Dojo Rules

At FHMAA we take safety very seriously

The handling of weapons (sword, Jo, Sai) in any capacity is potentially dangerous. The training period for Aiki jujutsu is also safety rule bound. Therefore, for the general safety and well being of the participants, certain rules must be in effect at all times during training class. It is the direct responsibility of every student to know and abide by these rules.

General Dojo safety:

  • Always let Sensei know if you are suffering from any physical disability, restrictions, injury, illness, or require special assistance before class.
  • Do not come to class when suffering from a contagious illness. Rest and come back to class when you have fully recovered.
  • Try your best, but do not overdo it. You can take a break when needed. Just let sensei know.
  • Do not run or act recklessly in the dojo. There will be no horseplay in the dojo or dressing rooms.
  • When the instructor says "FREEZE" do exactly that, FREEZE. Don't move to where you think he wants you to be, don't make any kind of adjustments, simply stop all movement and stand there until he tells you to move.
  • Always be aware of where you are and where everyone else is while training. Develop this awareness and keep your distance.
  • Wear your obi, gi, and hakama properly snug. Hakamas should never be overly long or short. They should just touch the tops of your feet.

Katana and weapon Safety:

  • NEVER walk behind someone training with a weapon. They cannot see you.
  • If your sword slips out of the saya, do not try to catch it. Step back and let it fall to the floor.
  • Check your weapon's general condition before every class; pay special attention to the mekugi pin in the handle for the Katana. If you have any doubts, ask your instructor immediately.
  • Control your weapon at all times. For the katana, keep your thumb on the Tsuba when bowing and moving about.
  • Never make wild or careless motions with an unsheathed or sheathed sword at any time.
  • Never place an unsheathed sword on the floor or on the rack.
  • When handing a sword out of its sheath to another person, hold the bottom of the handle with your little finger at the butt. The blade's cutting edge should face you.
  • When accepting a sword out of its saya, grasp the handle firmly at the guard with your left hand.
  • Before cutting check the mekugi peg in your sword's handle. If it is missing or loose, inform sensei immediately.
  • When cutting, be aware of whether or not you have bent your sword's blade. Allow your instructor to straighten it if needed. Never attempt to sheath a bent sword.
  • During cleaning, keep sword blade pointed away from other students.

Rank/Kyu Grade

Rank testing is not a formality. Students must be prepared to not pass.

  • Promotions and promotion dates are at the discretion of the Dojo Cho.
  • Many factors are involved in promotions such as time in rank, attendance, technique, teaching ability, helpfulness, attitude, courtesy, effort, contributions to the art, etc.
  • Accept a promotion with a sense of increased responsibility to your fellow students.

Etiquette in the Dojo

Bowing in the dojo has no religious connotations. The practitioners greet each other by bowing. Bowing can also have the functions of thanking and apologizing. Bowing may range from a small nod of the head to a long 90-degree formal bow. You are supposed to bow deeper and longer than your opponent if they are of higher status than you are. Your back and neck should be kept straight while bowing.

  • Students must face the shinzen (spiritual center of the Dojo) and respectfully bow when entering or leaving the dojo.
  • Students must bow to the senior student on the floor and always bow to any dan ranked students upon first meeting them.
  • If sensei arrives late or leaves early, the class should be brought to attention and bow as a group.
  • Students shall bow to each other prior to mutual exercise and upon completion of that exercise.
  • When bowing together with the senior ranked belt, the lower ranked belt must never raise up from the bow before or at the same time with the senior ranked person.
  • Absolutely no disrespect will be shown to any instructors or fellow students.
  • Students should follow the instructions of their sempai (senior).
  • Respect your fellow students experience in other arts. As well, do not expound upon your experience to others during class, regardless of how it may relate to the techniques being taught.
  • Students shall refer to the head instructor as Sensei unless Shihan Jamie Jones is on the mat. Then the assistant instructor is sempai. Honorific titles are used in the Dojo only; otherwise, refer to Sensei Jones as Sensei or Dai Sempai as simply Sempai.
  • Students, who arrive late should enter the dojo and wait to be invited to join the class by sensei.
  • A student cannot leave class early without the permission of Sensei.
  • There is no talking in class unless you have been recognized by sensei by raising your hand or using the phrase "sumi-ma-sen sensei” (excuse me, teacher).
  • Talking in the changing rooms should be minimal and restricted to matters concerning practice.
  • Students must learn and uphold the correct way of sitting and the proper way of standing. If asked to watch a technique, sit in seiza (if armed (katana, sai, bo) remove your sword from your belt, sai and or bo from your hand, place them on your right side. If with katana place the blade edge towards you, tsuka forward. The tsuka should be in line with your knee.
  • If armed (training with a weapon - katana, jo, sai) always place your weapon on the rack with the handle facing to the left and in the lowest space (the upper spaces of the rack are reserved for higher students).
  • Juniors should never walk in front of seated seniors without bowing and then saying "sumi-ma-sen".

Dojo Restrictions

  • Absolutely no shoes on the tatami. Shoes should be neatly arranged at the edge of the training floor in the shoe rack. Students must wear shoes or sandals outside the dojo.
  • Do not wear any rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, nose/ear studs, watches, neck chains, or any metallic articles during class.
  • Do not wear your complete Gi outside the Dojo (to the Dojo or when you leave the Dojo).
  • Do not hang you Obi over your shoulder or around your neck as a way of carrying it.
  • Do not let your Obi drag on the ground.
  • Do not smoke, chew gum or eat candy or food while in the dojo.
  • Do not come to class when intoxicated.
  • Do not misuse any equipment in the dojo.
  • Do not touch or handle any weapons in the Dojo, unless told to do so by the sensei.
  • Do not use profanity or abusive language in the dojo.
  • Use a quiet voice in the dojo (except when leading the count).
  • Do not talk to someone who is not in class or who is just watching.
  • Do not stand around idle in class. This is your time to train.
  • All cell phones should either be shut off or in silent mode.
  • No flash photography.

Uniform Requirements

  • Uniform requirements in the Dojo are complete Dogi (Japanese style Gi).
  • The Gi comprises of white Gi pants; white Gi top; white, gray or black T-shirt with no markings - unless wearing an authorized school T-shirt;, and obi (grade belt).
  • Academy patch is sewn on the left sleeve, centered on the arm and 2 inches above the cuff (advanced students are authorized to wear the Shintoyoshin-kai patch on the left arm when directed by the Dojo Cho).
  • ABI patch is sewn on the left (breast pocket area) and centered on the chest (ABI patch is only authorized to be worn by those students that have joined the Academy's parent international organization).
  • For new students that have not yet purchased a martial arts uniform, sweatpants and a white or black t-shirt (with no markings) is appropriate attire until the acquisition of formal Gi.
  • All black Gi is authorized for wear at 8th Kyu (yellow belt) and above for juniors & adults and 9th Kyu (orange belt) and above for Lil Samurais.
  • Black and White Gi's will not be mixed (a black top & white pants or vice versa). Only Academy instructors are authorized to wear a black top and white pant (or vice versa).
  • Hakama required after obtaining 6th Kyu (green belt). The Hakama signifies an advanced practitioner within the Academy.

Teaching and Demonstrations

  • If you need extra stretching or warm-ups, do them before class begins.
  • There is only ever one sensei teaching class. Don’t offer advice to your fellow students.
  • Sempai will assist lower ranked belts in their training, but only upon the request of Sensei.
  • Whenever sensei is explaining or demonstrating all students should give him their full attention and unless relieved of the obligation sit in seiza (this is to show respect to sensei).
  • Never contradict or attempt to correct sensei or sempai. Discuss such matters with sensei privately.
  • No interrupting while the instructor is teaching in class. If you have a question, wait until the instructor is done speaking and raise your hand.
  • Students should question what they do not understand but answers are not debatable.
  • Students must not practice any technique that has not been formally taught to them by sensei.
  • Respect other styles but practice your own. Knowing "a little of this" and "a little of that" usually ends up being "a lot of nothing." If you practice more than one style or art, keep them separate.
  • You must have explicit permission from your sensei to demonstrate any aspect of Mushin no Shin Aikijujutsu Do
  • You must have explicit permission from Fishhawk Martial Arts Academy, LLC before teaching anyone outside of class or opening a dojo.
  • An expression such as “hai, hai” does not mean yes when requesting permission and “that is difficult or we’ll see" usually means no. In the absence of a positive "yes," the answer is no. Usually, a non-answer means no.


  • Your family, school, and work come first. Come to class after you have fulfilled these obligations.
  • As you advance, ego is a constant enemy. Remain humble.
  • Always accept correction positively and with an open mind.
  • Always be courteous in demeanor and be helpful to juniors and each other.
  • Always maintain a beginner's attitude. You can't learn if you think you already know it.
  • Pay close attention to what your instructor has to say at all times.
  • Come to class to learn. Practice at home or during open practice times.
  • Do not become angry or upset in the dojo.
  • It is far better to know one kata well than dozens of kata poorly.
  • Never criticize other schools or styles of the martial arts.

Dojo Duty

  • All students share in the responsibility for keeping the dojo safe and clean.
  • Please arrive at least a 10 minutes early to stretch and get changed so that training can begin on time.
  • Every student should help clean the dojo floor and mirrors after class. Cleaning (Soju) is done after Saturday classes.
  • Never let senior students work harder than you.
  • Never leave clothing or valuables of any type in the Dojo unattended.