How a typical class will go:
When we start we will line up in order of seniority.
With the command “seiza”, get down left-knee first into seiza, the sword to your left, tsuba in a straight line with your knee. The side opposite the string (tsuru) should be facing you.
Next, there will be a command for “mokuso” - call to meditate.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath from the nose, hold it then steadily and methodically exhale from the mouth while clearing everything from your mind. Repeat until the command “mokuso yame” - to stop.
Then, there will be the command for “shomen ni” (turn to shomen) and then “rei” to bow to the shomen. We are showing our respect to our late teachers & the dojo. To bow, put the left hand down in front of you then the right hand (touch thumb to thumb and first finger to first finger forming a triangle). Bring your forehead close to the triangle formed between your hands (without raising your backside in the air) for a few moments then straighten back out.
Following that, there will be a command “otagai ni, rei” where we are bowing to each other. Bow again in the same fashion. While we are bowed we say "Onegai shimasu" . By that we are saying “please do your best and practice with me”.
We will then stand up, move our men and kote to the side and stretch together. See the section with the commands for more details.
After we are done stretching (very important, never practice without stretching) usually a senior student will be assigned to start working with the beginners separately at the side while the rest of the class starts on suburi.
With the call of “yame” we will all bow out and line up again. The students with bogu will then put on their men with a command of “Mentsuke” ( Men wo tsuke) and we will then stand up and start up again. You will be told at that point what you will do.
At the end of practice, we will again line up. There will be a call for seiza, then a command “Men tore” for the students to take off the men. After that “mokuso”, then “shomen ni, rei” to bow to the shomen, followed by “otagai ni, rei” to bow to each other. This time we will say “onegai shimashita” which is the past tense of onegai shimasu”. Then a senior student will command “senpai ni, rei” where we will turn towards the sempai and bow.
After that, dismissed (and ask questions).