DOJO KUN (5 Maxims of Karate)

Karateka seem to forget all about these maxims and the karate way of life, thought it would be a good reminder for all to blog about it!!

Training in unarmed combat is a serious matter. As a karate student, you will be expected to behave in a manner that is safe, courteous and respectful. Karate practice always begins and ends with respect. In training there are 5 important maxims known as the "Dojo Kun", it is the code followed by all karateka in training and in daily life. It was originally written by Satsunuku "Tode" Sakugawa. The Dojo Kun is announced and repeated aloud in unison at the end of every class / training to allow the students to reflect upon the guiding principles of karate-do.

Here follow the 5 Maxims of Karate.

1.) Seek perfection of character (CHARACTER)
2.) Be faithful (SINCERITY)
3.) Endeavour (EFFORT)
4.) Respect others (ETIQUETTE)
5.) Refrain from violent behaviour (SELF-CONTROL)

Below is set out the rules for karate training at the Dojo. If you as karateka comply with and respect these rules, you understand the meaning of Dojo Kun and follow the code in training and in daily life.

• Be Punctual. Being late for class is disruptive therefore punctuality is important for the individual and for the whole group. If you arrive late for class, you should kneel in the seiza position until the instructor or class leader beckons you to join, you should then bow and join the class by going to the position indicated by the instructor.

• The Dojo is a special place. Whilst there, behaviour should be modified. Inside the Dojo, refrain from drinking or eating, wearing footwear and loud or offensive speech.

• During class the students should always pay full attention to the instructor. When advice is given, it should be acknowledged with the word Oss? and a bow when appropriate. Questions are OK but long periods of dialogue from or among the students are best kept until after training.

• Practice should be done with the best of EFFORT, anything else is less than acceptable.

• Appropriate RESPECT should be given to seniors. Everyone except a brand new beginner is both Sempai and Kohai (Senior and Junior) to others in the Dojo. Kohai should always show respect to Sempai. This courtesy generally also extends outside of the Dojo.

• When Yudansha (black belts) enter or leave the Dojo, all Kohai should bow and say Oss?.

• When the Instructor enters or leaves the Dojo, all other Karateka in the Dojo will stop what they are doing , turn toward the Instructor, bow and say Oss?.

• When the class is called to order, line up smartly and face the Shomen? position, ie towards the front of the class.

• There is a specific order to events prior to and after training. How to line up, how to stand, kneel (seiza), bow etc. All students are carefully instructed in these formalities and should follow them.

• Junior ranks should arrive earliest at the Dojo to clear the area and prepare the floor for training.

• A high level of personal hygiene is expected when training. Nails should always be clean and short, long hair tied back and the Dogi (uniform) kept clean and in good repair.

• Jewellery, watches, glasses or anything that will impede your training or hurt a training partner during practice should not be worn. If a piece cannot be removed, it should be taped over to render it safe.

• The highest level of trust and RESPECT should be given to your Instructor and training partners, discouraging and unsupportive behaviour has no place in the Dojo.

• If unable to attend a class, students should advise Instructors well in advance. It is discourteous and it can be disruptive to just come and go as you please.

• If unable to attend class repeatedly, students should discuss their situation with the Instructor.

• Special arrangements should be made with seniors prior to class, for example, the need to leave class early or a caution about an injury or health condition.

• When visiting another Dojo, proper protocol is to obtain a note of introduction from your senior and present that to the Instructor of the Dojo being visited. It is discourteous to attend another Dojo without observing this rule.

I hope the above clears up the uncertainty of the importance of Dojo kun (5 Maxims) in Karate training and in life.