Basic Aikido Conduct and Etiquette

Please be punctual. You should be changed and on the mats at least 10 minutes before class. Take this time to do individual warmups.If you happen to be late, do your warm-ups off the mat. When you are ready, sit quietly on the edge of the mat, bow to O-sensei and remain sitting seiza until you receive permission to join the class. If you must leave the mats during class, first ask permission.

Observe good manners. Observing due respect is more than merely making a bow. It is essential for the trainees to receive their instructors and seniors with the utmost respect. This is difficult since excessive courtesy can lapse into polite insolence, and too modest a behaviour is apt to lose the chance of doing the civil. There are those who practice by virtually knocking their partners down. Their concept of hard training is utterly wrong. The essence of real training lies in the throwing process. When let loose mercilessly, Aikido techniques do not allow ukemi. It is up to you to throw your partner in such away that he or she can respond with ukemi without fear of injury.

Voluntary cleaning of the Dojo is encouraged and demonstrates your respect for Aikido training and the Dojo

Always be alert on the mats. Careless practice can be dangerous and cause injury to yourself and others.

If you become sick, overtired or injured and cannot continue to practice, let your partner and the instructor know and ask permission before leaving the mat quickly and quietly. If you need help, ask. If you just need a short rest, bow to your partner and the Sensei, move to the edge of the mat, and sit quietly until you are ready to resume practice. If you have a specific medical problem which may affect your practice, notify the Sensei before the class starts.

Hygiene is very important. Personal hygiene is a reflection of your respect towards Aikido, the Sensei, your fellow students, and yourself Keep your fingernails and toenails clean and short to minimize cutting yourself and others. Keep your gi clean and wash it regularly. Wear sandals to the side of the mats. Do not wear jewellery during practice.

Basic Aikido Terminology

Counting Ichi Ni San Shi Go Roku Shichi Hachi Ku Ju
           1    2    3    4    5     6        7         8       9   10

Dogi - "Clothes of the way" uniform
Obi - Belt
Hakama - Pant-skirt, usually worn by black belt ranks.


Sensei - Teacher. A term conveying respect for the instructor.
Rei - Appreciation with respect, usually referring to bowing.
Onegaishimas - Literally, "Please do me your favour." This is said when class starts
and before practicing with the Sensei or with other students.

Domo arigato gozaimashita
- "Thank-you very much."

This is said when class starts and before practicing with the Sensei or with other students

- "Yes!" This is always the first response of the student called on by the Sensei.


Seiza - Basic sitting position on the knees.
Kamae - Guard stance.
Hanmi - Literally, "half body." Basic aikido stance.
Ai hanmi - Asymmetrical hanmi

Gyaku hanmi - Symmetrical hanmi (mirror stan ce).

- The person who receives Nage's throw or technique. (The attacker).
Nage - The person performing a throw or technique on Uke. (The defender).

Ukemi - Falling or receiving a throw or technique.
Mae ukemi - Forward roll or fall.
Ushiro ukemi - Backward roll or fall.


As in other Japanese martial arts, Aikido utilizes the "kyu" and "dan" system of ranking. Generally, the Aikido-ka begins with 5th kyu (in Canada), and improves his or her standing through the "kyu" ranks until reaching 1 st kyu. After passing the black belt test, the Aikido-ka is awarded the rank of "sho-dan," (1 st degree black belt).
Kyu (mudansha or white belt) ranks
           5 4 3 2 1
     Yudansha (black belt) ranks
           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Categories of Movement
Tachi waza - Standing techniques.

Suwari waza - Kneeling techniques.
Hanmi handachi waza - Techniques with Nage in kneeling position and uke standing.
Tai sabaki - Body movement. There are two types:
Irimi and Tenkan
lrimi - Moving straight behind or in front of Uke.
Tenkan - Turning and guiding the Uke in a circular direction.
Omote - "Front." Refers to movement in front ofUke.
Ura - "Back." Refers to movement behind Uke.