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Tradition and Honor….

Without getting into the early origins of Karate…the Japanese art of Karate-do, “way of the empty hand” eventually developed into a hidden form of family defence. Those who taught it were quite selective about who they passed the art on to. Traditional values of respect, effort, patience, honesty, and discipline were considered the basic criteria for student selection with focus on building the body, mind and spirit. By the middle of the 20thcentury, this art had spread throughout America, bringing the benefits of karate-do training to our modern Western world, where it was popular despite sometimes being at odds with cultural norms of materialism, convenience, and tendencies to favor style over substance.

Nowadays, in most countries, karate is no longer required for day-to-day survival in a physical sense. In fact, it might be said that our karate training is used for a different sort of survival through improved health, focusing the mind, and strengthening the spirit. Traditional karate continued with a  focus on creating a healthy individual who is a strong member of family, community, and society.  Though Karate will change with the times by design, to keep it strong certain attributes and etiquette must be kept prominant in our training: 

Acceptance:    When someone is instructing you, you have the obligation to listen intently and just reply Hai…(In our dojo we say “Osu!” for just about everything, so feel free to use this as well!) This means you understand. (Or wakarimasen – I don’t understand…) Don’t offer excuses, or that’s not the way someone else teaches it etc. If you wish to question in further detail, do so after class.
Attitude:     Attitude is the key. Go in with open mind and absorb all that is good!
Concentration:    Keep your mind on what you are doing. We all make mistakes, but lets not make them because were not paying attention. 
Consistency:    Consistency should be your number one objective. Consistency will beat out talent every time. Be regular with your training schedule and your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Courage:    Remember that you do not have to train physically to learn. Just watching a class when you are not feeling 100% can be very beneficial. You will also be counted for full attendance just for showing-up!
Dojo:   The Dojo is your other home. It is a safe place you share with fellow students.. Treat it with the same respect you treat your own home.
Dojo Rules:    The rules of the Dojo are not just guidelines for the dojo. They can also teach you a valuable code to live by. Learn their meaning and try to live by them.
Gi:  Gis should be washed regularly and have only a few wrinkles (for your own benefit as well as others).
Instructor (Sensei):   The instructors job is to push the student to the maximum of his/her abilities. It is the students job to monitor their own health levels. It is never the goal to injure someone.
Intent:   Or no intent. If you punch someone in the nose, or break a rib, it doesn’t help to say, “I didn’t intend to do that, sorry.” No intent, was really a lack of attention. Stay focused!
Loyalty:  Your dojo and it’s affiliates can be considered your extended family. Loyalty to your family is as important as it gets. Treat your instructors as you would elder members of your family and the rest like your brothers and sisters.
Mokuso:   Meditate by clearing the mind of all outside thoughts in preparation for full concentration.
Obi:   The Obi (Belt) should always be treated with respect. While the color of the belt is not so important, the effort to gain the belt should be remembered and cherished!
Patience:   Have patience not only with others, but also with yourself. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, so learn from it, and go on!
Pay back:   Not pay and go. As we progress in the martial arts, we gain the responsibility to give back that which we have learned!
Rank:   Does not confer privilege or power. It imposes responsibility!
Rei:   Bowing to show respect for the art, the dojo, the instructor, each other and for oneself. 

*When arriving late, (and after you are warm-25 to 30 push-ups and sit-ups usually do it!), kneel respectfully near the door. You are essentially uninvited until summoned to come in by the instructor!
Rudeness:    Pointing,  walking in front, wearing jewelry, talking/making noise when the instructor is speaking & yawning are all considered rude!
Seisan:   Usually a bow is given after being dismissed by Sensei to show respectful appreciation for the class and the instruction given.
Sempai:   It is the responsibility of the Sempai to lead. The responsibility of the Kohai, (Beginner and intermediate ranks), to appreciate the experience and knowledge being passed on! Dojo manners and traditions if not taught, cannot blame the Kohai for not observing. It is the responsibility of Sempai to be an example and educate!
:  Training at the Dojo is a gift we give to ourselves and should be considered a precious time to savor. Most times we might be mentally tired, but not physically spent. Push yourself. Deliver the body. Getting to the dojo is most times the hardest part of training. Once you miss, it is easier to miss the next time!
 – Original Body & Text accredited to Senpai Jackie Long of Genbu-Kai –

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