Little House In Ise

Where To Sit
April 23, 2008, 12:28
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: ,

When starting in or visiting a new dojo I have tried to pay close attention to local etiquette. Each school has its own variations on appropriate behavior and it is wise to politely be mindful of differences. As you would expect, Aikikai Honbu Dojo has variations as well. On the far wall of the first floor, facing the entrance is a bronze bust of Osensei and on the landing between second and third floors there is a similar bust of Second Doshu; it is common practice to pause and give a short bow in front of both when passing. Another thing to note is that when entering the third floor training area, men should enter through the men’s changing room door. Women may enter through the main doors though, if sensei is starting class, women have been known to run through the men’s locker room and sneak in the back way — be warned! 😉

Other schools I have been in have varied between having strict rules regarding who sits where during the line-up and no rules at all. Honbu falls into the no real rules category but there are better places to sit. For example, If you are traveling with a group, try to _avoid_ the people you came with. Do NOT sit near them else you may wind up training with your buddy from your home school. You probably did not travel 6,000+ kilometers to be thrown by your buddy from home, right? Also, make an effort to sit closer to the far wall, near the back door. This is where most of the older students (sensei/shihan types) sit. If you come all the way to Tokyo to train then you may want to go the extra five meters or so to get to where the teachers are sitting.

After class, sweeping and dusting is appreciated but don’t take your hakama off yet! There are many shihan, shidoin and cranky old sempai who do their regular training at Honbu, don’t just decompress, ask to be thrown. You may find that the best training you get is after class!


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