The Dojo-Kun (道場訓), translated from Japanese as “instruction for the place of the path (道)“, describes guidelines for behavior in karate training. You can also understand these as the rules of the dojo (道場). These are often displayed in a clearly visible place in the dojo and also recited at the beginning or at the end of the training.

However, the validity and deeper meaning of the dojo-kun goes far beyond the actual training in the dojo. The dojo-kun describes the most important factors for a virtuous life in general and can therefore also be used in everyday life.

If someone is forced to use his karate techniques as self-defense in an emergency situation, these techniques can also seriously injure the attacker. In our association, training is reserved for those students who we can trust to use their knowledge exclusively in self-defense-situations. Violent thugs are filtered out quickly and the principles of the dojo-kun helps us with this process.

The following image shows the dojo-kun of grandmaster Yuchi Kuda in Japanese characters. His son Tomosada Kuda, our current grandmaster, adopted the unchanged dojo-kun after the death of his father.

Dojo-kun of grandmaster Yuchi Kuda
  • As a karateka1 (空手家) try not to become a selfish, egotistical person and always act correctly.
  • It is only natural to always behave politely towards the teacher and older students2, and also respect each other’s behavior towards peers and younger students.
  • Katas and fights always start with the greeting “Rei”(礼).
  • The core of karate are the katas. Don’t expect quick result through katas, but constantly deepen the kata and combat exercises.
  • Since there are limitless combinations of techniques, always maintain your discipline and constantly dedicate yourself to perfecting your techniques.
  • Techniques in combat must be executed faster, stronger and more precisely3. Gather all your concentration on the opponent and meet him with all your strenght. But you should never get emotional.
  • Never forget to improve and learn the true core of the techniques. Learning karate never ends.
  • Always behave correctly in everyday life, restrain your pride and never lose your reason.
  • Remember, arrogance is a pestilence to the spirit of karate. Never forget, arrogance harms your further development and also your qualities as a person. In karate you are always at the beginning and never at the end.
  • The path of karate consists of training and the karate attitude towards life. It requires you to strive for decency and sincerity in order to become an honorable citizen of society. This can be achieved through karate.
  • Karate is Budo (武道), you won’t achieve anything without effort. With the right mind and persistent striving, there is nothing you cannot achieve.

Unfortunately, the actual meaning of the dojo-kun as it is understood in the Japanese language and culture cannot be directly translated into our language due to the differences in Western culture. In general, however, one can say that the central themes of the dojo-kun describe the most important factors for a virtuous life:

Respect, discipline, positivity, empathy, confidence coupled with humility, control of emotions and the knowledge that anything in life is possible if you put all of your focus and energy into one goal and stick to it.

The trainer tries to exemplify and convey these values in the training without being missionary. The dojo-kun helps similarly children and adults, whether at school, at work or in the social environment. They are considered the recipe for a successful life.

Footnotes

1 Karateka is a phrase for an athlete who practices karate. While this japanized form is grammatically correct in the Japanese language, it is uncommon in Japan

2 Older student describes the student who has practiced karate for a long time. Not the absolute age is relevant in this consideration, but only the time since joining the karate club. This means, that even an older student can actually be younger

3 This is an anacoluth (interrupt of the sentence structure): The comparative is grammatically wrong, but in order to get as close as possible to the original, it was used here

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