(from the Eugene Aikikai booklet for new members)
The cultivation of relationships is a vital part of Aikido training, both physical relationships in a martial interaction and our more general relationships with others in the dojo. The most important part of these relationships is communication, especially between student and teacher. Because we are all different, a conscientious teacher will sculpt each student’s training to suit that individual. Accurate and up to date information will greater help in this process. In this way a consistent level of open communication will not only benefit our development, but will promote a safe and enjoyable atmosphere in which to train. There are a few areas in which this is absolutely necessary, such as open discussion about injuries acquired in and out of class, as well as long term or chronic pains, which may affect your participation.
When becoming a member of the dojo you agree to pay monthly dues on time. If for some reason this is not possible, do not just pay them late or disappear; discuss it with Sensei. If time must be taken away from class, notify Sensei of not only when you are leaving, but also of how long you expect to be gone. Each of these are aspects of communication that will contribute to your ability to work together with your instructor to create appropriate support for your training.
It is also important to recognize and acknowledge the needs of your Sensei. In Japanese tradition it is customary for students to support their Sensei in any way they can, allowing the instructor to focus on teaching. In ancient times some dojo’s were more like monasteries where students spent most of their time. This allowed them to devote much of their attention to their teacher’s needs. Today we are faced with financial distractions and different social obligations. Nevertheless it is important that we make clear that the teacher/student is not one of business, but rather a highly personal relationship in which both parties have obligations. The instructor strives to provide the best Aikido training possible for each individual student. As students, we are obligated to come to class regularly and prepared for practice and to support the dojo with whatever skills and means are available to us. In light of this, we do not pay monthly dues for classes; we pay dues because we are dojo members and this is what the dojo needs to survive.
Community (from the Eugene Aikikai booklet for new members)
A dojo is a community which operates entirely through the efforts and initiative of its members. All work, in every area of the dojo’s organization from the office work to the general maintenance, is done on a volunteer basis. To find out how you can help, speak to one of the senior students or to Sensei. When you see something that needs attention, please contribute your energy to keep the dojo a clean, healthy and safe place to practice.
There are many different reasons why people come to practice Aikido. Each individual plays a vital role in creating a diverse and interesting learning environment. When practicing we take turns pairing up with each other, and it is important to have students of a variety of different levels in order to have a broad practice experience. It is also important for students to support each other in our training. Most importantly this means coming to class and coming to seminars, but it also extends to things like sharing information about injury prevention, and noticing if someone is having a hard time. Taking initiative in caring for the dojo as a whole helps to create a clear, easy atmosphere of teaching and learning.