Many martial arts schools around the world promote a philosophy of self-improvement, as well as an expected standard of technical skill. When you think about it, it is philosophy rather than technical skill that should influence every practitioner’s daily life.

The philosophy of martial arts, or at least the philosophy of traditional karate, is called Dojo-Kun. The Dojo-Kun is simply a five-point ethical guide to martial arts training and behavior in your daily life and is sometimes called the “Student’s Creed” in English. Traditional karate ethics are often translated as:

Strive for perfection of character.

To follow the paths of truth

Foster the spirit of effort

Honor the principles of etiquette

To guard against impetuous courage

In many traditional karate schools, these precepts are chanted at the beginning and end of each lesson in Japanese, and in other schools in English. Some schools do not sing at all, just display the principles on the dojo wall and other schools make up their own “Student’s Creed”.

I’m not here to tell you which path is right or wrong, but what you should do when choosing a martial arts school is to ask yourself if that school’s core values ​​resonate with your outlook on life and moral ethic. After all, you and your family are setting yourself up for a very emotional adventure as you begin your karate journey. It is likely that a conflict of moral values ​​”Dim Mak” (give a Death Touch) to your involvement in martial arts early on.

The Dojo-Kun Precepts can offer a very simple template for following a virtuous path and reaching your potential in all you do and being a good citizen. It is up to you to decide how this philosophy fits with your own ideals and ethics. Most people find these five core ethics to be something they can relate to intimately; Some people don’t place much value on the philosophy of martial arts and are in your karate class next to you for very different reasons, such as self-defense or basic health and fitness. The phrase “each to his own” is definitely applicable here.

Essentially, there are many other paths to self-actualization and understanding of the big world around you. Martial arts simply offer a valuable template for beginning to understand yourself and others through understanding movement, power, speed, timing, energy, tension, relaxation, and harmony. It is the beginning of what can be a long and extremely rewarding journey.

If you need more help with this or any other karate topic, be sure to download my FREE “A Beginner’s Guide to Karate” Report. You will find how to download it at

Good luck and best wishes on your karate journey.

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