Dojo Etiquette

Proper observance of the dojo etiquette is as important for aikido training as learning techniques. Please follow these guidelines for etiquette to make your practice safe and based on courtesy.


It is extremely important to approach the dojo, instructors and fellow students with respect, even if it requires setting aside one’s comfort and pride. All students, regardless of physical fitness, age or size, offer an opportunity to grow and challenge ourselves. Therefore, be patient while working with someone who is less experienced. And if you are a beginner, working with a higher level student will give you a chance to see how the technique would work in the “real world.

Entering/leaving the dojo

When entering or leaving the dojo it is proper to bow towards the shomen or the front of the dojo. If you should leave the mat, ask permission from the instructor first and try to promptly get back to practice. No shoes are allowed on the mat.“

Addressing the instructor

It is a polite gesture to bow and say "thank you Sensei" when receiving guidance or assistance from the instructor. If the instructor addresses you and/or you partner, always stop the practice and listen.


Be on time for practice. Student should line up and sit in seiza (kneeling posture) 3-5 minutes before the class officially starts. If you are late, sit in seiza at the edge of the mat until the instructor gives permission to join.

Proper sitting

Do not lean against the walls or sit with legs stretched out. Sit in seiza (kneeling posture) or if it’s uncomfortable, sit in agura (cross-legged).


Please keep the fingernails and toenails clipped short. If you get cuts or scrapes during the practice, step-off the mat and bandage the injury.

Personal belongings

Students should remove watches, rings and all other jewelry during the practice to avoid causing injury to their partners.

© Columbia University Aikido Club