O-SENSEI (THE FOUNDER OF AIKIDO)
A picture of the Founder and that of other late grand masters are hanged on the wall of the Kamiza (altar) typically unadorned in the Japanese way. Respect and gratitude to the founder for his legacy are displayed in the form of bowing.
Upon entering or leaving, the dojo, the bow is executed standing up, bare head, arms along the side of the body and facing the Kamiza, Upon stepping onto the tatami, kneel down in seiza (sitting on the heels with the back straight) and bow to the Kamiza both hands on the mat in front of you.
The instructor and students bow to each other at beginning and end of every class, after bowing to the kamiza. If you are late for class, wait on the side of the mat for the instructor to wave you in. When the instructor is demonstrating in front of the class or to you personally, sit down in seiza. When he is finished, bow before resuming your practice.
If you are unable to continue the class, make sure to notify the instructor before leaving the mat.
During the bow at the start of class, the traditional way to greet the instructor is by saying “Onegai shimasu”. At the end of class, we say “Domo arigato gozai mashita” to thank the instructor for practice.
OTHER MARKS OF RESPECT
For a better understanding of Reigi Saho the reader may consult an article written by Kanai Sensei. There is more to respect than just bowing. The following list is indicative not exhaustive.
Never practice with impaired faculties
- Be fully aware and avoid casual training, an injury risk factor
- Keep still and silent during the bows at the start and end of classes
- Communicate by signs rather than chat in classes to preserve others’ concentration
- In the dressing room or off the tatami do not be loud and do not distract those who practice
- Have all nails cut short and remove any jewelry or sharp belongings before stepping on the tatami.
- Take good care of your personal hygiene and use clean gi (uniform) every day at the dojo
- If you tend to sweat a lot, wear a T-shirt, insert a towel in your gi to dry your face.
- Place your shoes and your zoris (sandals) in an orderly manner not blocking the way to others.
Many movements in Aikido are inspired by weapon handling. Bokken (wooden sword), Jo (staff) or tanto (wooden knife) are weapons sometimes used in Aikido. Practicing with those weapons helps reach a higher understanding of this martial art and improve the execution of various movements.
Bow to the Kamiza before and after practicing with a weapon, holding it horizontally arms extended at eye level. The blade should be facing you. If you need to put it down on the tatami, do not drop it and lay it away from your neighbors. Make sure that the blade does not point to the Kamiza.
To test for a degree you must practice hard and for a minimum number of days. (80 for the 5th kyu) and obtain preapproval from the Chief Instructor. Every day that you practice, tick the attendance sheet on the bulletin board. If your name does not appear, write it by hand at the bottom.
The dojo has no employees. Instructors and administrators of Aikido de la montagne are unpaid volunteers. Membership fees pay for the rent, utility bills and general expenses. Membership expiration dates are posted monthly on the Bulletin Board. Please consult the sheet and help the management of the dojo by renewing your membership on time.
The dojo needs to be maintained and kept immaculately clean. This is everyone’s responsibility. Tatamis need special care and must be cleaned at least once a day, usually after class. No permission is required to help cleaning. Observe others, ask questions to the senseis or senior students who will be glad to oblige.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE DOJO
Aikido de la Montagne is a non profit association, open to all and whose raison d’être is the benefit of its members. Anybody registering becomes a member defacto. Assets of the dojo belong to Aïkido de la Montagne. Administrators are chosen at general assembly meetings.