I spotted this on the Aikido.bm website.
A dojo can be defined as:
A place where the Way of Aikido is practised.
A place for forging the body and spirit.
A place for enlightenment.
A dojo is not a gym for mere “working out”.
It is more than just a building.
It is a sacred place that cannot be defined by it’s geographical location,
the height of it’s walls, or the value of it’s contents.
It is defined by the spirit emanating from within it-individual,
collective, and it’s universal spirit.
A dojo should be appreciated by seeing it with one’s heart.
It is the commitment and responsibility of all students, and part of our training to make the dojo a better place, physically and spiritually. The physical state of the dojo is a reflection of it’s students. We clean what needs to be cleaned, we fix what needs to be fixed and participate in dojo activities. We shouldn’t need to asked or told, we should observe and respond accordingly.
In return for the instruction that we receive it is our responsibility to maintain and improve the dojo. Thus, the dojo should improve, grow and evolve as the student body evolves.
The instruction that we receive from our sensei (and all teachers) is a gift that is given to us. The value of that gift is not covered by our dues, and the value is different for every student.
You must be prepared to give as well as receive, as we are all teachers and we are all students. It is part of your responsibility to help beginners and nurture interest and comradiery in the dojo.
Aikido practice begins the moment you enter the dojo! Trainees ought to endeavor to observe proper etiquette at all times. It is proper to bow when entering and leaving the dojo, and when coming onto and leaving the mat. Approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class, trainees should line up and sit quietly in seiza (kneeling) or with legs crossed.
The only way to advance in aikido is through regular and continued training. Attendance is not mandatory, but keep in mind that in order to improve in aikido, one probably needs to practice at least twice a week. In addition, insofar as aikido provides a way of cultivating self-discipline, such self-discipline begins with regular attendance.
Your training is your own responsibility. No one is going to take you by the hand and lead you to proficiency in aikido. In particular, it is not the responsibility of the instructor or senior students to see to it that you learn anything. Part of aikido training is learning to observe effectively. Before asking for help, therefore, you should first try to figure the technique out for yourself by watching others.
Aikido training encompasses more than techniques. Training in aikido includes observation and modification of both physical and psychological patterns of thought and behavior. In particular, you must pay attention to the way you react to various sorts of circumstances. Thus part of aikido training is the cultivation of (self-)awareness.
The following point is very important: Aikido training is a cooperative, not competitive, enterprise. Techniques are learned through training with a partner, not an opponent. You must always be careful to practice in such a way that you temper the speed and power of your technique in accordance with the abilities of your partner. Your partner is lending his/her body to you for you to practice on – it is not unreasonable to expect you to take good care of what has been lent you.
Aikido training may sometimes be very frustrating. Learning to cope with this frustration is also a part of aikido training. Practitioners need to observe themselves in order to determine the root of their frustration and dissatisfaction with their progress. Sometimes the cause is a tendency to compare oneself too closely with other trainees. Notice, however, that this is itself a form of competition. It is a fine thing to admire the talents of others and to strive to emulate them, but care should be taken not to allow comparisons with others to foster resentment, or excessive self-criticism.
If at any time during aikido training you become too tired to continue or if an injury prevents you from performing some aikido movement or technique, it is permissible to bow out of practice temporarily until you feel able to continue. If you must leave the mat, ask the instructor for permission.
Although aikido is best learned with a partner, there are a number of ways to pursue solo training in aikido. First, one can practice solo forms (kata) with a jo or bokken. Second, one can “shadow” techniques by simply performing the movements of aikido techniques with an imaginary partner. Even purely mental rehearsal of aikido techniques can serve as an effective form of solo training.
Nothing is as valuable as regular training.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and I hope it makes you want to find out more about Aikido