THE DOJO                                           
In Okinawa the karate dōjō is a highly respected place. It is where the art of self defense is raised to a way of life.  The students of karate-do is strengthened both physically and mentally while their character is polished through training in the art’s moral principles.  The dōjō is held in such high regard that even cleaning and maintenance tasks are handled exclusively by its members.  On this pages are principles and guidelines that have been handed down by karate-do masters for the practitioners to train and live by.                                                                         
Read them carefully and think about them deeply.


Written by Karate Grandmaster Shugoro Nakazato,

Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do, Okinawa, Japan

1. Keep to the rules of this dōjō and never be self-righteous.

2. Observe decorum towards the Instructor and seniors and also toward equals.  Students should always be courteous to fellow practitioners and should strive to cultivate the virtue of modesty.

3. Endeavor to cultivate perseverance, a sound body and indomitable spirit by training to learn more than just the physical techniques of karate-do.                                                                                                                                          

4. Strive for:
    • Elevation of the soul
    • The formation of character
    • A peaceful existence

5.   Always be prudent in conduct and never provoke a quarrel out of a conceited form of karate-do knowledge.

6.   In karate-do training, practice forms (kata) and techniques in an orderly fashion, one-by-one, step-by-step, and increase training time and strength gradually.  Do not carry out a rigorous exercise regimen from the beginning.

7. Use makiwara and other training aids habitually in order to train the fists and other parts of the body.

8. It has been said from olden times that it takes at least three years to master a single kata completely, and consequently, unlimited time is needed to master all kata and variations of the techniques of karate. Never be self-conceited.  Self-conceit will prevent progress and will cause the karate-ka to become anti-social in behavior.

9. Practice each and every one of the forms (kata) of karate-do in an orderly fashion, and evenly, so as not to make strong and weak points. 
Shugoro Nakazato

Vigorous and enthusiastic participation in class is a basic characteristic of our Karate workouts. Classes begin with a bow of self-humility. Structured warm-up exercises follow. 

The vigorous training is not only for calisthenic purposes, but to strengthen the student's commitment to the way of Karate. All Karate training at the dojo is highly structured to ensure the proper and safe development of every student. One of the basic reasons for this is that the exercises are designed that if done in random order the student would harm his musculature over a period of time. Beginning students are drilled in basic Karate movements until their confidence and ability to do them properly are unquestionable.


Kata is the foundation of the art of Karate, in the same sense that a good background in mathematics is essential training for the mathematician. To a layman, kata would appear to be nothing more than a series of beautiful and graceful movements involving blocking, punching, and kicking. In essence, kata is the medium through which the student communicates his attitude, his weaknesses, and his strong points thereby enabling his instructor to guide his development carefully and meaningfully.

Kata is very demanding. It demands the ultimate in balance, power, speed, concentration, breathing, confidence, and humility.  These are some of the important inputs of the character-building which should be part of every human being's early training. In the Nakazato-Ha Shorin-Ryu Karate system, the emphasis is placed on the kata as its movements are truly valued in self-defense and bunkai. 

However, it should not be understood that the concept and necessity of self-defense is ignored or de-emphasized. It is our experience and the experience of generations of Okinawan Karate masters that true self-defense is possible only after serious training in the above-mentioned demands of kata.

Karate: Mental Aspect

The discipline of the mind and strengthening of the will are two very important aspects of Karate. The beginning Karate student first learns this discipline at the physical level where he finds it impossible to assimilate the material fast enough and his strength and endurance fail under the pace set by his instructor. In these few weeks of confusion, sore muscles and sometimes near exhaustion, he faces the first test—to retire gracefully under the pretext of overtime, perhaps a sore back or just don't come anymore—or should he continue? To quit is to lose a part of the self and it becomes easier to quit next time. To continue is to prepare to meet greater difficulties and overcome them by the strengthening of will and the disciplining of the conscious part of the mind which offers convenient "ways out". At some later point, the Karate student may suddenly discover that through perseverance he has gained some degree of ability in performing the techniques as well as the physical ability to come through the lessons in good shape. Still, later on, the Karate student may find himself in a new dilemma, more serious than the first. Despite a feeling of well being due to improved physical condition, the unique situation arises in which the Karate student realizes he is both defender and aggressor–that his only opponent is himself.

Saika Tanden: The Kiai

The Saika tanden and its development are of the utmost importance to the Karate student. In its essence, development consists of breathing in through the nose and driving the air down into the abdomen, holding it and then releasing it slowly through clenched teeth. This may also be coordinated with very slow Karate punching under extreme muscle tension for additional effect. The use of the saika tanden (SHITA HARA) occurs through the sudden tensing of the muscles of the lower abdomen and the pelvic region by driving the breath down and out. When employed as in delivering a blow, it should coincide with the blow, with the result that all the power of the body is concentrated at the moment and focus of impact. The kiai, which means "spirit meeting", may be used to intensify the power of the shita hara and is a cry which may be "sut" or any other sound suited to the individual. It also tends to momentarily disorganize the opponent and cause him to freeze or falter. The Karate student will also find it of value in nullifying or reducing the effect of shock from a blow or fall. In this case, one almost ceases to exist during the kiai and with its suddenly induced tension followed by complete relaxation, there is little or no sensation of impact. Deep abdominal breathing is associated with the cultivating of the kiai which emanates from shita hara and is credited with the power of placing an opponent in a helpless position. Through breath control, deep concentration, and positive thought on a definite subject, the power will readily be recognized and eventually, the feeling of having an invisible shield will surround you.


I will train my heart and body for a firm, unshaken spirit.

I will pursue the meaning of Karate-do.

I will follow God, and never forget the true virtue of humility.

I will observe the rules of courtesy, respect my superiors, and

refrain from violence.

I will look upwards to wisdom and strive for inner strength.

All of my life, through the discipline of Karate, I will seek to fulfill

the true meaning of peace.



I will never use my hands or feet without just cause.

I will never accept or challenge anyone to prove my skill.

I will avoid all arguments.

I will think of the other person's well being if forced to defend myself.



I come to you with only Karate - empty hands.

I have no weapons,

But should I be forced to defend myself,

My principles, my honor, or my family,

should it be a matter of life or death, or right or wrong,

then here are my weapons, Karate, my empty hands.



The ultimate good lies not in winning a hundred battles,

but in overcoming an enemy without a

conflict, through love