Aikido Resources


Each student must provide his or her own gi (uniform) and zori (sandals or other footwear).

The student should not be barefoot EXCEPT on the mat. No footwear of any kind should be worn on the mat. As well, ALL jewellery should be removed before practising.

A trial class can be taken in any loose clothing without buckles that covers the knees and elbows, such as a sweatsuit.

If you wish to participate in the weapons class, you must provide your own bokken (wooden sword), jo (short staff) and tanto (wooden knife). The dojo usually has these items for sale, or can arrange to procure them for you. These notes originally appeared on Aikido Hokuryukai’s website and appear here with their kind permission — Aikido Hokuryukai, all rights reserved, 2000.

Uniforms are available for purchase from the dojo, please ask Sensei for current pricing and availability of sizes.


The traditional etiquette of Japanese martial arts will be observed in our dojo at all times.


Bowing is an important part of Budo etiquette. Please note that this bowing has no religious significance.

Students should perform a standing bow when they walk in the dojo door.

They should perform a seated bow when first stepping on the mat.

When the students line up as class begins, they should perform a seated bow of respect in unison to the portrait of O-Sensei at the front of the room, and then to the instructor.

They should perform a seated bow to each partner, before and after practising with them.

At the end of class, it is time for another seated bow in unison to the portrait of O-Sensei, and then to the instructor.

After class, it is customary to perform a seated bow to each person you have practiced with and thank them.


Aikido cannot be learned with the mouth. It is important to practice as intensely as you can at your level, so the distraction to your own partner and to nearby students caused by speaking should be avoided where possible. Don’t speak unless it is necessary or you are asking a question of the instructor. And please don’t speak while the instructor is speaking.


Sensei basically means “teacher,” but it is also a polite form of address. At the very least, the person instructing the class should be addressed as Sensei and his or her instructions noted carefully and followed to the best of your ability.

When you call your teacher Sensei, you are acknowledging the “contract” between you; your teacher has an obligation to help you progress quickly in exchange for your attentiveness and hard work.


Senior students are called “sempai.” Such a student normally will be three or four ranks higher than you are. They have a responsibility to help you learn the culture of the dojo. If a sempai offers you advice or asks for your help with a dojo task, please cooperate fully.

Other Points

Do not practice if you are intoxicated, angry, or injured.

Make sure that your gi and your body are clean before practice.

Every student is responsible for helping to keep the dojo clean.

If you become injured or must leave the mat for any reason, please consult the instructor immediately.

Fighting is strictly forbidden. Also, please avoid competitive practice and wrestling. Perform all techniques exactly as demonstrated.

These notes originally appeared on Aikido Hokuryukai’s website and appear here with their kind permission — Aikido Hokuryukai, all rights reserved, 2000.

Testing and Ranking

Aikidoists go through a progression of ranks, starting with Rokyu (sixth rank, the lowest rank) through Ikkyu (first rank), and on through black belt ranks from Shodan (first degree black belt) and up.

Since there is no competition, coloured belts are unnecessary and are not worn.

Since there is no competition or judging, black-belt students wear the hakama, the loosely fitting black or blue pants worn in most traditional Japanese martial arts.

These notes originally appeared on Aikido Hokuryukai’s website and appear here with their kind permission — Aikido Hokuryukai, all rights reserved, 2000.

Glossary of Terms

Terms Definition Description
katatori shoulder grab katatori ikkyo, ushiro katatori sankyo
katatetori one-hand grab katate tori shiho nage
ryotetori grab both of partner’s wrists ryotetori tenchi nage
mune tsuki punch or thrust to the chest munetsuki kotegaeshi
morote tori grab one wrist with both hands morote tori kokyu nage
shomen uchi direct strike to the front of the head shomen uchi ikkyo
ushiro katatori shoulder grab from behind ushiro kata tori sankyo
ushiro tekubitori grab both wrists from behind ushiro tekubi tori kotegaeshi
yokomen uchi strike to the side of the face or head yokomen uchi shiho nage
ikkyo (omote and ura) first “form” technique also, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo for second through fifth form, resp.
kaiten nage (omote and ura) “wheel” throw Turn of the wheel
kokyu nage breath throw throws relying on timing, body movement and attacker’s speed and strength, rather than joint locks
kote gaeshi wrist turn throw
randori attack by multiple, usually 4, uke
shiho nage (omote and ura) four directions throw
tachi (bokken) tori sword waza deal with sword attacks
suwari waza seated techniques actually techniques executed while kneeling
tenchi nage (omote and ura) heaven-earth throw
fune kogi undo rowing exercise
hojo walk posture, moving and breathing exercise during warmups
kokyu ho breath exercise done in a kneeling position (seiza)
misogi breathing (okinaga) purification breathing
shikko knee walking preparation for suwari waza
Japanese Words + Phrases Used in Day-to-Day Practice
bokken wooden sword tachi, generic name for a (real) sword
tanden center of the body, just below the navel
hanmi stance lit., half body, as in facing forward with left or right foot forward, in left or right hanmi, respectively
hanmi handachi half standing techniques with standing uke attacking a kneeling nage
jiyu waza freestyle throwing usually rytotetori kokyunage techniques
jo staff
kamae stance formal posture for attacking or awaiting attack
kokyu breath or breathing kokyu nage, kokyu ho
kyu & dan rank, level or grade in martial arts:
ma’ai interval proper distance between nage and uke for attack and defense
men face or head
tori, or mochi hold, have
nage throw or person throwing shiho nage, irimi nage
onegai shimasu please as in, “please work (train) with me”
omote or irimi front entry shiho nage, omote
ryo both ryote tori, ryote mochi
seiza formal Japanese sitting, on the knees
sensei teacher Head instructor is Sensei; all other instructors are only addressed as Sensei when they are teaching and on the mat
tanto knife, lit. short sword tanto tori waza deal with knife attacks
te hand
tekubi wrist
tori take, grasp katate tori, ryote tori
uchi strike shomen uchi, yokomen uchi attacks
uke receive, i.e. person being thrown, the attacker
ukemi the art of attacking, following and taking the fall “Partner’s ukemi is good”; “we have to work on our ukemi”
ura or tenkan entry to the back ikkyo, ura
waza technique
zanshin connection maintain zanshin with your partner throughout the waza or training session