Index of Training Resources

New Student Information
    How to truly train Karate & Understand it
   
Dojo Rules & Guidelines

KATA References
    Kihon Kata
   
Fukyu Kata
   
Naihanchi Kata
   
Pinan Kata
   
Passai Sho & Dai Kata
   
Kusanku Sho & Dai Kata
   
Chinto Kata
   
Gojushiho Kata
   
Shugoro no Kata Gorin
   
About Bunkai

History of Shorin Ryu ShorinKan Karate

Karate Terminology

Kihon Waza - Technical Study

Belt Rank Curriculum Sheets

Event Calendar Bryan Dojo

Event Calendar Auburn Dojo
 

UNDERSTANDING THE DOJO CULTURE..
A MUST KNOW FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS

Karate training is not like anything you will ever participate in. It is challenging physically but will build a strong body, mind and spirit which in turn improves your life. It is very important that both parents and students understand the culture of the dojo. This note will explain how to understand the traditions, how we run the dojo and will assist you in getting the most out of your training.

The culture of the dojo is that of Okinawa, even though it is in the United States. Many of the methods in which we train and study the art of Karate are in direct opposition of the social standards found here in our country...yet many are the same. Our society has changed, and in my opinion, not for the best. In order to understand the culture of the dojo you will need to first learn how to empty your cup.

EMPTY YOUR CUP - CLEARING YOUR MIND

There is an old tale in Zen about a student who went to a Master to learn his art. The Master welcomed the student in, they sat down and began to talk. As the student explained how great he had been at his studies and how much he had learned the Master began to pour tea into his cup. As the student continued to speak the Master kept pour the tea. Finally the cup overflowed with the tea and the student exclaimed for the Master to please stop pouring it. The Master did so, set the tea kettle down and returned to his seated position. As the student sit there staring at the mess created the Master then spoke "How can I teach you anything because your mind is like this cup, overfilled with your ideas. You must  first empty your cup so that I may fill it with my teachings in order to truly guide you." As a student you must empty your cup. Regardless of what you think Karate is or any training you may have received before if you cannot empty your mind you cannot truly learn from me in the dojo.

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE & TRAINING

Another old parable speaks of how the emperor of Japan sent for a Martial Arts master who everyone in the country said had reached enlightenment and was the best teacher in the world. During their meeting the Emperor asked the Master what is the secret to all martial arts training. The Master asked for a few days to meditate on the subject and would give the Emperor his answer then. A few days went by and it was noted the Master sat in his meditative state without eating, without drinking and without moving. Finally the Master arose and asked to see the Emperor. As he walked into the large meeting hall of the royal palace he requested a single sheet of rice paper, some ink and a brush. Without speaking a word the Master sat down and drew a perfect circle. He handed this to the Emperor who was outraged at his answer. Many years passed by and the Emperor lay on his bed dying. Suddenly the he set up and demanded someone find the Master who drew him the circle. When the Master was found he entered the room to see the Emperor. He knelt down and listened to what the Emperor had to say. "I finally understand your teachings great Master. It has humbled to learn the secret. Thank you" - the Emperor whispered to the Master and then, with his last breath, he closed his eyes into eternal sleep. The eternal circle drawn by the Master expressed how we are born, we grow and we die...everything in between is the composition of what makes us who we are. As in martial arts we begin with nothing (White Belt) and train until we die. This process then repeats itself in our students.

THE OKINAWA CULTURE - TRAIN AS IF YOU ARE THERE

Many people see Karate in the movies. The see the Master standing in front of the class barking out orders and challenging students, often beating on them and be as strict as a military drill instructor. The see how the student follows the Master without fail. I could go on about these conceptions but in reality they are not how REAL Karate training is done. Our art comes from Okinawa. Okinawa is a tiny island in the Pacific ocean that has been a melting pot of Asian cultures for thousands of years. The Okinawan people are calm, peaceful people who dedicate themselves to their daily tasks with nothing but seeking perfection in mind. Our culture in our dojo is the same.

To get the most out of your training, or your child's, you have to understand and follow the culture in the dojo. Sensei is in charge period. If a Sensei states that a student is to attend a function, event or be at the dojo then the student will do so. Anything else is disrespectful. Respect in the dojo is different than how our culture in the states sees it. We often hear the phrase "To get respect you first must earn it" today. This is thrown around by people who don't want to pay respect where it is due. A Sensei, as well as all the other black belts and higher ranked students, have already earned their respect. A student is to set on a pathway to earn the respect of the Sensei, not the other way around. In martial arts we respect knowledge and time in training. If a student skips classes, is late arriving, ignores mandatory training events they are disrespecting their Sensei and all the other students. When this happens disciplinary action always follows.

Understanding how we discipline in the dojo is one of the hardest things for both parents and students to get used to. As a parent you have to understand that once your child is in the dojo the Sensei has full control and say as to the training of your child. When they are not in the dojo it is up to you, the parent, to train them. Through watching classes and learning how Karate works and then re-enforcing it at home we both work together to grow your child into a more respectful and disciplined person. Take time to read the rules of etiquette and get to know, understand our traditions. This is Karate...it is not baseball, football or other things of that nature. We do not allow sideline coaching at anytime as this is not respecting the Sensei and allowing them to do their job. Discipline in the dojo is held to a high, but understanding level. Your Sensei is there to help you but not babysit nor parent you. Our purpose is to teach Karate and that is exactly what we do.

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TRAINING

Every new students is told that we expect two days a week of regular attendance. While we understand that things in life will get in the way from time to time our expectations will remain the same. I have been teaching martial arts for over 25 years and can tell you with 100% factual information that if you fail to make your training a priority and don't commit to building a positive habit to be at the dojo you will FAIL. Use time management skills, schedule your two days a week on your planner. Move all other things around that training time and get to the dojo. This is the first step of building self discipline. If, for some reason, you have to miss a day schedule in a make up day that same week or an extra day to make up for it the following week. You will have days where you don't want to be in the dojo and those are the days you must force yourself to go (or your child). If you don't do this then you can't build the habits that lead to being successful in life.

When you arrive at the dojo quickly get dressed. Don't play around or take your time. Get in the mind set that you are in the dojo to train, nothing else. Go to the dojo entrance, pause, close your eyes, take a deep breath and bow slowly. Pause for a second as you bow to allow your mind to clear and focus on the lessons for that day. Take care to repeat this process until it becomes habit.

While in classes focus on everything the Sensei is saying, performing and doing. There are many more lessons one will learn than just physical Karate if they truly open their mind. Watch every detail, from the stances to the manner in which techniques are executed. Your goal is to emulate what you being shown and to practice it completely. Do not focus on rank or getting belts. They come as the Sensei deems you worthy to move up. Always remember that black belt is just another step into your training...never the end!

SENSEI HAS THE LAST SAY ON ALL TRAINING ASPECTS

In the dojo culture the Sensei is in 100% in charge. Arguing or not following instruction is very disrespectful and can result in the expulsion of the student (and it has many times). Even though we run a business we will not sacrifice the integrity of our art or the structure of the class to please one person at anytime. If your Sensei says you will take a belt exam then you will. That is always Sensei's call, never yours or anyone else's. In order to learn discipline and build character a Sensei must break you down, move you out of your comfort zone and then they can rebuild you. Your Sensei will be compassionate to a point but they know when you are trying to cop out of things. Also be aware that we take your word / promise 100%. A student who doesn't fulfill their word to their Sensei will lose all respect from them and have to re-earn it step by step. Your promise is that you will train two days a week minimum without fail, listen, study and build the materials being taught to you. That is the bond between Sensei and student and one we take very seriously. No one over rules the Sensei at anytime and you have to accept this. That being said a good Sensei will never ask or make a student do anything immoral or wrong. If you ever find yourself in a dojo with a Sensei who does such things then LEAVE immediately. Things that are wrong include telling you beat someone up, beating the students as if that is part of the training process, forcing a student to drink, do drugs or alcohol. These are the type of things that have no bearing on learning Karate at anytime.

A FINAL NOTE ON TRAINING

Karate training is an awesome thing. Through it you will grow as a person and build a very strong body, solid mind and indomitable spirit that can face all challenges in life. You will doubt yourself many times, even if you achieve a black belt. This is the process and there are no such things as failures. The only time you truly fail is when you QUIT. Never doubt that you can do anything so you can achieve great things. The training will be tough and require you to invest sweat equity (as Sensei calls) to grow as a person. You will not agree with your Sensei many times but there is always a good reason your Sensei has you do what is requested of you. Often times you will not understand that until the answer appears and then you will be thankful that your Sensei pushed you to accomplish whatever the task was at hand. Be consistent in your training without fail. Make your training a priority or you will fail. Your Sensei is there to teach you Karate and in doing so will strengthen you to new heights both inside and outside of the dojo. Always be mindful that respect if given to your seniors without fail. This is Karate done the right way and any other way is not Karate.