Getting Started

Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu is a traditional Martial Art (Budo).  How we behave and comport ourselves both in the Dojo and our everyday lives is very much a part of the training we undertake.  To that end there are certain considerations to be taken into account in order to manage your expectations from your training.

Guidelines for viewing and taking part in classes

It is not appropriate for you to come in and join a class without viewing at least one class.  It will give you an idea of the kind of training we do and whether or not it is for you.  It also works both ways.  It’s an opportunity to see if you think you would like to commence training and if we think you are an appropriate person to join our Study Group.

Not everyone who wishes to join is automatically accepted.  Our group is small and the nature of the training can be dangerous.  The techniques are designed to maim and kill.  We trust our partners with our bodies and for them to train appropriately at our level and look after each other.  As skill level increases moves become more dynamic.  This requires intense concentration and focus in order to train safely.

Also, although you are paying money for instruction it is unlike our western perception of the teacher/student relationship.  Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu is a Japanese traditional art.  The most important part of the training is how we behave within the Dojo and how we treat others.  Not all teaching is verbal. This is very challenging for the western mind to comprehend.  Indeed all the true teachings are unspoken.  To this end the teaching method requires that you integrate well into the group and develop a constructive personal relationship with the teacher. When the teacher takes on a student, it is a tremendous commitment in terms of time and energy, as well as being a great responsibility.

When you come in to observe class, you yourself will be observed.  If you like what you see and we think you may be suitable you will be invited to join our study group.

As a member of our study group you will in some way be representing our art. We endeavour to lead an honourable and disciplined way of life.

It is expected that you will not boast or gossip about your training.  Be careful as to not engage in anti-social or irresponsible behaviour or do anything to bring the art into ill repute.

You will be encouraged to continually strive to progress in a never-ending pursuit of self-improvement.

Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu used to be a secret art permitted only for the privileged Samurai classes.  Later it was taught to a wide array of politicians, military officers, judges, policemen, and other persons of high social standing from all over Japan. The word Samurai means ‘those who Serve”.    This is the ethos in which we train and the Samurai code of Respect, Courage, Loyalty, Benevolence, and Self Control is the framework of the Budo in which we live our lives.

Not dissimilar to joining the Navy or the Army, during your time in the Dojo, like a Soldier or Sailor, you voluntarily resign certain rights that you have as a civilian in the interests of the ship or group.  As a student, you are expected to comport yourself appropriately, and to accept discipline. This is the true path to self-mastery.  For example, you do not have the right to speak during class without being asked to. You are expected to carry out instructions without debate or discussion. It is not appropriate to question the teacher’s instruction. You may not speak on behalf of the group without permission.  This is a large invasion of your personal rights that we normally expect in our Western World.  But for a couple of hours a week whilst in the Dojo, you can let go of all judgement, mind chatter  and how you normally operate and just get on with your training and doing precisely, in fact very precisely, to the best of your ability that which is asked of you.  Strangely enough you will find a huge relief in this.  And there begins one of the many strange dichotomies of the Budo and Martial Arts.  Another being that in learning to fight and becoming physically strong we become gradually gentler and calmer.

So please, if you cannot accept this kind of discipline, then perhaps our study group is not for you.   If you feel this way, our other Dojo White Wolf Dojo is more for you. The teaching method is westernized which will feel much more comfortable for you.  If however you wish to experience an art steeped in history and authentic in every way then Daitokan is the Dojo to train in.

Should you decide you would like to join and be invited to train, it is important to be aware of some basic rules of etiquette.  Budo begins with Respect and ends with Respect.  These rules serve two purposes. First and foremost they show respect both for the art in which we train as well as the people with whom we train. Respect is much deeper than our external show of bowing and is rooted in a deep humility.  However our openness to learn is demonstrated by our external behaviour.  An open receptive mind is all that is required.  Secondly, these rules help to ensure the safety of everyone involved in training. Training involves some risk and these rules are designed to minimise these hazards. Below is a list of basic rules of etiquette (Rei). These rules are not universal, but rather outline the expectations of your behaviour within the Dojo.  Should you be unclear about what is expected, please ask.

  1. Please Bow when entering and leaving the dojo.
  2. Please Bow to your Teacher and seniors (Senpai) on arrival.
  3. Arrive 10-15 minutes or so before the start of class in order to leave time for getting changed and Dojo preparation.
  4. Quickly follow and carry out the instructions and directions of the teacher and senpai.
  5. Appearance should be neat and tidy with no visible jewellery or piercings. Torn or grubby uniforms (Dogi) shows disrespect. (wedding bands are permitted).
  6. Please no eating or drinking is permitted in the dojo, apart from fluids during breaks.
  7. Courteous behaviour is expected at all times.
  8. Do not teach or correct other students unless explicitly directed to do so by your teacher or Senpai.
  9. If you receive a correction from the teacher or senpai, bow and say “Hai arigatou gozaimasu”.
  10. Observe closely the way your Senpai are behaving and follow their example.