Tetsushinkan Budojo Student Information

This document is designed for those who are new to Tetsushinkan Budojo or martial arts in general as well as a reminder for experienced practitioners.

 

The aim of this document is not to be pedantic about the ‘rules’ of the budojo or expectations of practice. However, it is to support practitioners at Tetsushinkan Budojo to enter into the spirit of good etiquette and mutual understanding with the ultimate aim of ensuring safe and respectful practice.

 

The information contained here is not an exhaustive list but is to support the practitioner to be more aware of their surroundings and initiate a process of growing self-reflection in one’s own budo practice.

Within the Budojo

 

  • Outside shoes will not be worn within the dojo area. Please either wear clean dedicated indoor dojo footwear (e.g. Zori) or barefoot.

  • On each entry or exit to and from the dojo area, bow towards the ‘kami-dana’.

  • Before and after each practice, the dojo area including tatami (if used) must be cleaned.

  • Be aware of your surroundings, environment and those around you. Act with attention according to the activities in the area and be sensitive to the events taking place, whether it may be: entering the dojo area; pre training personal warm-up; during training; post-session personal training; dojo cleaning; changing and leaving.

  • Be vigilant within the dojo and observe the actions of those more experienced than you. Train yourself to reflect on your observations irrespective of whether you feel the actions of others are correct or not. You are in the dojo for your own personal training and betterment.

 

Training

  • Training is conducted as part of the dojo community irrespective of whether you are completing individual or partner practice. One should aim for mutual respect with our training partners irrespective of our differences in physicality, thoughts or background. The ideal achievement is to reflect on our personal shortfalls whilst acting with clarity and certainty.

  • Do not take in alcohol or be under the influence of substances / medication before or during training. 4 hours is the minimum recommended time limit.

  • Training begins and ends with ‘rei’ (bow) towards the ‘kami-dana’ and sensei. You must do this unless your religious beliefs forbids you to bow to others. If you are not bowing, simply sit in line with your fellow practitioners whilst they bow.

  • Endeavour to attend training on time. If you are late, perform your bow and await off the training area for sensei to allow you to join in.

  • Do not show the soles of your feet directly to the ‘kami-dana’.

  • Remove and / or tie back any personal items that may become entangled with your personal movement or your partner. For example: hair, jewellery.

  • Ensure good personal hygiene: trimmed finger and toe nails; personal cleanliness especially hands and feet; clean training clothing.

  • Pay attention to your environment and personal space throughout training and take appropriate steps to ensure one’s own personal safety and that of others. Please use your common sense and if you are unsure, ask more experienced practitioners or give plenty of room E.g. if weapons training is taking place, do not walk too closely to a person ‘swinging’ a weapon.

  • Throughout training, always pay attention to what sensei or the instructor says and follow their instruction fully. If you are unsure or missed the presented information, enquire with sensei to ensure you are training safely.

  • When sensei is giving instruction or has explicitly asked the training to stop. Cease practicing your technique and give sensei your full attention. Do not continue practicing or talk throughout sensei’s instruction.

  • Training begins with warm-up. Ensure that you are physically and mentally ready for training. If in doubt about your readiness, consult the sensei and be prepared to sit-out and watch if requested.

  • If you have an illness or injury, it is your body and your responsibility to ensure your own personal wellbeing and safety. Always tell sensei of any difficulties or limitations you may experience when completing a suggested physical movement (warm-up or technique) and how it may affect you. You need to perform your own risk assessment of performing a taught movement; balancing the idea of improving one’s own technique and extending own limitations against your personal safety and wellbeing.

  • Never argue about techniques during training.

  • Never use excessive force with training partners to demonstrate one’s ability or strength at the expense of others who may be less able, strong or experienced than you. Martial practice is a respectful, reflective and cooperative activity.

  • Whilst it is acknowledged that the learning process includes: watching, doing and speaking. It is not in the spirit of martial training to talk unnecessarily during practice.

  • Training includes both doing and watching practice. When watching, ensure that you are concentrated and alert to receive the instruction. This means that one should sit with good posture in the formal ‘seiza’ position. If you are not accustomed to the formal sitting position, you may sit cross-legged. DO NOT: slouch; idly lean on the walls or weapons; have your legs outstretched. 

 

Weapons training

  • Weapons training at Tetsushinkan dojo does not require the practitioner to be an ‘expert’ to begin. It is an integral part of the training methodology that all beginners are invited to partake in.

  • The majority of the time, wooden swords ‘bokken’ are used and this will either be doing solo ‘suburi’ or paired ‘kumi-tachi’ practice.

  • It is essential that you must ensure your wooden weapons are safe to practice with, especially when during paired training as the swords will be struck against each other quite hard. 

  • Prior to, during and after each training with weapons; check the wooden sword for dangerous splinters or fractures. If these are found, DO NOT continue to strike a damaged weapons on someone else’s sword. If in doubt, ask sensei or one of the senior practitioners.

  • It is also the etiquette to carry out maintenance on one’s own weapons. Wooden swords may require: sanding and / or shaving of damaged surfaces and periodic oiling. If you are unsure of how to maintain your weapon, ask sensei or one of the senior practitioners.

  • Weapons training is completed according to the culture of Japanese ‘bujutsu’ (martial) and there is a high respect and regard for one’s own weapons. This is as much respect as it is for safety. Ensure that you hold the sword in the correct manner at all times; ensure you are aware of your surroundings (furniture and people) in relation to you and your weapon (whether at rest or in motion); DO NOT: lean on the sword like a walking stick; step over your sword; move the sword with your feet; throw your weapon to someone else; leave your sword unattended on the floor, especially with the tip pointing at the ‘kami-dana’ or on open ground.

  • When completing solo training, it is your responsibility to ensure that there is sufficient space around you so that you do not strike someone else. This should be vigilantly done on a continuously basis to develop your situational and environmental awareness.

  • When completing paired training, you will be learning techniques to defend against your partner’s sword attacks. Pay particular attention to the taught technique and perform the motion as requested. If you are inexperienced, DO NOT deviate from the given instruction and attempt to ‘test out your personal theory’.

Written by:

Stan Lee - 4th dan Aikido and member of Tetsushinkan Aikido Dojo

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