Dojo Kun

  • We will train our hearts and bodies for a firm unshaking spirit.
  • We will pursue the true meaning of the martial way so that in time our senses may be alert.
  • With true vigor, we will seek to cultivate a spirit of self denial.
  • We will respect our superiors and refrain from violence.
  • We will follow and honour our conscience and never forget the true virtue of humility.
  • We will look up to wisdom and strength, not seeking other desires.
  • All our lives, through the discipline of karate, we will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin way.

The Origin of the Dojo Kun

The dojo kun or dojo oath is recited by the lead instructor at the end of each training session. The recitement of the dojo kun signals the end of training and reminds us of a path that Soasai Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate wanted us to follow. The words are self explanatory, but it wasn’t Sosai Oyama who wrote them. Below is the story of how the dojo kun was written.

Sosai Oyama’s favorite book was Musashi Miyamoto. The non-fiction book, written by Eiji Yoshikawa, a famous historical novelist who Sosai respected. One of the most famous books in Japan, Musashi was an undefeated samurai who used two swords to defeat his opponents. Sosai took this book with him when he lived in seclusion in the mountains to train in the way of the martial arts. It was there where he started to develop his own style which later became known as Kyokushin Karate.

Years later, when Sosai returned to Tokyo, he established the Honbu (main) dojo in the Toshima ward of Tokyo. It was at that time, he decided to create his own dojo oath, so he asked his wife to prepare him a lunch box daily. She eventually discovered the reason was that he wanted to meet Mr. Yoshikawa, so every day he would take his lunch and wait under a tree outside Mr Yoshikawa’s home. One day the back yard door was open and Sosai could see that two of Mr Yoshikawa’s maids were chopping firewood. Surprised to see such physical work being done by women, he went in and chopped the wood for them. Soon after, Mr Yoshikawa, who rarely ventured into the garden, happened to come outside and noticed all the wood stacked neatly in his garden. “Who did this?” he inquired. His maid explained that a Mr Oyama chopped the wood and that he had been coming for about 6 months hoping to see him but was too polite to approach the house. “Well, tell him if he comes again, I would like to meet him” he replied.

Soon after, Sosai was introduced to Mr Yoshikawa. Sosai explained that he had just completed the Honbu dojo and that he would be grateful if Mr Yoshikawa would write an oath for the dojo. Mr Yoshikawa said that he would be pleased to write an oath. However, Sosai admitted that he would not be able to pay anything in return. Mr Yoshikawa replied that since Sosai had chopped all the wood he had enjoyed hotter bath water every night and therefore he owed Sosai the favour.

The story in this article was taken from an interview with Mrs Chiyako Oyama, Sosai’s wife. She goes on to say that Sosai wasn’t an ordinary person but that he really believed in what he was doing and if you don’t believe strongly in what you’re doing you cannot lead the kind of life that Kyokushin demands. Sosai felt stronger than anyone else about the dojo kun and asked that all students continue to remember it and repeat it after each session.