The start of the class and the end of the class are always carried out in the same way.
The opening ceremony sanctifies the place of practice as a Dojo. the clapping clears the dojo of negativity and the brief zazen meditation 'mokuso' that follows prepares the mind to be receptive to learning and banish the daily life's worries, keeping the outside life and training seperate. As well as keeping other training arts, by different practioners seperate from what you are there to learn.
Wait in line , spaced out evenly for the opening ceremony quietly, heels together, Bokken in your right hand, pointed at the floor at an approximate 45 degree angle mune (back of the blade / bokken) facing up.
Follow the Sensei as they perform the following movements.
Touch the Kissaki (sword tip) of your bokken to the floor in front of you, aiming for silence, mune towards you, and go down on the left knee, then the right, assuming the seiza position (kneeling)
The bokken is then laid on the floor in front of you, mune towards yourself and the tsuka (handle) on the right side. the Tsuba (guard) should align with your right knee
Any sageo is to be draped around the kojiri if using iaito
The Sensei will place both hands above their head and clap twice , which everyone is expected to do in unison. This signifies a period of meditation to clear your thoughts with a few focused deep breaths.
Remaining in seiza for the duration, the sensei will then clap once to end the time of self reflection.
The Sensei will call 'Rei' and bow by placing both hands on the floor in front of your knees and bringing your forehead down towards the backs of your hands.
The sensei will now face the kamiza and call Rei once again, and bow to the kamiza once again in the exact same manner as before and everyone should do the same again in unison.
A quick warm up will proceed ready for the class session to begin.
At the end of the class, a closing ceremony is performed that is identical to the opening one.