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The Five Core Ethics Of The Martial Arts

Jan 2, 2008
Many martial arts schools around the world promote a philosophy of self-improvement as well as an expected standard of technical skill. When you think about it, it is the philosophy rather than the technical skill that should influence every practitioner's daily life.

The martial arts philosophy, or at least the traditional karate philosophy, is called the Dojo-Kun. The Dojo-Kun is simply a five point ethical guide for training in the martial arts and for behavior in your everyday life and is sometimes called the "Student Creed" in English. The traditional karate ethics are often translated as:

To strive for the perfection of character
To follow the paths of truth
To foster a spirit of effort
To honor the principles of etiquette
To guard against impetuous courage

In many traditional karate schools these precepts are chanted at the beginning and end of each lesson in Japanese, and in other schools in English. In some schools there is no chanting at all, just a posting of the principles on the dojo wall and other schools invent their own "Student Creed."

I'm not here to tell you which way is right or wrong, but what you should do when choosing a martial arts school is ask yourself whether the core values of that school resonate with your view of life and your moral ethics. After all you are exposing yourself and your family to a very emotive venture by beginning your karate journey. A conflict of moral values is likely to "Dim Mak" (deliver a Death Touch to) your involvement in the martial arts from the very beginning.

The Dojo-Kun's precepts can offer a very simple template for following a virtuous path and for reaching your potential in everything you do and for being a good citizen. It's up to you to decide how this philosophy fits in with your own ideals and ethics.

Most people find these five core ethics to be something that they can relate to on an intimate basis; some people don't place much value on the philosophy of the martial arts and are in your karate class alongside you for very different reasons such as self-defense or basic health and fitness.

The phrase "each unto his own" is definitely applicable here. As with so many things in life, we have to find our own way given our own set of criteria and backgrounds.

Essentially there are many other paths to self-realization and understanding of the greater world around you. The martial arts simply offer a valuable template for beginning to understand yourself and others through understanding movement, power, speed, timing, energy, tension, relaxation and harmony. It is a beginning in what can be a long and extremely rewarding journey.

If you need more help with this or any other karate subject, please be sure to download my FREE Report "Beginners Guide to Karate". You will find out how to download it at http://www.freekarateinformation.com/beginner.html

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in karate.
About the Author
Paul A. Walker, is a 4th degree black belt karate instructor with over 25 years of experience in the martial arts. In June 2003 he attained his 4th degree black belt, after studying with the legendary Karate Master, Hirokazu Kanazawa at his Headquarters Dojo in Tokyo for three years. Additional free information on karate for people who are investigating, just beginning, are advanced practitioners, or who are instructors, is available at Paul's website at http://www.freekarateinformation.com
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