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Karate ni sente nashi

"There is no first strike in karate-do."

                                                                                                                          - - - Gichin Funakoshi

Dojo Kun


Hitotsu. Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomu beshi.

We shall endeavor to build our character [seek perfection of character]. This means that the art of karate is more than just physical. All beginners, especially the young, should be taught the importance of character building through discipline and rigorous training. For the beginner, the character building process begins with perfecting techniques through repetition. One should train to bring out the spirit of excellence and strive to be the best person possible. It is a long path to develop these spiritual values, but once the concept is understood and experienced it will provide a lifetime benefit of inner strength and peace.

Hitotsu. Makoto no michi o mamoru beshi.

We shall be faithful in our study [be faithful]. To be faithful is a strong samurai tradition. The student must always be faithful to his sensei and follow him/her 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/she knows to a student who is likely to leave for the slightest reason. The student must prove his loyalty over time. 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. This bond between sensei and student is extremely valuable and is the basis of the learning relationship.

Hitotsu. Doryoku no seishin o yashinau beshi.

We shall cultivate courage and tenacity [endeavor to excel]. To endeavor means 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. The endeavor must be of a sincere nature and not just superficial. Serious effort on the part of the student will be recognized and encouraged by the sensei (who will in turn spend more time helping the student to succeed in his/her studies).

Hitotsu. Reigi o omonzu beshi.

We shall attach great importance to etiquette [respect others]. Respect for others is an important part of the Japanese and Okinawan culture, and, therefore, common to the martial arts. Gichin Funakoshi stressed that karate begins and ends with etiquette. Without courtesy there is no dojo. This is a reflection of the formal nature of the Japanese people and may be observed in the bowing rituals that occur during training. Dojo etiquette is well defined. Respect is extended to and by all...sensei, parents, educators, siblings, neighbors, nature, etc.

Hitotsu. Kekki no yu o imashimu beshi.

We shall be wary of foolishness [refrain from violent behavior]. A karate-ka is a person with a fierce competitive spirit and great strength so it is unfair to use one's skills against an untrained person. The karate-ka spirit is unbeatable and his knowledge must be used only for the sake of peace and justice. A person of character can walk away from a fight because he/she is in control of their emotions and is at peace with him- or herself. One wins without fighting and will have no regrets because by not fighting, no one will be injured. It is necessary for instructors and students to constantly remind themselves of the importance of the dojo kun, not only in the dojo but also in their daily lives.


Aurora, Illinois

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