Updated: Dec 4, 2022
The class is called to attention, and the instructor announces: 'Mokuso' (meditate). It's time to close our eyes, and clear our minds. Together, the students and instructors recite the 'Dojo Kun', piercing the now quiet room, with their combined voices.
The Dojo Kun (School Creed) is a set of 'guidelines' which students recite in our Dojo (School). But these lines are more than just words. Students learn each line, enter in to discussions about what each line represents, and then work to implement these thoughts in to their daily lives with their actions.
One, to strive for the perfection of character.
One, to defend the path of truth.
One, to foster the spirit of effort.
One, to honor the principles of etiquette.
One, to guard against impetuous courage.
"One, to Strive for the Perfection of Character". Perhaps, one interpretation might be: "To seek perfection of character is to seek to improve oneself, to always endeavor to learn and grow."
'One, to Defend (Protect) the Path (Way) of Truth (Sincerity and Honesty)", Perhaps "the words imply an ongoing struggle in which we are expected to work hard in order to protect and follow 'the correct path'. To do our best to not lie, and be positive in our daily lives.
'One, to Foster the Spirit of Effort", Consider, if applied to our training, we might endeavor to make our karate better, and do our best; Applied to our everyday life, we would strive to be better in everything we do.
Or, we might find ourselves saying an encouraging word to others, which might elevate someone else's spirit and effort (at the dojo, at school or work, or even at home).
'One, to Honor the Principles of Etiquette": Consider...
Respect, courtesy, and manners are an important part of Japanese culture and karate.
We learn karate and learn to respect our instructors and fellow students.
We do this through bowing, listening respectfully, helping each other, taking care of each other, and taking care of the place of training and the training equipment.
We also strive to make this respectful manner become part of ourselves, and behave accordingly outside the dojo.
'One, to Guard Against Impetuous Courage", Consider...
Impetuous - done suddenly and without much thought.
Courage - the ability to face fear or danger; bravery.
Guarding against impetuous courage may be interpreted to mean that we should 'think, before we act';
Or, perhaps, that we should remain in control of our emotions, and not act out of anger. We should never use karate maliciously to prove a point, show off, or bully another
For a moment, as the class completes reciting the Dojo Kun, everyone is united in thought and action. As we leave, these words that echoed moments ago in the Dojo (school), echo now in our thoughts, and in our hearts.