Our Principles

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"If every martial artist will meditate deeply on these principles regularly, he or she will grow morally, spiritually, and technically, and will become a more effective agent in the quest to mend the world." Master Teruyuki Okazaki Chairman, International Shotokan Karate Federation
In his book,   Karate-do Kyohan, Gichin Funakoshi expressed his concern that Karate, when misunderstood, can be misused. Clearly he felt an obligation to emphasize fundamental principles that would guide his students toward its correct path, that of self development and peace. Generations later, as we acknowledge Master Funakoshi's place as the father of Karate-Do, we cannot help but feel a sense of gratitude that he took such care in the creation of the 20 principles of Karate, and of life.

The Niju Kun

  • Karate-do begins and ends with rei
    Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto a wasaru na


  • There is no first strike in Karate
    ni sente nashi


  • Karate stands on the side of justice
    Karate wa, gi no taske


  • First know yourself, then know others
    Mazu onore o shire, shikashite ta o shire


  • Mentality over technique
    Gijitsu yori shinjitsu


  • The mind must be set free
    Kokoro wa hanatan koto o yosu


  • Calamity springs from carelessness
    Wazawai wa ketai ni seizu


  • Karate goes beyond the dojo
    Dojo nomino karate to omou na


  • Karate is a lifelong pursuit
    Karate-do no shugyo wa isssho de aru


  • Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty
    Ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; sokoni myomi ari


  • Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state
    Karate Wa Yu No Gotoku Taezu Netsu O Atae Zareba Motono Mizuni Kaeru


  • Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing
    Katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo


  • Make adjustments according to your opponent
    Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo


  • The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness
    Tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari


  • Think of hands and feet as swords
    Hi to no te-ashi wa ken to omoe


  • When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies
    Danshi mon o izureba hyakuman no teki ari


  • Kamae is for beginners; later, one stands in shizentai
    Kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai


  • Perform kata exactly; actual combat is another matter
    Kata wa tadashiku, jisen wa betsumono


  • Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique
    Chikara no kyojaku tai no shinshuku waza no kankyu


  • Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way
    Tsune ni shinen ku fu seyo


  • The 20 principles  espoused in  Master Funakoshi's  Niju Kun are fundamentally and concisely captured in the  Dojo Kun . At the end of each class, we kneel for our closing ceremony. Often we are hot, sweaty and low on energy. We meditate briefly, providing an opportunity to come to the present moment with a clear mind. It is only then that we state the Dojo Kun aloud. 

    Under a senior student's guidance , children repeat the Dojo Kun in English, adults in both Japanese and English. Mindlessly parroting the words is a mistake, and a lost opportunity for enrichment. The Dojo Kun is to be stated from the heart, as it is the distillation of Master Funakoshi's most passionate belief: that Karate is to be used for self development and the betterment of the world.

The Dojo Kun

  • Seek Perfection of Character hitotsu, jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto


  • Be Faithful hitotsu, makoto no michi wo mamoru koto


  • Endeavor to Excel hitotsu, doryōku no seishin wo yashinau koto


  • Respect Others hitotsu, reigi wo omonzuru koto


  • Refrain from Violent Behavior hitotsu, kekki no yū wo imashimuru koto


Dojo Kun Calligraphy by Masatoshi Nakayama
Niju Kun Calligraphy by Skinkin Gima

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