Aikido Hints

To make your training the most enjoyable it can be, we have included the most common training hints here.

You may view/print a PDF of these here.

  1. Strive to always be early. Being on time is being late.

    If you do happen to arrive late, kindly sit quietly in seiza (kneeling position) on the edge of the mat until the instructor grants permission to join practice. Then, quietly warm yourself up in the corner until the instructor gives you permission to join the activities.

  2. When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction of O-Sensei’s picture, the kamiza, or the front of the dojo. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat. This is a sign of respect for the dojo, the students, the teacher, and the art. Note that this is not a religious gesture, but a traditional Japanese way of respecting others.

  3. Kindly wear no shoes or socks on the mats.

  4. Please address the instructor as ‘Sensei’ or ‘Sir’ as opposed to his first name or ‘hey you’ while in the dojo.

  5. If you need help while practicing, please raise your hand and look in the direction of the instructor.  Say ‘onegaishimasu’ which means you are requesting something, in this case help.
  6. If you should have to leave the mats or dojo for any reason during class, please approach the instructor and ask for permission.

  7. Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of O-Sensei or the kamiza. Also, please do not lean against the walls or sit with your legs stretched out. (Either sit in seiza or cross-legged please.)

  8. Remove watches, rings and other jewelry before practice so as to not hurt yourself during practice.

  9. Please do not bring food or gum with you into the dojo.

  10. Please keep your finger and toe nails cut short to avoid scratching others.

  11. Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to one topic — Aikido.

  12. Kindly keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of distracting odors.

  13. Certainly do not change your clothes on the mat.

  14. Preserve common-sense standards of decency and respect at all times.

  15. Enjoy yourself, train hard, and be friendly and courteous to your Aikido friends.

  • Shikko

    The practice of Shikko (or “knee-walking”), which has become an integral part of Aikido training, was originally developed when Japanese feudal lords required that all their followers remain on their knees while in the lord’s presence. It later developed into a formal movement in many Samurai ceremonies.

  • Aikido Facts

    Aikido was among the first martial arts freed from the ban imposed on their practice by the US government after World War II.

    In some areas, Japanese police officers are required to hold at least a Shodan (black belt) in Aikido.

  • Aikido Definition

    The word “aikido” is made up of three Japanese characters: AI – harmony, KI – spirit, mind, or universal energy, DO – the Way. Thus aikido is “the Way of Harmony with Universal Energy.” However, AIKI may also be interpreted as “accommodation to circumstances.” This latter interpretation is somewhat non- standard, but it avoids certain undesirable metaphysical commitments and also epitomizes quite well both the physical and psychological facets of aikido.

  • Aikido History

    Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, 14 December 1883–26 April 1969), referred to by some aikido practitioners as Ōsensei (”Great Teacher”). Ueshiba envisioned aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but also an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation. During Ueshiba’s lifetime and continuing today, aikido has evolved from the koryū (old-style martial arts) that Ueshiba studied into a wide variety of expressions by martial artists throughout the world.