At the start of the class there are some traditional Japanese formalities and displays of etiquette. This involves kneeling in a line along the edge of the mats in preparation for the teacher (Sensei) to enter the practice area (Dojo). Sensei bows to the Kamiza (the picture of the founder of Aikido with the Japanese characters under it saying MASAKATSU AGATSU ('True Victory of Self-Mastery') then turns and bows to the class. The class also bows to the Kamiza and then to Sensei, saying "Onegaishimasu" as very polite way of asking to practice Aikido. All this etiquette helps get the class in a state of mind that is required to practice Aikido and keeps us mindful of it's Japanese origins. Throughout the class these formal courtesies are required and you will see everyone bowing to each other to show respect and appreciation.

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