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FAQ For Foreign Visitors

For those who are living abroad and wish to train at Hombu Dojo
Anyone who is a member of the Aikikai Foundation can train at Hombu Dojo. Information below are frequently requested regarding this.

Etiquette for Practice

Etiquette for Observation

Other FAQ

 

Etiquette for Practice

Can I practice at Hombu Dojo if I am not a member of Aikikai?
No. Basically you need to be a member of Aikikai.
If your dojo is under the umbrella of Aikikai, please complete the enrollment procedures through your dojo before you come to Hombu dojo.

If I am a member of Aikikai, do I need to bring my Aikikai ID?
 Yes. Please bring your yudansha book and/or your Aikikai ID card.

Does Hombu Dojo provide documents for visa application to enter Japan?
 No, we don’t provide any kind of documents for visa assistance. However, we can provide a permission letter for keiko at Hombu dojo.

Do you have trial classes?
 No, we don’t have such a system.

Can I enter the class at any time?
 No. Please be on the mat before the class starts. Please see the timetable.

Can I practice for just one class?
 Yes, if you are a member of Aikikai, you can pay a one-day fee which allows you to practice as many classes as you wish (except the women’s special course). For class  fees please see Join Us.

Can I practice for one month?
 Yes, if you are a member of Aikikai, you can practice for one month. (Please pay the monthly fee.)

Can I buy a keiko-gi/do-gi (practice uniform) at Hombu Dojo?
 Yes, you can buy a keiko-gi at the reception desk. However, keep in mind there are size and inventory limitations.

Can I rent a keiko-gi at Hombu Dojo?
 No, we don’t provide a rental keiko-gi. You can borrow a white obi, however.

Do I need sandals or slippers to walk inside Hombu Dojo?
 No, you don’t need them.

Can I practice in sportswear?
 No, only a white keiko-gi is acceptable.

For how many classes can I use the same keiko-gi?
 As a general rule, please use a clean keiko-gi for each class. Keep in mind making a comfortable practice with your partner(s).

Can I wear a hakama?
 Yes, but at Hombu Dojo a hakama is worn by women from 3rd kyu and by men from 1st dan. Please follow Hombu Dojo’s customs.

Can I leave during the class?
 No, essentially you should stay on the mat until the class is finished.
 If you need to leave early for some reason, please get the instructor’s permission in advance.

How can I enter the dojo?
For Beginners Class (2nd Floor)

  •  You have to enter through the left side door.

  •  Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).

For Regular Class (3rd Floor)

  •  For men, please enter through the door inside the men’s changing room. For women, please enter through the door next to the stairs.

  •  Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen). For a more accurate view of the 3rd floor dojo, please see the Hombu Dojo Virtual Tour.

How can I leave the dojo?
 Go back to the same entrance where you entered, kneel down and bow to the front, then leave the dojo.

Can I practice in the beginners’ class even though I am 1st dan or higher?
 No. As a general rule, if you are 1st dan or above, please practice in the regular class.
(There are some kuro-obi (black belt) practitioners who have some concerns about practicing in the general class because of injuries, long-term absence, or necessary review of basic skills. As long as you keep in mind that this is the beginners’ class, you can attend the class even though you are a black-belt.)

Can I drink water during practice?
 Drinking water or sports drinks during class is allowed on a necessary basis. In the hot season, the instructor will make a break for drinking during the class, otherwise you should ask permission from your partner to drink. Please keep in mind to:
 -  Leave your bottle at the back of the dojo against the wall (cans are not allowed).
 -  Don’t drink when the instructor is teaching.
 -  When you drink, please sit down in seiza and face the wall.

What happens if the class starts and I have no partner?
 Please sit in seiza on the wooden floor and say to some pair onegaishimasu, then join them.

Can I take photos or videos during the class?
 No. Taking photos and/or videos is not allowed during the lesson.

Can I participate in the cleanup after practice?
 Yes. Please join the cleanup in a positive manner. We appreciate it if you could help clean up the dojo which you have practiced.

Can I put on my hakama in the dojo?
 No, please finish changing in the changing room before you get onto the mat.

Where can I fold my hakama?
 You can fold your hakama in the dojo after the clean-up. We recommend you do it at the back of the dojo close to the wooden floor so as not to disturb others that are cooling down and to not block the entrance bowing areas.

What else should I be aware of to not be disrespectful during the class?
 When the instructor is teaching in the front, please focus on his instruction in seiza.
 Please refrain from the following:

  •  Using a towel during the instructor’s teaching.

  •  Rearranging your keikoi-gi, belt or hakama during the instructor’s teaching.

  •  Rearranging your hair during the instructors teaching.

Can I enter the dojo at any time?
 You can come in the dojo 30 min. before the class starts including the time to get dressed and warm-up and can stay in the dojo for 30 min. after the class for cooling down.

Does Hombu Dojo provide accommodations?
 No, we don’t provide any kind of accommodations.

Does Hombu Dojo have laundry facilities?
 No, we don’t have laundry facilities available for members.

Can I wear socks during class?
 No, as a general rule socks or tabi (Japanese traditional socks) are not allowed.

 

Etiquette for Observation

Can I do kengaku (observing a class) anytime?
 Yes, you can watch any class. Preferably please come to the dojo before the class starts. Please refer to the timetable. If you want to watch an Aikido Academy class, you need to ask beforehand. You can’t watch the grading exam.

Do I have to take my shoes off?
 Yes, please take your shoes or footwear off and leave them in the shoe boxes on the left side wall of the entrance hall. Also, please take off your coat, hat, scarf, gloves and sunglasses.

When I observe, what kind of clothes should I wear?
 Please visit in moderate clothes. You don’t need to wear a keiko-gi (practice uniform).
(Please avoid skimpy clothing and gaudy dress.)

Can I wear socks when I do kengaku (observing a class)?
 Yes, you can wear socks during kengaku.

How can I enter the dojo to do kengaku (observing a class)?
 Case A: Please follow the receptionist’s guidance and instruction.
 Case B: If a receptionist it is not available and you have to go up by yourself, please follow the instructions bellow:
Please wait in front of the door until you get the permission from the instructor. (He will make eye contact or nod as his permission to enter the class.)

 For Beginners Class

  •   Please enter through the left side door.

  •   Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).

  •   Please sit down on the wooden floor next to the emergency exit area.

  •   (To reach the sitting area, please walk along the wall and don’t cross the center of the dojo).

 For Regular Class

  •   Please enter through the door next to the stairs.

  •   Kneel down (seiza) and bow to the front (shomen).

  •   Please sit on the wooden floor under the kengaku sign area. To reach the sitting area, please walk along the wall on the wooden floor. Do not cross the center of dojo.   For a more accurate view, please see the Hombu Dojo Virtual Tour.

How should I sit during kengaku (observing a class)?
 Please sit in seiza (Japanese traditional sitting style) when the instructor shows techniques, if possible. If it’s difficult, you can sit in agura (sitting cross-legged) but please sit with good posture, and please don’t watch with your chin resting on your hand(s) nor lean against the wall. 

Can I leave during the class?
 Yes, you can, but please avoid frequent coming and going which might interfere with the practice.

Can I take photos or videos during kengaku (observing a class)?
 No. Taking photos and/or videos is not allowed.

What else should I be aware to not be disrespectful during kengaku (observing a class)?

  •  Would you please refrain from the following:

    •   -Using a cell phone        - Leaning against the wall       - Standing up

  •   -Crossing your arms             - Stretching your legs              - Drawing up your knees

  •   -Stretching                            - Talking/chatting       -Taking notes 

  •   -Watching with your chin resting on your hand(s)

  -Behaviors/actions/movements which will interfere with the practitioners.

 

Other FAQ

I am a member of Hombu Dojo. How can I take a grading examination?
 If the number of training days reaches the specified number of days for the grading examination before the examination date of application, please apply at the reception with the application form along with the fee. Please refer to here for details.

I am not a member of Hombu Dojo. Can I take a grading examination at Hombu dojo during my stay in Tokyo?
 Basically please take your grading examination at your affiliated dojo. However, it may be possible depending on the circumstances. Please contact us by email for more information.

Can I be a live-in student at Hombu Dojo?   
 No, as a general rule, we don’t have such a system at Hombu Dojo.

Do you provide a scholarship program to practice at Hombu Dojo?
 No, we don’t provide such a program.

Could my 8-year-old child practice at Hombu Dojo during our stay in Tokyo?
 Yes, but there are some conditions, so please inquire by e-mail in advance. (aikido@aikikai.or.jp)


Could I buy sport safety insurance if I will practice for one month only?

 Yes, you can buy it. It is non-refundable insurance and valid until the end of March from when you buy it. Please contact us at the reception desk for details.

How much is the initial cost?
 Roughly 20,000 JPY for the Enrollment fee and monthly fee 
 10,000~15,000 JPY for dogi / keiko-ogi (practice uniform) depending on your body size

Do you know any dojo near where I live?
 Would you please check our website section Overseas Organizations.
 For dojos in Japan, you can search here. (Japanese only)

Could I ask some questions about waza (techniques) to instructors?
 Yes. Please ask at the front desk after the lesson. The receptionists will pass on your questions to the instructors or introduce you to them if they are available.

Could I use credit card at Hombu Dojo?
 No. We will accept Japanese yen only.

 

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