“Dojo Kun” are the principles or ethics of a dojo to be followed by a Karate practitioner, in the dojo or in everyday life created by the founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, Gichin Funakoshi. It is necessary for instructors and seniors to regularly remind the students of the importance of these dojo kun. There are 5 such principles that guides the behaviour in a Shotokan dojo and everyday life.
Dojo Kun 1 : Seek Perfection of Character (Character)
人格完成に勤むること (Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutmuru koto)
One should always strive to perfect one’s character / spirit / personality. This principle teaches that the art of karate is much higher than just physical improvement. A Karate practitioner(Karate-Ka), should learn and be taught the importance of character building through discipline and rigorous training and also learn self-discipline and good sportsmanship. The qualities learned provide a lifetime benefit of inner strength and peace.
Dojo Kun 2 : Be Faithful (Loyalty)
誠の道を守ること (Makoto no michi wo mamoru koto)
This principle teaches that been faithful and loyal is the best way to do Karate. As a Karate practitioner, one should be faithful to the Sensei (instructor) and the Dojo (karate class). It is the faithfulness and loyalty shown to the Sensei which rewards one with a greater amount of knowledge and wisdom. Also this builds a bond between a sensei and a student which is precious and is the foundation of the learning relationship.
Dojo Kun 3 : Endeavor (Effort)
動力の精神を養うこと (Dohryoku no seishin wo yashinau koto)
The mastery of an art lies in complete dedication and commitment of the practitioner. This principle teaches that one must be completely dedicated and committed with right effort and sacrifice for mastering the art of Karate and eventually the mastery of oneself. Also as a karate practitioner with everyone around, one should always inspire others by setting examples, eventually improving oneself and others too, and this encourages the spirit of effort.
Dojo Kun 4 : Respect Others (Etiquette)
礼儀を重んずること (Reigi wo omonzuru koto)
This principle teaches the importance of respecting other in Karate or more commonly in martial arts. Gichin Funakoshi always implied that Karate begins and ends with etiquette or courtesy and also that there is no dojo without courtesy. As a karate practitioner, in the dojo one should respect others all the time by correctly bowing and been polite. While bowing, try to keep your back straight and bend only at the hips. Showing respect is not to be limited inside a dojo but inculcated in everyday life and extended to all.
Dojo Kun 5 : Refrain From Violent Behavior (Control)
血気の勇を戒めること (Kekki no yuu wo imashimeru koto)
A true Karate-Ka is one who is a well trained individual with an unbeatable fighting spirit and strength and still in control of their emotion and stays calm always. This principle teaches one to refrain from any violent behaviour and always use the knowledge of Karate only for the sake of justice.