Shoshin Karate-Do International is founded on the premise that in the beginners mind, the potential for learning and growth is more than in a mind that is closed due to believing otherwise. As such, practitioners of this school hearken back to an older time when Karate was practiced as self defense, and as a way of self realization, not as a sport. The internal journey of karate-do is forged through austere and repetitive physical movement, eschewing the external, self congratulatory stimuli of competition and sport, whilst prompting the spirit to continually face itself and address its weakness and defects. At Shoshin Karate-Do International we abide by the saying of Master Funakoshi: “The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
- Try very hard to get to class at least 10 minutes before it starts.
- If you are late, warm up outside the dojo. When you are ready, wait in ‘seiza’ at the edge of the training area, facing the portrait of Master Funakoshi. When the instructor signals you to join the class, bow, stand up and get into line quickly.
- Do not, at any time, touch the walls or mirrors.
- Your ‘gi’ should be clean and in good repair- hair should be tidy and nails short and unpainted; jewelry, perfume (including scented cologne and after-shave lotion) should not be worn. Women may wear a plain white undershirt; men should not wear an undershirt.
- Black belt students are addressed as ‘Sempai’ in the dojo and are treated with appropriate deference at other times. Instructors are addressed as ‘Sensei’ at all times. It is impossible to learn the correct attitude and spirit of ‘budo’ if you are too casual or familiar.
- Questions should be put to an immediate senior, when possible. A white belt will ask a yellow belt; if he doesn’t know the answer, he will ask a green belt (or whomever is the next most senior rank present). All ranks should find ways to help and encourage less experienced students. Mutual respect and interdependence are valuable aspects of training; a complementary aspect, however, is self-reliance: only ask a question after first trying to answer it yourself. (Use eyes and ears in preference to your mouth!)
- When you enter or leave the training area, bow toward the portrait of Master Funakoshi. It is an aid to our own training to remember his example: train as if he were there, watching you. (Learn about his life; read his autobiography; he made great sacrifices to establish ‘karate-do’ on the Japanese mainland and, if we value this training, we should be grateful!) The bow also reminds us that we are entering a special place: other concerns should be left outside. Once in the dojo, keep your mind on karate. Social conversation can be kept for later.
- Train hard!