About Reigi - Etiquette

Rei encompasses the notions of politeness, courtesy, hierarchy, respect and gratitude.

Reigi or etiquette is the expression of mutual respect.

Please always observe the following points of etiquette:

Before Class

Make sure your hands and feet are clean before stepping on the mat. Please wash them in the sink or shower in the change room.

To prevent injuries, keep your fingernails and toenails short.

Maintain a neat and respectful appearance. The condition of your gi (uniform) reflects your respect for your Self, your partners and the dojo. Always keep your gi freshly laundered and in good repair. Wear the jacket with the left side outermost and your belt tied properly. Even during vigorous workouts keep your belt tightened and your jacket from gaping open.

Remove all earrings, necklaces or heavy rings before training.

During Class

When entering the mat area, make a formal bow from seiza to the Kamiza (where the picture of O-Sensei hangs).

You may warm up before class, but a few minutes before class begins, line up and sit quietly in seiza. You may sit cross-legged if your knees hurt.

When the instructor bows to O-Sensei's picture, follow suit. Then bow to the instructor.

After the warm-up and demonstration of the first technique, bow to the instructor, then to your partner and then begin training.

When a technique is changed, bow to your partner and then move quickly and quietly to the edge of the mat and sit in seiza. At the completion of the instructor's demonstration, bow to the instructor, then to your new partner and resume training.

If the instructor explains a technique to you or your partner during class, take care to sit in seiza in a safe place while watching. Do not watch standing up, and avoid at all times sitting with your back to the Kamiza. When the instructor finishes, say "thank-you" either in English or in Japanese (domo arigato gozaimashita) and bow from seiza.

At the end of class straighten your gi facing away from the Kamiza, then line up and sit in seiza. Bow together with the instructor to O-Sensei's picture, then bow to the instructor, and then to your partners. As you leave the mat bow from the edge of the mat in seiza.

Try not to be late for class. If you are late, stand quietly by the side of the mat until the instructor signals that you may join the class. Then thank him or her with a standing bow, step on the mat, and perform a sitting bow towards the Kamiza. If you have missed the warm-ups, take time to stretch at the back of the mat. Never train without warming up. Afterward, approach any pair and ask to join them for practice. Under no circumstances should you step on the mat once class has started unless allowed to do so by the instructor.

Never leave the mat area once class is under way, or step back onto the mat, without the instructor's permission.

There is no shame in having to stop to catch your breath. Find a safe place at the edge of the mat to sit in seiza, or cross-legged if kneeling is difficult. Never lean against the walls in the dojo. Your partner can join another pair until you are ready to resume training.

When observing class it is proper to exhibit the same respectful and dignified attitude as when you are on the mat. When observing class from the bench it is proper to sit up straight and observe attentively. If a visitor wishes to watch class but the bench is full, please offer them your place. Stand alongside the mat only to attract the instructor's attention or when you wish to join practice.

After Class

Toronto Aikikai is your dojo. Take pride in its appearance. The mat must be swept after each class. Periodically the dojo needs to be straightened, dusted, mirrors and window washed. Please take pride in these chores.


Please feel free to greet visitors at the door, hand them a schedule and escort them to the viewing area. If necessary, inform them of the correct etiquette in the dojo for observers. Invite them to ask questions of any senior student at the end of the class.

Visiting another dojo - whether to attend a seminar or just to share a class or two - is an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from other Aikido instructors and students. When visiting another dojo it is courteous to introduce yourself to the instructor. While there are differences in customs and training styles from one dojo to another, you will usually find yourself feeling right at home. Ask about any etiquette issues that you are not sure about.

Following these points of etiquette will ensure a safe, enjoyable and correct training environment for all.