Dojo Kun (Dojo Rules - Creed/Oath)

1: Seek Perfection of Character

(Hitotsu !!!  Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto)

This means that the art of Karate is more than just physical. All beginners, especially the young, are taught the importance of character building through discipline and rigorous training. For the beginner, the character building process begins with perfecting techniques through repetition. The spirit to fight will be achieved as one gains more confidence through development of stronger techniques. We train hard to develop a strong spirit, not only to fight but also to overcome personal problems especially in times of weakness. Developing these spiritual values is most difficult, but once achieved they will provide a lifetime benefit of inner strength and peace.

1: Be Faithful (Protect the Way of Truth)

(Hitotsu !!!  Makato no michi o mamoru koto)

To be faithful is a strong Samurai tradition and an extension of the Confucian influence on the family and martial arts. The faith to be shown is in your Sensei (teacher) and dojo (school).

The student must always be faithful to his Sensei and follow in much the same way as a medieval Samurai was bound to follow his feudal lord to the death without hesitation. While this may seem unusual in the present day, it is unreasonable to expect a Sensei to teach all he knows to a student who is likely to leave for the slightest reason. The student must prove his loyalty over the years. The faith and loyalty extended to the Sensei will be rewarded, in that

a greater amount of knowledge and wisdom will be passed on to the student and this bond between Sensei and student is extremely valuable and is the basis of the learning relationship.

1: Endeavour (Foster the Spirit of Effort)

(Hitotsu !!!  Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto)

To endeavour refers to the complete dedication and commitment necessary to achieve mastery of the art. In no case is mastery possible without strenuous effort and sacrifice on the part of the practitioner. One’s efforts must be of a sincere nature and not just superficial. This serious effort on the part of the student will be recognized by the Sensei who will in turn spend more time with him or her.  The one who can endeavour through the difficult times with wavering is the one who will be great.  The ability to endeavour is the key to success in all things.

 1: Respect Others

(Hitotsu!!!  Reigi o omonsuru koto)

Respect for others is an important part of the Japanese and Okinawan culture and therefore it is an inseparable part of all Traditional Japanese/Okinawan Martial Arts. Master Funakoshi stressed that Karate begins and ends with courtesy. He also stated that without courtesy and etiquette there is no dojo. This is a reflection of the formal nature of the Japanese people and is best observed by the ritualistic bowing and strict Sensei/student relationship. Dojo etiquette is well defined. You bow correctly and show respect in everything you do and everywhere you go. Respect is extended to all: sensei's, parents, educators, law, deceased, nature, etc.

1: Refrain From Violent Behaviour (Guard against Impetuous Courage)

(Hitotsu !!!  Kekki no yu o imashimuru koto)

A trained Karateka (practitioner of Karate-Do) is a person with a fierce fighting spirit and great strength, so it is unfair for them to use their skills against an untrained person. The Karateka's spirit is unbeatable and he must use his abilities "ONLY" for the sake of justice. A person of character can walk away from a fight because they are in control of their emotions and are at peace with themselves. They have no need to "test" their abilities on the street. They win without fighting and have no regrets because no one will be injured. Refraining from violent behaviour is hard to explain to many Westerners because of their environment, or the attitude towards winning tournaments. Westerners usually want to learn as quickly as possible, with the minimal amount of effort. This attitude is contrary the principles of Karate-Do and Dojo Kun. It is therefore necessary for instructors to constantly remind the students of the importance of patience, thoughtfulness and insight.

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page last updated on Thursday 16 September 2010