"Aikido begins and ends with formality."
Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido

Wellsprings Aikido Training Etiquette

The code of etiquette outlined here is observed:

  • so that all may benefit and enjoy the training
  • to create an atmosphere of mutual respect among the students and teachers
  • for the safety of all on the mat


Be on time for class. This does not mean strolling in just as the class is about to start. Where the dojo has to be made ready by laying mats or preparing a shomen, all students (including dan grades) are expected to arrive in time to help.

Ensure that your name is checked off the register and that you have paid the mat fee subscription before the class starts. If the dojo preparation is complete and the senior student has not indicated that it is time to sit in then you are welcome to practise before the class. Practise safely and responsibly.


Do not train when you are ill or have a contagious disease.

Be clean and tidy in your appearance. In particular:

  • High standards of personal hygiene are to be observed.
  • Any cuts or skin infections must be covered.
  • Gis should be clean and ironed.
  • Fingernails and toenails are to be kept short to avoid injury to yourself and to others.
  • Long hair must be tied back.
  • Jewellery should be removed.
  • On no account should you practice under the influence of drink or drugs.

Respect for the dojo

Upon entering and leaving the dojo a standing bow towards the shomen should be performed.

Wear your zori (shoes) to the edge of the mat. Take off your zori and step backwards on to the tatami, leaving your zori placed neatly at the edge, side by side, toes pointing away from the tatami.

Kens and jos should be placed tidily, off the tatami, parallel to the edge of the mat in a place that is accessible but does not restrict easy access to the tatami.

Turn around after slipping off your zori to face the Shomen and perform a kneeling bow. The bow is a greeting to others and a sign of respect towards the Shomen. This is not a religious act, merely an acknowledgement that without O-Sensei, the founder, there would be no Aikido to learn.

Respect for the mat

No shoes, food or drink must be taken onto the mat. Zori should be worn at all times when not on the mat to avoid transferring dirt onto the tatami. More about Wellsprings Aikido Tatami.

Bowing in

The most senior student will clap to signal the training session is about to begin. On hearing this signal the aikidoka sit in grade order (with a higher or equal rank on your right). The teacher then comes onto the mat and formally starts the class by bowing, first to the shomen, and then to the students with the words "onogaeshi imasu". The students reply with a bow and the words "onogaeshi imasu".

If you arrive late for the class please do not enter the dojo whilst the teacher is demonstrating. Enter when the teacher has finished demonstrating and then wait at the side of the tatami until the teacher indicates for you to come onto the mat. Make a kneeling bow when you come onto the mat and join in the training.

Bowing out

At the end of the class the students line up, sitting in seiza, in grade order with the highest grade to the right when facing the shomen. Gi's are tidied. The teacher then bows to the class with the words "dono arigato gozaimasu" to which the class responds with a bow and the words "dono arigato gozaimasu sensei".

After training all students are expected to help put away the tatami and tidy the dojo as required.

During training

Mobile phones must be turned off except in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the teacher.

If you are selected from the line up to help demonstrate a technique please observe a normal kneeling bow and respond with "Hai".

When the teacher claps during the training session STOP what you are doing IMMEDIATELY and return to sit in seiza at the edge of the mat (it is not necessary to be in grade order). DO NOT finish the technique that you are executing.

There is only one teacher on the mat. You should only teach/demonstrate a technique to someone if asked to do so by the teacher. Request help from the teacher if you need it. If your partner is struggling then show how the technique is done by example not by talking.

Sempai (senior graded students) execute the technique first, follow their example.

Train with all with an open mind and do not engage in contest.


When transporting your weapons to and from the dojo please ensure that they are covered. It is possible to buy special weapons bags but bags used for fishing rods serve equally well or you could make your own.

Your ken and jo could be construed as offensive weapons so please transport them to the dojo in the boot of your car/out of sight and take heed of the advice given in the B.A.B. articles: Aikido and the possession of offensive weapons (wooden) with regards to UK law and Aikido and the possession of bladed/pointed articles with regards to UK law.

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