Your training uniform is called a keikogi or gi, and your belt is called an obi. Traditionally, the belt you wear is an award, given by your instructor, and denotes your level of competence in your art.
The condition of your gi and obi, and the manner, in which you wear them, demonstrate your attitude as much as your actual skills on the mat. A gi should be washed after two training sessions if you sweat heavily, and if it has been able to dry out between workouts. However, according to tradition your obi should never be washed. If it is worn, discoloured or dirty it should be replaced.
The intimacy and close contact required during Aikido training will be more congenial and pleasurable if your gi and body are clean and free of sweaty odours.
While on the mat, your gi may become ruffled or disarranged. When rearranging your gi, turn towards the wall, away from your partner and others. Never bow with your gi in disarray. Keep the belt tightly knotted in the correct manner and in front of your centre.
It is acceptable to train in some other clothing during your first month only. You can wear loose-fitting clothing such as gym/sport clothes. Please bring some sandals or flip flops to wear between the changing room and the mat. Please do not wear street clothes or anything with buckles or other sharp objects that could tear the mat or injure your partners.
We train in close contact with each other. A shower before class has made many training partners easier to work with. Please keep your fingernails and toenails short and clean. This may not seem important to you, but experience has shown that we suffer more annoying injuries from long nails than from any other cause.
Wearing jewellery during training may cause injury to yourself and others. Remove all jewellery, if at all possible, especially that which is not covered by your keikogi. Some jewellery may not be easily replaced once removed – you may wish to secure such jewellery with additional protection such as first-aid tape. Above all, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not injure others while training.
The responsibility to keep the dojo clean is a communal one. To see work that needs to be done and to do it is, in and of itself, a special kind of training. The development of character and humility is equally as important as refining technique. Please help clean the mat before and after each class. It only takes a few minutes for several people to sweep the mat each day. In this way we have the sense of a fresh start for all our training, and leave the dojo in a state that reflects our respect for what we are learning.