Helpful Information

Dojo Etiquette

The following are a few simple rules that enable us to train together in the spirit of Aikido. If there are circumstances preventing you from following the rules below, please speak to Sensei.

Dress and Cleanliness

  • No rings, watches or jewellery of any kind should be worn during practice
  • Do not wear heavily scented perfume or cologne in the dojo
  • Clothing should be clean and suitable for physical exercise. Long pants and long sleeves should be worn if possible, as this reduces friction when falling on the mats
  • Students should be barefoot; we do this to prevent injuries due to slipping on the mats


  • Bow when stepping on and off the training mats
  • At the beginning of each class, the students line up with higher ranks to the right and bow first to the front of the class (the kamiza) and then to Sensei (“teacher”), saying onegai shimasu (“thank you for what we are about to do”)
  • At the end of each training session, bow again to the front of the class, then to Sensei, saying domo arigato gozaimashita, which translates as “thank you for what you did”
  • Bow and say hai (“yes”) after Sensei gives you instructions
  • When starting to work with a new partner, bow and say onegai shimasu


  • It is important to be safe when practicing Aikido, so it is expected that you listen very carefully to Sensei’s instructions and only do what you are told to do.
  • Training in Aikido requires physical contact, but such contact requires the permission of both people involved. Unwanted physical contact or hitting will not be tolerated.

Four Basic Ki Principles

  1. Keep One Point
  2. Relax Completely
  3. Keep Weight Underside
  4. Extend Ki

Five Basic Principles of Aikido

  1. Ki is Extending
  2. Know your opponent’s mind
  3. Respect your opponent’s Ki
  4. Put yourself in the place of your opponent
  5. Perform with Confidence

Common Japanese Phrases in the Dojo

  • onegai shimasu: Used at the beginning of class and when partnering up with someone, it more or less means “please let me train with you”
  • domo arigatou gozaimashita: Used at the end of class, it means “thank you very much (for something that has happened)”
  • hajime: Used just before starting a movement or technique, it means “start”
  • yame: Used to stop a randori or other activity, it means “stop”

Common Aikido Terms

  • uke: receiver (of the throw), the attacker
  • nage: the thrower, the defender
  • katate-dori: same-side wrist grab
  • katate-kosa-dori: cross-hand wrist grab
  • kokyu-nage: “breath” throw
  • irimi: entering
  • tenkan: turning

Japanese Counting

  • ichi: one
  • ni: two
  • san: three
  • shi: four
  • go: five
  • roku: six
  • shichi: seven
  • hachi: eight
  • ku: nine
  • ju: ten