Etiquette & FAQs

Adapted from

General Etiquette

Politeness, rules of behaviour and common decency are part of the practice of Ki Aikido. Members should:

  • Respect their teachers
  • Be courteous to other members
  • Be quiet inside the dojo
  • Keep kidogi clean and fingernails and toe nails short
  • Maintain a good standard of general cleanliness
  • Be kind to lower grades
  • Be moderate in daily eating and drinking
  • Try to avoid fighting

Members must not practice the arts of Ki Aikido outside the dojo.

The Federation will only recognize grades awarded by the Federation. If you have a higher belt in another art or Aikido organization, you will be required to start at 6th kyu (white belt) when you join a CKF club.

Members must not consume any alcohol before practice.

Is there a membership fee?

You are not required to pay a membership fee to begin practicing. However, all gradings are managed by the Canadian Ki Federation and so you must join the Federation if/when you are ready to grade. The current membership fees are $75 annually for adults and $50 for student/low income. We would like everyone to be able to benefit from the practice of Ki Aikido, so if the cost of fees are a concern please speak in confidence to the teachers.

How do I make contact with a teacher?

You can email the teacher using the contact details on the club directory on this website. Some clubs may also have a page on Facebook, or their own website. If you decide to first go directly to a class, please arrive before the class starts, so that the teacher has a chance to talk to you.

Who is Ki Aikido for?

Ki Aikido is for everyone. All genders and ages can practice Ki Aikido. Most adult classes are suitable for people aged 14 and up.

I am injured/young/old/clumsy/out of shape/nervous/shy/insert your concern here – can I still practice?

Talk to your teacher and work within your limits. It is best to make your teacher aware of any health conditions. As a general rule Ki Aikido is meant to be an art that can be practiced by ANY age or ability. Aikido emphasizes technique and relaxation over muscular force.

I have physical limitations – can I still practice?

As above, the art can be practiced by almost anyone. Speak to your teacher about any physical limitations and they will work with you to provide any adaptations needed.

I’d like to go and watch a session – is this possible?

You are welcome to watch a class without having any obligation to join. This is a good opportunity to see how a class runs and talk to the Teacher and students during the break or before or after class. Most people watch one or more classes before deciding to start practicing.

When should I arrive for the class?

Some clubs need the students to arrive early to lay out the mats. In any case, it’s always best to give yourself plenty of time to get changed so that you can step onto the mat feeling calm and not rushed.

What if I arrive late?

If it is your first class wait until you have spoken to the teacher. If you have already joined the Club, and arrived late, just get changed quietly and wait by the side of the mat until the teacher calls you on.

The club has lots of black belts and I am a beginner – should I worry?

Do your best not to worry. The nature of Aikido is to work in harmony with your partners. High grades are expected to treat lower grades with respect (and vice versa). You will be made to feel welcome and will benefit from practice with the higher grades.

I need to leave the mat (go to the washroom, turn my cell phone off etc.) – what should I do?

First ask the teacher for permission to leave the mat. When you return, wait by the mat until you are asked to come on.

Can I have a checklist of clothing to bring for my first session?

  1. Soft comfortable clothing, including long pants. Whether you wear a kidogi or soft clothing make sure it is clean.
  2. Flip flops or slippers to wear to the mat.
  3. You may bring a towel, or handkerchief in case you get hot and sweaty.
  4. A bag to keep your belongings neatly while you are on the mat practicing.
  5. Warm clothes to wear home after practicing.

Can I have a checklist of things to do for my first session?

  1. Cut your toe and fingers nail so that they are short and clean.
  2. Arrive early so that you can meet the teacher ahead of class and get changed.
  3. Turn your off your cell phone.
  4. Relax and enjoy the class.

Why is it called Ki Aikido and not just Aikido?

The Ki Federation of Great Britain emphasizes the awareness and understanding of Ki both in our practice and our daily lives. The prefix “Ki” is used to show this emphasis in our Aikido practice.

Why do we call the teacher “Sensei”?

“Sensei” (pronounced: Sen-say) is the Japanese word for “Teacher”.  That is all it means. It does not mean “Master” or anything of that nature.

Ki Aikido is teaching for our daily life – it is not just a matter of “moves” or techniques. So we would be foolish to trust this to someone we did not respect. Addressing our teacher as “Sensei” simply maintains that sense of respect. Most students consider it a privilege to be able to call their teacher “Sensei”.

The normal Japanese use of the word “Sensei” is to place it after the surname, e.g. Abbe Sensei. However, as English speakers, we prefer to use it before the surname.

Why do we bow in Aikido?

In the West we shake hands as a gesture of friendship (offering the empty sword hand), but remember we also have a tradition of bowing – to an audience, to royalty etc.

In Aikido, we are are studying an art that originated in Japan. So naturally, we have inherited the etiquette associated with that tradition, but there is far more to it than that. When we bow in Aikido, we must do so with genuine feeling, and with respect and humility. We must take care not to just go through the motions of bowing and allow it to become a tedious ritual.

Firstly, we bow to the mat. It normally takes great effort on the part of the teacher or students to obtain the mat, so we must be careful not to take it for granted. Practice without it could be dangerous, especially for beginners.

Secondly, we bow towards the Ki sign. This represents the universe, or nature herself. If we bow with the correct attitude we will remind ourselves that we are not above nature, but a small part of something infinitely greater than ourselves. But do not make the mistake of thinking that we are worshiping the Ki sign in any way.

Thirdly, we bow to our fellow students and partners, including the teacher. We cannot really study and progress by ourselves, so we should bow with genuine respect and friendship towards our partners.

To simplify, to bow in Aikido is a genuine gesture of respect.


Have another question you don’t see here? Contact us and we’ll do our best to answer it.