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What Is a Dojo Kun in Karate?

Learn what a dojo kun is from karate instructor Richard Amos in this Howcast video.


Good, I'd like to explain a little bit about the Dojo Kun, the Code of Morals that every Japanese Dojo has. This is usually badly translated into English, so in my Dojo we made a choice and we decided to do it Japanese, because as the explanation will show, it's a little bit involved than the regular translation. So, this is Kun, the Morals. This was actually given to me by an important Sensei from Japan, [one of my?] Sensei, [inaudible 0:00:29.9] and this is his calligraphy. So first of all, we start off you'll notice they've got this single line here. That's the one in Japanese. One, normally we say, [Japanese]. In this case, because we're counting something and this is a very complex thing in the Japanese language, it's [Japanese]. [Japanese] is a thing which is on the end of each of these morals. So we begin [Japanese]. [Japanese] is a person there. [Japanese] is character. [Japanese] means full, complete or whole. [Japanese] means to seek, or strive for a full, complete character. The second one, [Japanese]. [Japanese] means to defend. [Japanese] is the same as [Japanese], [Japanese] being the Chinese sound of the Japanese word, [Japanese]. So this is the path you walk on, the path you live your life on. And this means truthfulness and sincerity. So, you're defending the path that you walk on of truthfulness and sincerity, which is a bit more involved than the common translation of "be faithful." The third one here, [Japanese]. [Japanese] there's a symbol here which means "power," and also buried in there a little bit. So this together means, "perseverance." [Japanese] is gold. [Japanese] is the spirit. So, you are cultivating the spirit of perseverance. The fourth one here, [Japanese]. [Japanese] means "to honor," and this character here [Japanese], is "to bow." We always say at the beginning and end of every session. [Japanese] are the things associated with [Japanese], in other words the principles of etiquette. And we are honoring the principles of etiquette, which again is a little bit more involved and more interesting than just simply saying, "respect others." The last one here, [Japanese]. [Japanese] means to be warned, or to guard against. And this character here, if you take the top off, it's a man. And with the top part on, it's courage or bravery. But we have to protect ourselves or be warned of the courage and bravery of hot bloodedness. And this is blood, and this is energy. So, the translation of "refrain from violent behavior" catches it a little bit, but much more means, "guard against hot blooded behavior." Okay, and that's the Dojo Kun.

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