A standing bow (rei) towards the Shomen / Kamidana / Kamiza is made when stepping on or off the mat. At the beginning and end of a session the students deshi (students) form up in a line facing the Shomen (front) in the seiza (kneeling) position. The sensei (instructor) positions themself in the centre of the mat facing the class. To start the session, the sensei pivots clockwise and then, as a group, everyone bows together for a count of three; the sensei will then pivot back to face the class and then they bow to each other. Bowing signifies paying respect to others, the things around us and our environment. It should be done with sincerity and heart. To do this is to practice Shugyo (spirituality).Note:Shomen is the front of the dojo in this context; the Kamidana is a shrine; the Kamiza is the top seat, where the top person would sit. The Ki symbol would also be placed centrally at the front of the dojo. What is at the head of each dojo will vary from dojo to dojo.
Grading Etiquette for Ki Examinations
Start & finish in this way:Bow toward Shomen / Kamidana.Bow to examiner.
Grading Etiquette for Aikido Examination
Start:Nage and Uke bow towards the Shomen / Kamidana.Bow towards instructor.Bow toward each other.Finish:Nage & Uke bow toward each other.Both bow toward the Shomen / Kamidana.Both bow to the examiner.Nage & Uke turn and walk with Ki back to the lower end of the mat.Note:Sometimes, as it is a part of the higher Kyu tests, shikko (knee walking) is used to move to and from the edge of the mat to the ‘combat’ position.