Karate is not a sport or a game of points; it is a way of life based on the samurai concept of Bushido- the Way of the Warrior. In true karate, the body, mind and spirit—the whole person—must be developed simultaneously. Through intense practice, the physical and mental aspects of karate can be brought together. The result is natural, effortless action and the confidence, humility, openness and peace only possible through the core teaching of Zen, the basis of Bushido, and the cornerstone of the Shotokan karate philosophy.

Okazaki Karate Academy strives to uphold the integrity and goals of Master Funakoshi, which includes following the guidelines and principles set forth by the Dojo Kun and Niju Kun.

Dojo Kun

Everyone who trains in karate must know the dojo kun. At the end of each training session—whether it be at the dojo, after class, or after a tournament, which we always call “special training”—the dojo kun is repeated all together by the students as a reminder of why we train. The dojo kun states the basic philosophy of karate, according to its founder, Master Gichin Funakoshi. Master Funakoshi believed that, for the true karate-ka, the dojo kun should not only be considered a set of rules of conduct in the dojo, but a guide to everyday life. Everything we learn in the dojo, we should apply to everyday life.

Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto
Seek Perfection of Character

This is the ultimate goal of karate. The other four principles of the dojo kun, as well as the entire niju kun, all tell us what it means to seek perfection of character—how we can go about pursuing this highest objectives. But this is the most important thing. We seek perfection of character from the inside out. It is something we should do every moment of every day of our lives. This means we should never stop learning. Karate training, like life itself, is an ongoing process of growth and personal education, a process that lasts for a lifetime. It is good to set goals, but as soon as we accomplish them, it is important to set our sights on the next goal, to improve. To seek perfection of character is to always seek to improve one's self, to always endeavor to learn and grow. 

Makoto no michi o mamoru koto
Be faithful

To be faithful means to be sincere in everything you do. Here we are talking about making a total effort, all the time, in whatever you do. To be faithful of course means that you have to be true to other people, to your obligations—but it also means you have to be true to yourself. And to do so means you have to do your best in everything you do. When you are faithful to yourself, others will have faith in you. This creates mutual trust between people. Being faithful to yourself is essential to realizing the first goal of being the best person you can be.

Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto

Try hard at everything you do. No matter what you are doing, whether it’s training, working, having a relationship—give it one hundred percent. To do anything else is to cheat yourself and others. If you don’t endeavor to do your best, you are not being faithful to yourself and others, and you are not trying to seek perfection of character.

Reigi o omonzuru koto
Respect others

A true martial artist always shows respect to other people. And it is something you ought to feel in your heart. Showing respect is a sign of humility, and humility is necessary for an open mind, which in turn is necessary to learn, to grow. You can always learn something from every person you meet. Likewise, every person you encounter is a possible opponent of some kind, and that opponent can pose a threat to you, physical or otherwise. In either case, if you respect everyone, you will more clearly see things for what they are, and you will be able to get the most of every experience. 

Keki no yu o imashimuru koto
Refrain from violent behavior

This is a reminder to keep calm inside. Control yourself at all times, from within. Conflict within is a form of violence. It leads to violent actions, which is something you should try to avoid at all costs. A martial artist should always be in control, and that begins with an inner calmness, with peace of mind. If you are forced to defend yourself as a last resort, then it is all right to do so. But you will only be successful defending yourself when you maintain a calm, clear mind, in which case using karate technique to protect yourself will truly be your reaction of last resort. 

Niju Kun

1. Karate begins with a bow and finishes with a bow
2. In karate, never attack first
3. One who practices karate must follow the way of justice
4. Know yourself first, then you can know others
5. Spirit and mind is more important than technique
6. Be ready to release your mind
7. Misfortune comes out of idleness
8. Don’t think that what you learn from karate can’t be used outside the dojo
9. It will take your entire life to learn karate
10. Put karate into your everyday living; that is how you will see its true beauty
11. Karate is just like hot water; if you do not give it continuous heat, it will become cold
12. Do not think that you have to win; think, rather, that you do not have to lose
13. Move according to your opponent
14. In conflict you must discern the vulnerable from invulnerable points
15. Consider you opponent’s legs and arms as you would lethal swords
16. Be aware at all times that you have millions of potential opponents
17. For full awareness in natural stance, you must practice ready position as a beginner
18. Practicing kata is one thing; engaging in a real fight is another
19. Do not forget: (1) strength and weakness of power; (2) contraction and expansion of body; and (3) slowness and speed of techniques
20. Always create and devise


Gichin Funakoshi interpreted the "kara" of Karate-dō to mean "to purge [oneself] of selfish and evil thoughts. For only with a clear mind and conscience can [the practitioner] understand that [knowledge] which he receives." Funakoshi believed that one should be "inwardly humble and outwardly gentle." Only by behaving humbly can one be open to Karate's many lessons. This is done by listening and being receptive to criticism. He considered courtesy of prime importance. He said that "Karate is properly applied only in those rare situations in which one really must either down another or be downed by him." Funakoshi did not consider it unusual for a devotee to use Karate in a real physical confrontation no more than perhaps once in a lifetime. He stated that Karate practitioners must "never be easily drawn into a fight." It is understood that one blow from a real expert could mean death. It is clear that those who misuse what they have learned bring dishonor upon themselves. He promoted the character trait of personal conviction. In "time of grave public crisis, one must have the courage...to face a million and one opponents." He taught that indecisiveness is a weakness.