Good etiquette is not always required, but it is always welcome. Below you will find some basic guidelines for good etiquette in an Aikido class.

Remember, every instructor has his or her own expectations. As a student you should strive to understand what they are and follow them to the best of your abilities.

Your instructor

The traditional mode of address for an Aikido instructor is “Sensei.” It may be used either by itself or with a name (eg “Allen sensei”).


Always remove your shoes before stepping onto the mats. At Tamworth Dojo, we remove our shoes at the door and place them neatly in the space provided.


Bowing is a traditional greeting in Japanese culture. It is used to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “please,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry,” and any number of other social niceties.
In the dojo, we bow:
  • When entering or leaving the dojo,
  • When entering or leaving the mat area,
  • At the opening and closing of class,
  • When we pair up for practice,
  • When we finish training together,
  • When we thank each other after class,
  • When we thank our instructor for helping us,

and any time someone else bows to us!

Opening class

Arrive early enough that you can be ready to start class on time.
Before class begins, you may stretch, talk with other students, practice rolling or perform any duties your teacher may have assigned you as part of your training.
When your teacher sits in the seiza position either on the side or front of the mats, you should stop what you are doing immediately and sit seiza in a line with the other students.
The instructor will turn and everyone will bow to the shomen at the front of the room. Next the instructor will face the class and everyone will bow again. Then the instructor will begin warm-ups.

Closing class

At the end of the class, the instructor will ask everyone to sit. Again, the teacher will turn around and everyone will bow to the front. Then the teacher will turn around, bow to the class and say “Thank you very much.” Students bow and say “Thank you sensei.” Then the teacher will ask you to thank everyone you trained with in that session. Be sure and thank everyone by name.