Now’s a good time to review the guidelines for etiquette in the dojo. These rules and guidelines help us to train together respectfully, reduce the likelihood of injuries and provide a way for us to more fully understand Aikido and how to strive for mastery.
In an Aikido dojo, the observation of basic forms of etiquette is integral to the creation of a respectful and attentive atmosphere which is conductive to learning. Although Japanese forms are unfamiliar to most Westerners, over a period of time they not only become comfortable expressions of curtesy, but also, as we come to understand the levels of meaning behind the forms, they enrich and further our practice. Most basic to these forms is the bow, a gesture of respect and gratitude. If students follow the dojo etiquette they will realise that behind it lies a far deeper meaning than first seems apparent. The humanity and respect needed to practice Aikido encourages a growing sensitivity to our environment and interaction with others.
Aikido is a living, growing Budo designed for the modern world. The physical aspects of Aikido, as awesome and beautiful as they can be, are only the outward manifestation of what is most importantly a real and direct way to improve the quality of our lives.