The moment class starts, your mind should be on karate and on trying to improve your technique. Concentrate, give spirited kiai, don’t talk, and practice hard!
Shotokan is a traditional Japanese martial art and, as such, the guidelines of behavior and etiquette in the dojo are the same as if you were training in Japan. You are required to show proper respect to the shomen (the front of the room), sensei(teacher or Instructor), and the sempai(senior students) at all times. In addition, you must show respect to the training facility by bowing when you enter and when you leave. Please keep in mind the following:
1. A bow, rei (pronounced – ray), in Karate is a demonstration of respect, nothing more.
2. When entering or leaving the dojo, stand at the doorway, heels together hands by your side in musubi dachi (informal attention stance), and bow, saying “Osu”. Stand straight with your hands at your sides, heels together, and toes at an angle of 45 degrees. Bend slowly forward until fingers touch the knees and then stand up again. Do not slap your thighs or curl your neck.
3. When performing a seated bow, begin in the same position as the standing bow, and then put your left knee on the ground. Continue with the right knee and sit on your heels with your back straight and looking toward the front. The male’s knees are slightly apart; the female’s knees are together. When instructed to bow, or rei, place both hands on the floor in front of you and bend at the hips until your head is parallel to the floor. Do not rise until the person you are bowing to rises.
When told to stand, raise your body vertically and place your right foot on the ground. Stand and bring both feet to musubi dachi. Do not place your hands on the floor to get up or to kneel. Do not be concerned about making a mistake; you will be instructed in the proper procedure by another student on your first day.
The sensei is the teacher or instructor. It loosely translates as, “the person who was there before the student.” Sempai is a senior student or anyone who is a higher rank than you. They are kohai, or junior students, to the sensei.
Children are to treat all adults as sempai; even if the child is a higher rank. This is not to imply the adult can disrespect the ranking child; in this case, mutual respect is warranted. When addressed by a senior student, the junior student should say, osu, and listen attentively. It is disrespectful to look around, show “attitude,” or ignore what they say. They are there to help you; listen and learn.
Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate, laid out the Twenty Precepts of Karate (Niju kun), which are a guide for all karateka to follow and adhere to. These principles form the foundations of Shotokan karate. These twenty principles were based heavily on Bushido and Zen.
The principles allude to notions of respect, humility, compassion, patience, awareness, and both inward and outward calmness.
1. Karate is not only for dojo training.
2. Karate begins and ends with a bow.
3. There is no first attack in karate.
4. One who practices karate follows the ways of justice.
5. First know yourself; then know others.
6. Kimefirst; technique second.
7. Release your mind.
8. Misfortune is a result of laziness.
9. It takes a lifetime to learn karate.
10. Make karate a part of everyday life.
11. Karate is like hot water. If you do not heat it, it grows cold.
12. Do not focus on winning; focus on not losing.
13. Victory depends on telling vulnerable points from non-vulnerable ones.
14. Move according to your opponent.
15. Consider your hands and feet as sharp swords.
16. When you leave home, imagine millions of opponents are waiting to attack you.
17. Ready position for beginners; natural position for advanced.
18. Katais one thing; a real fight is another.
19. Remember: strength and weakness of power; expansion and contraction of the body; slowness and speed of techniques.
20. Always create and devise.
1. Heian (Peaceful Mind)
2. Tekki (Iron Horse)
3. Bassai (Storm a Fortress)
4. Kanku (View the Sky)
5. Jion (Temple Ground)
6. Jitte (Ten Hands)
7. Jiin (Monk’s name)
8. Hangetsu (Half Moon)
9. Empi (Flying Swallow)
10. Chinte (Unusual Hands)
11. Gankaku (Crane on a Rock)
12. Sochin (Maintain Peace/ To Overcome)
13. Nijushiho (Twenty-four Steps)
14. Gojushiho (Fifty-four Steps)
15. Unsu (Cloud Hands)
16. Meikyo (Polished Mirror)
17. Wankan (King's Crown)