Reishiki - the external expression of respect

In Iaido dojo you will practice with a wooden sword (Bokken), or a training sword (Iaito), or even a real Japanese sword with a cutting blade (Katana). There will be numerous people practicing, all in one room. Following the rules of etiquette ensures that no one gets injured. Also, following the rules of etiquette enhances practice in other ways. The teacher can more quickly determine skill levels when students line up in the order of rank. The ceremonial bowing serves as a concentration and focusing point; when bowing, practitioners shows respect for others. Maintaining observant silence allows students to focus their attention and practice reading body language. Cleaning the dojo after practice leaves it ready for the next group.

  • Be on time.
  • Do not make class wait.
  • Finger and toe nails must be cut short and all jewelry removed.
  • Remove shoes before entering.
  • A sword should be untied and held in the right hand.
  • Step directly in to the dojo.
  • Do not block doorway.
  • Stop and bow to Shinzen.
  • Avoid drawing or pointing a sword toward Shinzen.
  • Before practice, be sure your sword is in proper shape.
  • Check the Mekugi.
  • Place it at Shimoza (opposite side of room from shinzen) with the Ha to the wall.
  • Never touch a sword without the owner's permission.
  • Do not knock or step over any sword.
  • The floor must be cleared and swept.
  • Leave the Dojo ready for those who practice after you.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are not allowed on the Dojo floor.
  • When on the practice floor do not have private conversations other than iaido related subjects. 
  • Tell the teacher of any injuries or problems, or of having to leave early.
  • Do not leave without permission.
  • Do not speak when teacher is speaking.
  • Thank the teacher.
  • Show respect to other iaidoka (students)
  • Do not draw directly towards others.
  • Do not do anything that may distract or injure a fellow practitioner or spectator.
Always remember, reishiki comes from the heart and without sincere respect it will be only an empty gestures.