The Dojo Kun is a set of statements repeated at the end of each training session. These statements are intended to guide not only our training, but also our everyday lives. Each statement is preceded by the Japanese number 1 – Hitotsu. This may seem odd but this reminds us that each statement is equal in importance. The IOGKF Doju Kun is written by its Chief Instructor, Higaonna Sensei.
Hitotsu Respect others
Hitotsu Be courageous
Hitotsu Train your mind and body
Hitotsu Practice daily and protect traditional karate-do
Hitotsu Strive to teach the essence of Goju-Ryu
Hitotsu Never give up
Hitotsu Reigi o omonzuru koto
Hitotsu Yuki o yashinau koto
Hitotsu Dento karate o mamori hibi no tanren o okotarazu tsune ni kenkyu kufu o suru koto
Practice daily and protect traditional karate-do
Hitotsu Shinshin o renmashi Goju Ryu karate no shinzui o kiwameru koto
Train your mind and body. Strive to teach the essence of Goju-Ryu.
Hitotsu Futo fukutsu no seishin o yashinau koto
Never give up
What does the Dojo Kun mean to us?
We are all aware the importance of showing respect to our fellow karate-ka in the dojo, this respect should be sincere and not just a show of going through the motions. Respect should transcend our actions in the dojo and spill over into our everyday lives, this will help in our daily routines at home, work or school.
We need courage in the dojo in equal amounts to the courage we need to face situations in our day-to-day lives. If we don’t face these situations using our courage and hide from them, then we are not developing our sense of courage or ourselves.
Practice daily and protect traditional karate
Daily practice of karate obviously will bring better and stronger technique whilst at the same time bringing discipline and order to each day. It is very hard to practice every day in our hurried modern lives but even a short time found to stretch or practice Sanchin kata will be beneficial.
The protection of the karate handed down from Chojun Miyagi Sensei to An’ichi Miyagi Sensei in it’s original form is what Higaonna Sensei meant when he wrote this line of the Dojo Kun. The kata and unique traditional aspects of the system should be kept intact for future generations.
Train your mind and body. Strive to reach the essence of Goju Ryu karate
In the dojo we all learn to kick, punch and block to the best of our abilities. In karate-do we also strive to train the mind to make us better individuals. “As supple as a willow, as solid as Mount Tai” this line of poetry taken from Miyagi Chojun Sensei’s Okinawan Goju Ryu precepts epitomises the ideal of Goju Ryu. The connotations of this line regarding our training are that we should train to achieve power (Go) but also strive to be flexible and soft when needed (Ju). There are many ways we can interpret Go and Ju. The Goju karate-ka should be aware of the Go and Ju in everyday life, for example having a strong opinion on something but understanding the opposite, try to achieve a balance.
Never give up
Spirit is of utmost importance, when our Sensei pushes us to our limits we should try to endure, be it in exercise, kata or kumite. The reason behind them pushing us does not seem clear at the time, but many karate-ka have said that without ‘spirit training’ they would have gone on to fail in challenging mental or physical situations outside the dojo.
Goju Ryu Karate-do Precepts
It should be known that secret principles of Goju Ryu exist in the “Kata”.
“Kata” (prearranged forms) are not simply an exhibition of forms. They are a concrete manifestation of techniques which can be transformed at any time to any form. It is in the “kata” that the essence of karate has assumed a definite form. We should always remember that the kata are a crystallisation of the essence of karate and that we should always begin afresh and train hard. It is only through the training of kata that you will reach “gokui”, the essential teaching.
Goju Ryu Karate-Do is a manifestation within one’s own self or the harmonious accord of the universe.
“As supple as a willow, as solid as Mount Tai (a mountain often referred to in Chinese poetry)”. It is when the two extremes of hard and soft are wholly united as one body that the unshakable form of the harmony of heaven and earth will evolve. We find this harmony of hard and soft within the order of Nature and the oneness of the Universe. Through the way of Goju Ryu Karate-do we will be able to express the harmony of Nature within ourselves.
The way of Goju Ryu Karate-Do is to seek the way of virtue.
In Goju Ryu Karate-do, we try to cultivate the ideal human nature of physical and spiritual union through the training of the body and spirit. Originally, in the way of strategy, there was the concept “to win” , but to win through virtue is the ultimate goal. Therefore, anyone who aspires to this way must not forget the Japanese character “nin”, to endure. Heighten one’s own virtue, master the strategy of winning without fighting and seek the ultimate secret.