Karate Precepts and "Dojo Kun" (Part 4)
Other Okinawan and Japanese Styles

Dating back nearly 200 years to the beginnings of Okinawan karate as we know it today, great masters have often left behind letters of advice to their successors, lists of precepts that sum up their philosophical and/or technical approaches to the martial arts, or "Dojo Kun," usually short sets of rules for the dojo or brief summations of their advice and beliefs. In some schools, these Dojo Kun are repeated before or after practice as a promise or creed of the style or school. Below are a number of such precepts and Dojo Kun by a variety of famous masters. In many cases, these have been translated multiple times, often inconsistently. I have attempted to give a version that makes the most sense, sometimes taking part of one translation and melding it with parts of others. Parts 1-3 have covered Okinawan Shuri-te/Shorin-ryu, Okinawan Naha-te/Goju-ryu, and Japanese karate. This final part includes the dojo kun and precepts from a number of smaller Okinawan and Japanese styles.1


Uechi Kambun (1877-1948)

Dojo Conduct
Everything in the martial arts begins and ends with courtesy.

Be sure to bow when entering and leaving the dojo.

During practice always follow the directions of your instructor and seniors.

Whistling, singing and the like are improper behavior in the dojo.

Make the best use of your time by refraining from casual conversation during practice.

Keep busy while in the dojo.

When tired, rest in a place away from the activity of others.

Show respect for seniors and elders

Treat lower ranks and juniors with courtesy and compassion.

Always have a clean uniform Always act with propriety whether in or outside the dojo.

Uechi Kanei (1911-1991)

Principles of Practice
The purpose of karate training is to discipline the mind and body and to master the art of self-defense.

A karate practitioner should be well-mannered and modest, value courtesy, always wear decent clothing, pay attention to his speech and actions and work hard at training day and night.

A karate practitioner must never call upon his strength in a quarrel, speak harshly, act roughly, or become troublesome to others.

A karate practitioner must never bring shame upon himself or his school in ether speech or action.

A karate practitioner must never speak arrogantly, fall into laziness, or act conceitedly. He should endeavor to work diligently at training and improving himself.

A karate practitioner should respect decorum and the martial arts, maintain the fine traditions of karate and contribute to society.


Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu Federation of Odo Seikichi ( 1926-2002)

Dojo Kun
Drill with your heart and body to develop good character.

Value justice above all.

Foster the spirits of your effort with continuous practice.

Respect others, be well mannered, and treat others as you would be treated.

Do not be over confident.


Toma Shian (born 1930)

Dojo Kun
Lessons Learned in the Dojo

To endeavor to complete your personality.

To keep sincerity.

To cultivate a spirit of effort.

To respect courtesy (manners).

To rebuke hot-blooded courage (not fighting with anger).


Oyata Seiyu "Taika" (born 1929)

Dojo Kun
To strive for good moral character.

To keep an honest and sincere way.

To cultivate perseverance or a will for striving.

To develop a respectful attitude.

To restrain your physical ability through spiritual attainment .

This is written to give the student a better understanding of the dojo kun.


Making correct moral decisions and having both physical and mental courage; of the two, moral courage is the more important.

Being true to yourself and the other members of the dojo. It is a student's commitment to train hard and a teacher's commitment to teach well. The martial arts are a serious endeavor.

To train hard at all times. It is not fair to yourself, your sensei or the other dojo members to give less than your best effort.

The proper social behavior towards your teachers, your seniors and your juniors.

keeping your fighting spirit in check so that you do not injure your training partners. It is also controlling all your emotions, particularly anger. Emotions must not take charge in one's private life outside the Dojo.


Kenko Nakaima (1911-1994)

Dojo Kun
To seek to attain perfection of character.

To live with politeness and discipline.

To honor a code of ethical behavior.

To strive for excellence through efforts.

To refrain from impetuous conduct.



Konishi Yasuhiro (1893-1983)

Code of Conduct

I will obey all JKR published rules, regulations and procedures.

I will conform to the appropriate dress codes and always maintain the highest standards of conduct.

I will obey all state and national laws, as well as the host country laws during visits abroad.

I will conduct myself in a manner that will favorably reflect on the image of JKR.

I will attend or dispatch my official representative to all designated official functions of JKR.

I will do my utmost to further my knowledge and abilities through JKR and the national governing body for karate.

I will refrain from disparaging or personal remarks about JKR and members of JKR in public.

I will do my utmost to promote the general welfare of JKR.

I will strive to use common courtesy in all personal contacts.

I will follow proper hierarchical protocol as appropriate.


Ninomiya Joko (born 1954)

Dojo Kun
  1. We will always be courteous and show respect to others.
  2. We will strive to be our best and pursue it with patience.
  3. We will develop the mind and body to enhance the spirit.
  4. We will always keep an open heart and mind.
  5. We will accept the spirit of challenge.
  6. We will follow the meaning of Enshin in both our training and our daily lives.


Ashihara Hideyuki (1944-1995)

Dojo Kun
We will always be courteous.

We will make the best of our endeavors.

We will continue to improve our spirit and technique.

We will maintain a challenging spirit.

We will reflect on ourselves today, and strive to improve ourselves for tomorrow.

We will pursue karate as a means to know the way of life itself.