THE DOJO KUN
The Dojo Kun is a set of principles handed down to us by Master Funakoshi who was the founder of Shotokan Karate. These principles define how a student should approach his or her training in the dojo and life outside the dojo. If the student strives to apply the lessons learned from the Dojo Kun to his/her life, both on and off the floor, s/he will discover a rich and meaningful path to living in our world with peace and harmony.
SEEK PERFECTION OF CHARACTER
Of all the principles set forth in the Dojo Kun the most essential to the martial artist is to seek perfection of character. The other four principles tell us how to go about seeking perfection of character. This is a process that not only involves developing our physical self but developing our character from within. It is a daily process both in the dojo and outside of the dojo. Seeking perfection of character means to never stop learning, training, and growing to become strong and focused.
Be faithful means to be committed to everything you choose to do. This means putting out total effort all the time, in the dojo or outside the dojo. To be faithful means you are honorable to your commitments and obligations. It means being faithful to yourself and honoring what is best for you and others.
When you have faith in yourself and others, this will lead to a mutual trust which leaves to peace. Being faithful is the first step towards perfecting one’s character.
ENDEAVOR TO EXCEL
Endeavor to excel means to try hard and do your best. Whether you are training, studying, performing duties in your job, gardening, cleaning or engaging in a relationship it is important to give it your all. To give less would be to cheat yourself and others of a complete experience. To give less you are not being faithful to yourself and thus not seeking perfection of character. Do everything to the best of your ability.
Respect for others means to listen and to value everyone’s experience and effort. The very foundation of martial artist is showing respect to other people and to value both teachers and students. Showing respect for others is a sign of humility and when one is humble one has an open mind to learn and grow. With humility and an open mind you will find that you can learn something from everyone and as you grow others can learn from you. Respect opens the world and mind to a vast array of possibilities for peace and harmony. Respect allows us to nurture and grow our character.
REFRAIN FROM VIOLENT BEHAVIOR
Refrain from violent behavior means you never do emotional or physical harm to another. Violence is the dark side of our world. As martial artists we strive to refrain from any action that would create anger or violence. Having a calm and quiet mind and spirit is the key to not having conflict or violence within our character. When we are in control of ourselves we can face violence with a calm and peaceful mind. We use our physical training as a last resort to defend ourselves. Kanazawa Soke teaches that through the study of karate we learn to fight so that we may never need to fight.
Training martial arts is a journey and not an end—to develop a strong and focused character you need to apply these principles every day, inside the dojo and in your daily life.