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My thoughts on etiquette and the different styles of Aikido

My thoughts on etiquette and the different styles of Aikido


I would like to take the opportunity to talk about how not only us as Aikidoka but all practitioners of the Japanese martial arts should conduct ourselves on courses or visiting another Dojo to practise. A high standard of etiquette must be observed at all times. This reflects on you, your club, Sensei and association and your art in general. How you enter and leave the Dojo, how you sit, place your weapons, zori etc and how you present yourself are important aspects of the training that should not be neglected.

Stopping for drinks of water during training is not acceptable unless you are unwell or on a real break. In all the years I have practised and been teaching I have never seen anyone die of dehydration. When taking instruction from unfamiliar Sensei follow what the Sensei is doing and not put on own interpretation of the what the Sensei is teaching. It may be different from what you are used to doing but follow the Sensei who is teaching as not doing so is disrespectful, it is also disrespectful to walk of the mat if you do not like what is being taught. When you are finished take away what you may from the session, if you did not like what was being taught then disregard what you have been taught in silence.

I would also like to talk about the different styles. Some clubs teach a softer style which may be good for fitness and social interaction. I have nothing against this approach, but these styles have moved away from the realistic styles and are more of an exercise class. I come from the other end of spectrum and believe the art should maintain a martial aspect with an emphasis on bokken, jo, tanto, iai and real combat situations.  I feel there is room from the other styles and I believe that the softer styles are more popular from what I teach in every aspect but regardless of the whatever style we practise we must be grateful to O’Sensei as he is head of fountain of what we do.


Sensei Paul Barker 7th Dan

(Chief Instructor of the Aikido Circle)

The Aikido Circle is an independent organisation that has been training people in this traditional martial art since the 1970s with dojos in the UK and overseas. It is registered with the British Aikido Board which is recognised by Sport England as the only governing body for Aikido in the United Kingdom.

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