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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Our 5 Guiding Principles of Karate ~ Dojo Kun

Today’s topic for the Everyday Sensei is the Guiding Principle of our dojo or in Japanese, the Dojo Kun.

At the end of each class, we repeat our 5 Guiding principles of Character, Sincerity, Effort, Self Control, and Courtesy. These are 5 words are simplified English versions of the original Dojo Kun in Japanese that states the basic philosophy of karate according to our founder, Master Gichin Funakoshi.

The original Dojo Kun stated five basic tenets of karate which were
- Seek Perfection of Character
- Be faithful
- Endeavor
- Respect Others
- Refrain from Violent Behavior

So let’s talk about the meaning of each Guiding Principle

Seek Perfection of Character is the ultimate goal of karate. Gichin Funakoshi stated it this way, "The ultimate aim of the art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants." All the other principles of karate are based on seeking perfection of character ~ pursuing our highest objectives. To seek perfection of character, we must work from the inside out.

This principle also implies the idea of Kaizen or Improving Constantly And Never-endingly ~ The ultimate I CAN attitude. This means our karate training, like our life, is a ongoing process of personal growth and learning ~ a process that last a lifetime. We must set goals and as soon as we accomplish the goals, we must set our sights on bigger goals. In karate, you can only failure through quitting. As long as we continue to persist, learn, and grow, we succeed.

The translation means to be faithful in everything we do. We must be true and sincere to other people and our obligations. It also means to be faithful to ourselves by doing the best in everything we do.

By being faithful to ourselves and others, we build a feeling of trust and mutual respect. Sincerity basically means dealing honestly with our people and becoming the best person we can.

We must as martial artists try hard and give our best in everything we do whether it’s training, a relationship, or work. Effort or to endeavor mean maintaining a Black Belt Attitude and give 110% effort in everything we do. Regardless of how we feel or the situations we experience, we must remain upbeat and positive and endeavor to turn every problem into an opportunity.

This is a reminder to remain calm, assertive. We must be in control of our mind, emotion, and actions at all times. We must work everyday to maintain our inner calmness and peaceful mind. Self-Control also means to take responsibility for our actions and understanding that we directly influence our life results by our actions. We also must look for peaceful resolutions and refrain from violent behavior in every situation.

Courtesy reminds us to respect others. Respecting others begins with the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. We need to learn to listen empathically and open our minds to the opinions of others. Also, treating people with respect is important because being disrespectful can create enemies. If you treat people with courtesy and respect, you will more clearly see the world and enjoy your experiences.

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