Aikido practice begins the moment you enter the Dojo. - Trainees aught to endeavour to observe proper Etiquette at all times. It is proper to bow when entering and leaving the Dojo, and when coming on to and leaving the mat.
Approximately 3-5 minutes before the official start of class, trainees should line up and sit quietly in Seiza ((Kneeling).
The only way to advance in Aikido is through regular and continued training. Attendance is not mandatory, but keep in mind that in order to improve in Aikido, one probably needs to practice at least twice a week. In addition, in so far as Aikido provides a way of cultivating Self-Discipline, such Self-Discipline begins with regular attendance.
Your Training is your own responsibility. No one is going to take you by the hand and lead you to proficiency in Aikido. In particular it is not the responsibility of the instructor or senior students to see to it that you learn anything. Part of Aikido training is learning to observe effectively. Before asking for help, Therefore, you should first try to figure the technique for your self by watching others. Aikido training encompasses more than technique. Training in aikido includes observation and modification of both Physical and Psychological patterns of thought and behaviour. In particular you must pay attention to the way you react to various sorts of circumstances. Thus parts of Aikido training is the cultivation of (Self-) awareness.
The following point is very important: Aikido training is a Co-operative not competitive, enterprise. Techniques are learned through training with a partner, not an opponent. You must always be careful to practice in such a way that you temper the speed and power of your technique in accordance with the abilities of your partner. Your partner is lending his/her body to you for you to practice on -- it is not unreasonable to expect you to take good care of what has been lent you.
Aikido Training may sometimes be very frustrating learning to cope with this frustration is also a part of Aikido training. Practicioners need to observe themselves in order to determine the root of their frustration and dissatisfaction with their progress. Sometimes the cause is the tendency to compare oneself too closely with other trainees. Notice, However, that this is itself a form of competition. It is a fine thing to admire the talent of others and to strive to emulate them, but care should be taken not to allow comparisons with others to foster resentment, or excescive Self-Criticism.
If at any time during Aikido training you become too tired to continue or if an injury prevents you from performing some Aikido movements or technique, it is permissible to bow out of practice temporarily until you feel able to continue.
If you must leave the mat, ask the instructor for permission. If you are unable to sit in seiza, you may sit cross-legged instead.