Dojo Kun


Dojo is the Japanese word for training place. Kun means rules. At the end of every lesson we recite the Dojo Kun. We live by the Dojo Kun both inside and outside the dojo.

人格 完成 に 勉る こと
真 の 道 お 守る こと
努力 の 精神 お 養う こと
礼儀 お 重んずる こと
決起 の 湯 お 今しむる こと

- Hitotsu: Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutomuru Koto.

  First:       Seek perfection of character.

- Hitotsu: Makoto no Michi o Mamoru Koto.

  First:       Be faithful.

- Hitotsu: Doryoku no Seishin o Yashinau Koto.

  First:       Endeavor.

- Hitotsu: Reigi o Omonzuru Koto.

  First:       Respect others.

- Hitotsu: Kekki no Yu o Imashimuru Koto.

  First:       Refrain from violent behavior.

The Japanese word hitotsu means first and is said before every rule to show that all rules are equally important. The official ISKF translation of the dojo kun, which we recite at the GSKF is:
- Seek perfection of character
- Be faithful
- Endeavor
- Respect Others
- Refrain from Violent Behavior

That translation works well for English speakers, however the meaning may be changed a bit. A more direct translation might be:
- Strive to complete your character (mature)
- Protect the way of truth
- Foster a spirit of effort
- Respect the principles of etiquette
- Guard against impetuous courage
Or:
- Learn self-discipline and good sportsmanship
- This is the best way to do karate
- Inspire everyone around you to try hard by setting an example
- Be polite to other people
- Stay calm, reserved, and detached

Shotokan Philosophy


"Training in karate teaches us not only self-defense but, to respect others as well as ourselves. We train our body to be strong, and our mind and spirit to be patient, in order to become the best human beings we can be. Karate is a spiritual endeavor, a way to develop a person as an individual. Everything we learn in the dojo, or training hall, should be applied to everyday life. Karate training is not always easy. Often times it can be very difficult and demanding. This is also true of life. If we can overcome obstacles in our training, it enables us to have strong character to do the same in our everyday lives.

The very essence of karate, the main purpose of training - is all about improving ourselves. We must always work hard at this. When we take responsibility to become persons of good character and integrity, we will be doing our part to make the world a better place, which in turn can help to bring peace to the world. This was the legacy of my teacher, Master Gichin Funakoshi. It is also my personal goal, and the goal of the International Shotokan Karate Federation, to teach not only karate techniques, but moreover, to do my best to guide our members in the understanding of what it means to be a true martial artist. A true martial artist constantly strives to be a good human being.

I have been fortunate to have been taught, guided, and influenced by my teachers, Master Gichin Funakoshi and Master Masatoshi Nakayama. It is their spiritual inspiration that gives me the determination and resolve to pass on to my students what they have passed on to me. Master Nakayama assured Master Funakoshi that he would keep the Dojo Kun and Niju Kun principles front and foremost in our karate training and I in turn will do the same. It is my sincere hope that all of our members do the same and pass on Master Funakoshi’s philosophy for generations to come.

As human beings, we are all the same, and have the same vulnerabilities. This is human nature. We can overcome many things if we first understand and accept this about ourselves. If we accept the good and the bad about ourselves, it is much easier to accept these things in others. And to be a true martial artist, we must accept nature and continually work on perfecting our character. This daily process should be as routine as waking up in the morning. Everyone has within them the power to be good human beings and to bring this out in one another. That is the true power of a good martial artist."

- Sensei T. Okazaki

ISKF Masters


Master Gichin Funakoshi

Master Gichin Funakoshi

1869-1957

Master Masatoshi Nakayama

Master Masatoshi Nakayama

1913-1987

Master Teruyuki Okazaki

Teruyuki Okazaki

Chief Instructor

10th Dan

Master Yutaka Yaguchi

Yutaka Yaguchi

Vice Chief Instructor

9th Dan

ISKF History


Gichin Funakoshi is known today as the father of modern day karate. He was born in 1868 in Okinawa. As a boy he studied karate under two masters, Master Itosu and Master Azato. In those days a master only took on a few students and the practice of the martial arts was still kept secret. When Funakoshi grew up he became a school teacher, training in karate all the while with both masters.

It was during this time, Okinawan karate emerged from its seclusion to become a legally sanctioned martial art. Funakoshi, knowing the huge benefits of the study of karate, introduced karate into the Okinawan public school system. In 1922, the Japanese Ministry of Education held a martial arts demonstration in Tokyo and Funakoshi was asked to introduce Okinawan karate to Japan.

Funakoshi did not get the chance to return to Okinawa. His demonstration made a powerful impression on the Japanese public; Funakoshi was soon besieged with requests to further demonstrate and teach his art. Eventually Funakoshi had enough students to open the first karate dojo in Japan. The dojo was called 'Shotokan' ('Kan' means 'building', 'Shoto' means 'pine waves', which was Funakoshi's pen name). In 1955, Funakoshi established the Japan Karate Association. Funakoshi served as chief instructor of the JKA until his death in 1957. Since then, Shotokan students have continued his spirit and teachings.

Gichin Funakoshi was born in Shuri, Okinawa in 1868. Funakoshi passed away in 1957 at the age of 88. Funakoshi-sensei is the man who introduced karate to Japan and the World.

Funakoshi
Funakoshi

ISKF History

Training Precepts


Gichin Funakoshi, Founder of Shotokan Karate, wrote Karate-Do Nyumon (literally, “passage through the gates of the Karate way”. In it, he laid out the key principles to follow when practicing karate:

  • Practice with the utmost seriousness from the very beginning.
  • Do exactly as you are taught without complaining or quibbling.
  • When you learn a new technique, practice it whole heartedly until you understand it.
  • Don't pretend to be a great master and don't show off your strength.
  • You must always have a deep regard for courtesy, and be respectful and obedient toward your seniors.
  • Ignore the bad and adopt the good.
  • Think of everyday life as karate training. Do not think of karate training as belonging only to the dojo, nor only as a fighting method.

The Story of Apprentice Matura


Matajura wanted to become a great swordsman, but his father said he could never learn because he wasn't quick enough and could never learn. So Matajura went to the famous dueler, Bonzo, and asked to become his pupil. "How long will it take me to become a master?", he asked. "Suppose I become your servant to be with you every minute. How long?"

"Ten years", said Bonzo.

"My father is getting old. Before ten years have passed, I will have to return home to take care of him. Suppose I work twice as hard. How long will it take me?"

"Thirty years", said Bonzo.

"How is that?” asked Matajura. "First you say ten years. Then when I offer to work twice as hard, you say it will take three times as long. Let me make myself clear. I will work unceasingly. No hardship will be too much. How long will it take?"

"Seventy years", replied Bonzo. A pupil in such a hurry learns slowly.

The more you worry about the end result, the less time you have to focus on daily training. Some people are more physically adept and athletic than others. Some are less. Some people can concentrate better and more consistently than others. Some less. Everyone is different and each person progresses at their own rate.

The goal is to develop yourself. Ranking of kyu or dan is an indication to yourself of where you stand in your training. Once you go on to a higher level you have to constantly review and maintain what you have learned before. Ultimately, what you will learn in the future depends greatly on what you learned in the past. At each level a person needs to become a master of what they are supposed to know at that level. Some learn quicker than others. Jealousy of rank should not become an issue, rather a person should focus on the things that they need to know. Courtesy and manners are of upmost importance.