Dojo Hyogo – Dojo Motto

The motto of Shorinjiryu karatedo is‘ Doku Ji Gyo Sei Ki ‘ ,

In English: “Spiritual development of individuality in mind and body” 

In French : “Développement spirituel de l’individualité mentale et physique “

The Shorinjiryu motto was coined by Kaiso Masayoshi Kori Hisataka (1907-1988), Kaiso meaning founder, and expresses his view that individuality is an important trait developed in a karateka.

Hanshi Shunji Watanabe explained the meaning of the Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo motto, from Kaiso Hisataka as the following: “Shorinjiryu karateka are like trees in a forest. All the trees have common characteristics, but no one tree is the same as another. In the same way, Shorinjiryu karateka share common techniques, philosophies, and knowledge, but no practitioner is identical to another”.

It is from this comparison that we can understand how each of us simultaneously learns from and enhances Shorinjiryu karatedo according to our individuality.

Although the base of karate should be consistent, each practitioner will emphasise their own strengths and account for their limitations.

This motto is not a license for individuals to change forms or methods at their own discretion.

At the Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo honbu dojo (headquarters) in the Waseda area in Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo, Japan,  Kaiso Hisataka painted the motto in kanji on a large wooden board which remained on proud display at the front of the dojo since 1955 until recent renovations to the dojo in 2011.

Dojo Kun



(The School Principles of Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo) 

1- Maintain propriety, etiquette, dignity, and grace.

2- Gain self-understanding by tasting the true meaning of combat.

3- Search for pure principals of truth, justice, and beauty.

4- Exercise positive personality, that is to say – confidence, courage, and determination.

5- Always seek to develop the character further aiming towards perfection and complete harmony with creation.

The dojo kun is the five statements which are said at the end of the training session. They are like mottoes or declarations. They are beliefs. They are model ideals to aspire to. Some believe that they focus the individual to be a whole person, that they enhance the individual to become more than what he seems. Others may imply that the dojo kun is to teach you how to become the “ideal” karate person.

What typically happens is that at the end of the class the students line up in order of rank behind the teacher facing the front where the dojo kun hangs. The head student says, “seiza”, which in English means “sit in seiza”. “Seiza” is sitting on your knees with your feet under your backside. Some teachers tell the students that one big toe ought to be under the other big toe. The knees should be placed so that two fists side by side can fit between. Otherwise, if the knees are too close together, the seiza position looks too sissified. The head student then chants out each statement of the dojo kun and the students repeat each statement in chorus. After the last statement the head student says “mokuso” and everyone closes their eyes in concentration.When the moment of pause is finished the head student says, “mokuso yame”, which means “meditation finished”, and then “Sensei ni rei”, which means “bow to the teachers”. The students bow from the seiza position to the front line of insructors, and the teachers retirn the bow to the students.

The teachers turn to face the shomen and the head student then says, “Shomen ni rei”, which means “bow to the place of honour” and the teachers and student bow to the front of the classwhere there are pictures of the founder, flags, etc,..The teachers turn to face the students and the head student then says, “Otagai ni rei”, which means “bow to each other. The teachers and students bow to each other.It’s a nice finish to a tough workout. It quiets the spirit and calms the mind and maybe helps refocus the individual on why they go through this physical strain a few times a week.
The reason for chanting out the dojo kun in chorus has many purposes. It helps each person re-affirm the ideas and concepts of karate in their minds. It also may help develop the group as a whole, distinguishing them from others who do not train. This too is a nice feeling. It is one of camaraderie and collective dedication to a similar objective.

It is interesting to note, however, that the dojo kun is not always chanted out during each and every karate practice in dojos in Japan. The dojo kun is a set of principles and they are used to teach the philisophical foundations of this craft to youngsters. When there is an adult class training the dojo kun is not read aloud. Kids need instruction. Adults ought to know better.

Some karate folks feel that the dojo kun is holy writ, that we can’t talk about it, question it, discuss it, debate it, doubt it, or change it. But since the Holy Bible, the Koran, Buddhist Scriptures, are all open for discussion by scholars, theologians, holy men, and preachers; we should consider the dojo kun as equally fair game. So, let’s talk about it.

The dojo kun that we have in Japanese is a very earthy and common sense approach to what karate is and how it should serve humankind. Most of the dojo kun is associated with the individual’s identity. It encourages the individual to discover who they are.

It challenges the individual to remain truthful to what they know to be right and good. It pushes the individual to struggle from within to grow and to develop, to not hold back, and to discover secret talents and strengths within. It admonishes the individual to learn to live at peace with others.

And lastly, it tempers a rebellious spirit with calm thought and harnesses a powerful body with an equally powerful mind.

Know Yourself

You are likely to experience all sorts of fears in your study of martial arts.

That is OK.

Fear is often an expression of limitations we have imposed on ourselves.

For example everyone has a fear of falling down. That is why we practice breakfalls. Falling is taught to get through that fear. The feeling of accomplishment is extraordinary. Eventually students begin to believe that they can overcome their fears to move onto more challenging activities. As they begin to believe in themselves their train accelerates. They are no longer afraid to try.

Fear comes in many guises. Fear of failure is the greatest. Make no mistake you will fail. In fact you will fail many times. But take these occasions not as failures but practices to success. You will go home disappointed, frustrated, and angry full of doubt this happens in everyday life as well. By returning to practice you give yourself the chance to work through all those negative emotions and to ultimately succeed. This success transfers itself beyond martial arts and self-defense.

Emotions are very much a part of a martial artist’s life. You must come to grips with personal emotions, In combative situations emotions can be deadly. They cannot be banished completely but learn to be controlled. This is done through experienced know that it will take time to succeed.

Believing in yourself you will persevere. Don’t measure your progress against other students. Take pride in your accomplishments and recognize there are greater hurdles to overcome.

Mission Statement

The mission of the SHI RYU KAI dojo in serving the martial arts need of the community, is to:

  • Provide quality training in traditional martial arts
  • Provide worthwhile services at a fair and reasonable cost
  • Insure all students, parents, and guests a safe training environment free of fear, prejudice, intimidation or harassment regardless of age, sex, race, religion, sexual preference or disability

In achieving this mission, we will :

  • Consistently assist our students in achieving their goals.
  • Be a positive presence in the lives of our students and in the community at large.
  • Maintain our tradition of fairness, integrity, service, legitimacy, and longetivity.
  • Pursue excellence and innovation by continuously improving our programs and services through the effective use of all available resources.

This mission will be achieved through :

  • the dojo staff, parents, students and volunteers
  • supported by :
    • Shorinjiryu Genbukan Karate Federation
    • Karate Ontario
    • Artillery Park Aquatic Centre
Members are encouraged to participate in tournaments, and to attend seminars, training camps, and classes they are interested in.

Members can also belong to other martial arts associations and attend their events.

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All Rights Reserved.