The Dojo Kun (Rules of Karate-Do)

The Dojo Kun

One: Seek perfection of character
One: Be faithful
One: Endeavor
One: Respect Others
One: Refrain from violent behaviour

Hitotsu. Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutomuro Koto.
Hitotsu. Makoto no Michi wo Mamoru Koto.
Hitotsu. Doryoku no Seishin o Yashinau Koto.
Hitotsu. Reigi o Omonzuru Koto.
Hitotsu. Kekki no Yu o Imashimuru Koto.

What is the Dojo Kun?

Dojo kun is a Japanese martial arts term literally meaning dojo (training hall) rules. The word Hitotsu means "one" or "first" and is prepended to each rule to place it at the same level of importance as the others.

Understanding the Dojo Kun

1. Seek Perfection of Character - This is the ultimate goal of karate. To accomplish it, you must apply your training to your life. When training, always follow proper principles. Emphasise not only physical improvement, but mental improvement. If you follow proper principles you acquire experience that you can apply to everything else. The next four rules are necessary to show how to accomplish the overall goal.

2. Be Faithful - Keep to the proper direction. Keep on track. The seeking of truth and fairness is equivalent to seeking the essence of character. Proper technique and action must be based on proper thinking. Develop yourself inside, don't worry about appearances; be true to yourself. As for your attitude and performance, have an open mind, be humble, never forget your responsibilities which are based on your rank. Technique and character reflect the image of Karate-Do.

3. Endeavour - Maintain constant effort. "Practice doesn't makes perfection, Correct Practice makes perfection". Hard work underlies the improvement principle. - "No Pain, No Gain". Seek extra stimulation for extra improvement. Seek deeper and higher levels of understanding. Overcome your weakness and learn self-control. Learn your limitations. The quality of the process is important, not only the result. Continuous effort is power. Be patient, don't want too much, do everything step by step.

4. Respect Others - Live together and improve together. We benefit from cooperation. Group spirit helps the individual keep going. Cooperation means training each other. The bow is a symbol of respect - it strengthens relationships, controls selfishness, don't get a big head. Respect other dojos and systems - everyone benefits from mutual respect and cooperation

5. Refrain from Violent Behaviour - Show Confidence. Learn Self Control and proper application of energy. Control a hot temper. Use technique, not just energy.

The 20 Precepts of Karate-Do

The 20 Precepts of Karate-Do

  1. Karate-do begins with courtesy and ends with rei.
  2. There is no first strike (attack) in karate [either mentally or physically] - “Karate ni sente nashi”
  3. Karate is an aid to justice.
  4. First know yourself before attempting to know others.
  5. Spirit first, technique second.
  6. Always be ready to release your mind.
  7. Accidents arise from negligence.
  8. Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.
  9. It will take your entire life to learn karate, there is no limit.
  10. Put your everyday living into karate and you will find "Myo" (subtle secrets).
  11. Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool. (qv: also by Tsunetomo Yamamoto)
  12. Do not think that you have to win, think rather that you do not have to lose.
  13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.
  14. The out come of the battle depends on how you handle weakness and strength.
  15. Think of your opponents hands and feet as swords.
  16. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you.
  17. Beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body positions are for the advanced.
  18. Practicing a kata exactly is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another.
  19. Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body, and slowness and speed of techniques.
  20. Always think and devise ways to live the precepts of karate-do every day.