will experience during the year: Regular, Demonstration and Test training. Most classes are Regular training in which the focus is on the details of the basics that lead to big-picture principles and concepts, practicing the techniques methodically but gradually increasing to a more ‘realistic’ pace. Demonstration training often focuses on speed and rhythm, trying to combine all the detailed pieces together in a flowing form. The Test training, which occurs twice a year, combines the elements of both Regular and Demonstration training in order to display the student’s present level of proficiency.
A vital goal of Aikido training is internal and external discipline – self-control. An integral part of this study is represented by the behavior we project and etiquette we observe with our colleagues in the dojo. Students possessing proper etiquette will be safety conscious, polite, considerate, and serious (though laughter is a natural part of our practice). When meeting a colleague, do so with a bow (standing or sitting) and the traditional Japanese Budo greeting of “Osu“. From the start, during, and up to the end of class, keep your dogi arranged neatly with your belt straight, balanced, and tied firmly.
Before Class begins:
Make sure all finger and toe nails are trimmed short so as not to cause undue injury to others.
For everyone’s safety, do not wear any jewelry, watches, or piercings.
Keep long hair under control.
Inform the instructor of any injuries or chronic physical problems that might be obstacles to participating in the practice.
Always begin your training by bowing (standing or sitting) to your partner. A polite phrase often offered is, “Onegaeshimasu” or “Would you be willing to work with/assist/help me?”
If your dogi becomes disarranged during practice, bow out with your partner and while keeping your eyes forward and on them, straighten it, and then bow back in with them to resume training.
When advised on something by an instructor, it is good etiquette to bow and say either “Osu” or “Thank you”. Besides demonstrating sincere appreciation for what was explained, it will also convey to the instructor that what was said was understood.
Anytime you wish to leave the dojo during a class, for whatever reason, you should notify the instructor. The student’s safety and welfare are one of the instructor’s main concerns, failure to inform them could lead to confusion.
At no time should students make a ‘contest’ out of the training, cooperation is the key to safe and productive practice. You should also never curse or become angry in the dojo. If there is a disagreement or problem, consult the instructor.
Please make a special effort to participate in the regular cleaning and organizing of the dojo before and after classes. The best practice is experienced in an environment where the entire class works together.
Remember that colleagues will train for different reasons and at their own pace. Though you may be training for self-defense they might be in the dojo for stress release, though you may want to move fast your partner might be moving slow – try to be careful to always harmonize with them regardless of intent or style. Students should remember that attaining small goals at something you are presently studying is more feasible and realistic than expecting to be able to do it perfectly from the beginning. You will never be judged on ‘where you are at’ or ‘what you can do’ – just focus on steady growth and find satisfaction in what you learn incrementally.