Masthead image
Dojo Kun

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dojo Kun are the foundational principles of Shotokan karate.  They are recited at the end of training in Japanese and again in English.  Master Funakoshi, the father of modern karate, gave us the Dojo Kun, and they serve as a condensed guide to proper conduct both inside and outside the dojo.

Each of the recitations in Japanese is preceded by the word hitotsu (first) and succeeded by koto!  The word koto signifies the intent of the practitioner to honor the precepts.  It can be thought of as an exclamation point, or perhaps as if it meant "for sure!"

Dojo Kun 1: Seek perfection of character!

Dojo Kun 2: Be faithful!

Dojo Kun 3: Endeavor!

Dojo Kun 4: Respect others!

Dojo Kun 5: Refrain from violent behavior!

The hitotsu that precedes each statement is not illogical; it reinforces the idea that all of the precepts are equally important.

Learn more about the Dojo Kun on the ISKF website.

There are also the Niju Kun, or Twenty Precepts, that Funakoshi Sensei defined for the karateka to practice.  These lessons are explicated in the book Perfection of Character by Okazaki Teruyuki Sensei.  The book gives a profound insight into the pressures of everyday life and how the precepts can clarify everyday problems.