understanding aikido

What the dojo is

When you practice, also consider the dojo a battlefield. This means that, in any case, you cannot be empty of ki.”

The Dojo

The dojo is not only a place of exercise and training, but it also encompasses the development of the personality and the art of living nobly. The dojo is not simply a gym, but a place of inner development. In the dojo, the person who practices a martial art practices a deep purification, hi/her personality as a warrior, his/her capacities, spirit, courage, and strength of conviction. That is why, in a dojo, one must promote goodwill to others and observe the rules of good manners.

When entering the dojo, people should doff their hats, take their shoes off, and have a respectful attitude. In the dojo one must enter with a clean body, respect the etiquette, speak without profanity, hold integrity, and use moderate tones when speaking. Any spectators must comport themselves likewise.

The keikogi and hakama, under no circumstances, are to be offensive to training partners because of odor.

Students need to be ready to help straighten up when necessary, especially following practice. Cleaning is not only of the dojo but also of the students’ souls. This is symbolized via the physical cleaning of the dojo after each practice.

When you practice, also consider the dojo a battlefield. This means that, in any case, you cannot be empty of ki. How to explain this? You must be awake, ready, perceptive, feeling, controlling. You must have, in fact, the same attitude as on the battlefield where one has to decide about life and death to the point that even when one is 99% dead, one must consciously be able to order one’s heart not to abandon the fight. That is the true path. If you act like this, then you will progress with certitude in the true development of inner self.

When leaving the dojo, one must have the same attitude as when arriving. This attitude is simultaneously a thankfulness for the lessons just taught and an examination of the self, a reflection of what just happened, and by reflection of self a preparation for the next day.

Sensei Pennewaert


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