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Dojo kun is a Japanese martial arts term literally meaning (training hall) rules. They are generally posted at the entrance to dojo or at the "front" of the dojo (shomen) and outline behaviour expected and disallowed. In some styles of martial arts they are recited at the end of a class.
Generally accredited to Gichin Funakoshi (but rumoured to have been created by Kanga Sakukawa, an 18th-century Okinawan karate proponent) the Shotokan Karate dojo kun serves as a set of five guiding principles, recited at the end of each training session in most styles, intended to frame the practice within an ethical context.
The five rules are:
- 一、人格 完成に 努める こと
- hitotsu, jinkaku kansei ni tsutomeru koto
- jinkaku = personality, kansei = complete (perfect), ni = to, tsutomeru = endeavour
- hitotsu, makoto no michi wo mamoru koto
- makoto = (the) path, no = of, michi = truth, wo = with respect to that, mamoru = defend
- hitotsu, doryoku no seishin wo yashinau koto
- doryoku = effort, no = ’s, seishin = spirit, o = with respect to that, yashinau = cultivate
- hitotsu, reigi wo omonzuru koto
- reigi = courtesy, wo = with respect to that, omonzuru = honour
- hitotsu, kekki no yū wo imashimuru koto
- kekki = vigor (impetuousness), no = of, yu = courage, wo = with respect to that, imashimuru = refrain
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. The word koto which ends each rule means "thing" and is used as a conjunction between rules. Also, the Japanese no indicates possessiveness and is equivalent to the English 's e.g. doryoku no seishin = effort's spirit = the spirit of effort. wo (and wa) is used to indicate that the preceding element is the subject of the sentence e.g. X wo Y = with respect to X, Y. Finally, the word imashimuru seems archaic, however, it contains the radical 戒 that means admonition and is usually translated as refrain.
Varying translations and interpretations of the dojo kun exist. Each translation differs in the terms used and the interpretations vary regarding the philosophical depth, meaning, and intention.
The population of English karate practitioners has pushed one form of the translation into being the most widely accepted outside of Japan. Generally, the English translation states:
- Each person must strive for the completion and perfection of one's character
- Each person must be faithful and protect the way of truth
- Each person must endeavor (fostering the spirit of effort)
- Each person must respect others and the rules of etiquette
- Each person must refrain from violent behavior (guard against impetuous courage)
- Strive for completion of character (or Seek perfection of character)
- Be Faithful
- Respect others
- Refrain from violent behavior
The dojo kun also appears in various other martial arts styles, with alterations according to the general precepts of that style.
- Hitotsu: Be humble and polite.
- Hitotsu: Train considering your physical strength.
- Hitotsu: Practice earnestly with creativity.
- Hitotsu: Be calm and swift.
- Hitotsu: Take care of your health.
- Hitotsu: Live a plain life.
- Hitotsu: Do not be too proud or modest.
- Hitotsu: Continue your training with patience.
- Strive for good moral character.
- Keep an honest and sincere way.
- Cultivate perseverance through a will for striving.
- Develop a respectful attitude.
- Restrain physical aggression through spiritual attainment.
- Loyalty is the essential duty of the soldier.
- Courage is essential since the trait of the fighting man is his spirit to win.
- Valor is a trait to be admired and encouraged in the modern warrior.
- Faithfulness in keeping one's word.
- Simplicity is a samurai virtue.
In Budōkan the Dojo Kun consists of four rules and are (in English) as follows:
- Show courtesy, respect and honesty towards others.
- Develop confidence through knowledge, honesty and strength.
- Never use violence for personal gain.
- Seek perfection of character.
(the below is someone's opinion. The obvious omission of anything relating to physical practice indicates it is not totally honest): In Shotokan or any other styles, the main purpose of learning karate is
- to practice courtesy
- be able to speak out (Increase self-confidence)
- train focus to reach objectives
- train guidance ability
- train resistance against pressure
- train speaking ability
- train spirit of strive
- train harmony characteristic
- success or failure is not important
(the below is also someone's opinion; probably someone who is used to just saying "Yes Sir!" to everything, no matter how irrational): The 3 most important spirits in dojo is
- say yes to obey
- say thanks to appreciate
- say sorry to increase introspection
- Calligraphy and sound
- A Defense of the Dojo Kun
- The Shotokan Way
- The Dojo Kun of Bushido and Karate-Do