Dojo Kun

Dojo Kun (Shotokan):

The dojo kun is a set of guiding principles to remind the practitioner of his/her goal in Karate and is to be kept in mind while training.  The dojo kun of Shotokan Karate is below:


hitotsu, jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto

One! To Strive For The Perfection Of Character!



hitotsu, makoto no michi o mamoru koto

One! To Defend The Paths Of Truth!



hitotsu, doryōku no seishin o yashinru koto

One! To Foster The Spirit Of Effort!



hitotsu, reigi o omonzuru koto

One! To Honour The Principles Of Etiquette!



hitotsu, kekki no yū o imashimuru koto                                                                                                                  One! To Guard Against Impetuous Courage!

The word Hitotsu means "one" or "first" and is at the start of each rule to place it at the same level of importance as the others. The word koto which ends each rule means "thing" and is used as a conjunction between rules.

Varying translations and interpretations of the dojo kun exists. Each translation differs in the terms used and the interpretations vary regarding the philosophical depth, meaning, and intention.

The population of English karate practitioners has pushed one form of the translation into being the most widely accepted outside of Japan. Generally, the English translation states:

  • Each person must strive for the perfection of one's character
  • Each person must be faithful and protect the way of truth
  • Each person must endeavour (fostering the spirit of effort)
  • Each person must respect others and the rules of etiquette
  • Each person must refrain from violent behaviour (guard against impetuous courage)