O Sensei’s rules for training Aikido
Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor’s teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.
Aikido is the way that teaches how one can deal with several enemies. Students must train themselves to be alert not just to the front, but to all sides and the back.
Training should always be conducted in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.
The instructor teaches only one small aspect of the art. Its versatile applications must be discovered by each student through incessant practice and training.
In daily practice first begin by moving your body and then progress to more intensive practice. Never force anything unnaturally or unreasonably. If this rule is followed, then even elderly people will not hurt themselves and they can train in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.
The purpose of aikido is to train mind and body and to produce sincere, earnest people. Since all the techniques are to be transmitted person-to-person, do not randomly reveal them to others, for this might lead to their being used by hoodlums.
Doshu’s addendum to the rules
Proper aikido can never be mastered unless one strictly follows the instructors teaching.
Aikido as a martial art is perfected by being alert to everything going on around us and leaving no vulnerable opening (suki).
Practice becomes joyful and pleasant once one has trained enough not to be bothered by pain.
Do not be satisfied by what is taught at the dojo. One must constantly digest, experiment and develop what one has learned.
One should never force things unnaturally or unreasonably in practice. One should undertake training suited to his body, physical condition and age.
The aim of aikido is to develop the truly human self. It should not be used to display ego.
The Dojo Etiquette
Proper observance of etiquette is as much a part of your training as is learning techniques. Please take the following guidelines seriously:
- When entering or leaving the dojo, it is proper to bow in the direction of O Sensei’s picture, the kamiza, or the front of the dojo. You should also bow when entering or leaving the mat.
- No shoes on the mat.
- Be on time for class. If you do happen to arrive late, sit quietly in seiza on the edge of the mat until the instructor grants permission to join practice.
- If you should have to leave the mat or dojo for any reason during class, approach the instructor and ask permission.
- Avoid sitting on the mat with your back to the picture of O Sensei or the kamiza. Also, do not lean against the walls or sit with your legs stretched out. (Either sit in seiza or cross- legged.)
- Remove watches, rings and other jewelry before practice.
- Do not bring food, gum, or beverages with you into the dojo.
- Please keep your finger and toe nails cut short.
- Please keep talking during class to a minimum. What conversation there is should be restricted to one topic — Aikido.
- Carry out the directives of the instructor PROMPTLY. Do not keep the rest of the class waiting for you!
- Do not engage in rough-housing or needless contests of strength during class.
- Keep your training uniform clean, in good shape, and free of offensive odors.
- Please pay your membership dues promptly. If, for any reason, you are unable to pay your dues on time, talk with the person in charge of dues collection. Sometimes special rates are available for those experiencing financial hardship.
- Do not change your clothes on the mat.
- Remember that you are here to learn, and not to gratify your ego. An attitude of receptivity and humility (though not obsequiousness) is therefore advised.
- Preserve common-sense standards of decency and respect at all times.