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Student Code

I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that could reduce my mental growth or physical well-being.

I will develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in me and in others.

I will use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help myself and others. I will not initiate hostile behavior or action.

Dojo Etiquette

As a new student of karate you will notice many traditional behaviors and actions that all the students adhere to. These customs are not religious in nature. Their purpose is to help build common courtesy, respect, structure, and safety.

Goals and Goal Setting

Your goals are the things you are striving for, the things you want. Goals are not wishes. They are not simply dreams or fantasies. They have more power than wishes and fantasies because you are going to work directly toward making them happen by training hard in your dojo. Goal setting will be an important part of your Karate training at JKA Wisconsin.

In setting goals, it is very important that each goal have the following four qualities: 1) it must be specific, 2) it must be trackable, 3) it must be attainable, 4) it must be relevant.

Remember the acronym STAR when formulating your goals!

S for specific
T for trackable
A for attainable
R for relevant

Specific- your goals need to be specific in nature. They should not be vague. If your goal is simply to be healthy, that is not specific enough. You must first make a goal of an exact weight you would like to be, a specific fitness level you would like to reach, or a change in eating habits that might coincide with a specific nutrition plan. It is not effective to act in general terms when trying to make changes. Be as specific as you can when trying to develop ways to make improvements in your karate training.

Trackable - You need to be able to measure and track your goals and the actions and behaviors you need to adopt in order to reach those goals. Whenever possible, your goals should be action and behavior based and not just subjective thoughts.

Attainable - Keep your goals realistic and attainable! You need to set goals that you can succeed at in the shorter term. Break down larger goals into reasonable smaller parts. For example, if your goal is to learn a new advanced kata, start by trying to learn smaller sections of the kata, not the entire kata at once.

Relevant - your goals in the dojo need to have a direct benefit to your Karate-do training. You must fully believe that successful goal attainment will be worth all the hard work. Your goals have to be relevant and directly related to the major areas of kihon, kata, and kumite in which you are seeking improvement. They should not conflict with any of your objectives or with each other. Also, your goals need to be framed with a positive mindset, even if you think that your short-term improvement may be minimal.

Makiwara or Wavemaster Training

Currently JKA Wisconsin has no makiwara set up. For the future, though: makiwara is a resistance board used for punching, kicking, and striking practice. Makiwara range from simple padded boards that are affixed to a stationary support in the ground, or on the wall, to elaborate spring-loaded mechanisms. Training by repetitively striking a makiwara is used by some to simply condition the hands and skin for impact. Others use makiwara training to accustom themselves to the experience of actually hitting a target with proper body action and connection (an understanding and feeling that is not possible to get from simply doing techniques in the air without resistance). It is also used to learn your own proper distance (maai) and timing. As with other forms of training, makiwara training should be started slowly, and softly, to avoid injury and to establish the proper technique. The urge to simply hit the board as fast and as hard as possible should be avoided at all costs in early makiwara training. Speed and power should be gradually increased as the condition of the body improves. Concentrated attention must be given to maintaining proper technique and form during makiwara training. Children should avoid all types of makiwara training, and should not start such training until after adolescence. Adults with existing arthritic conditions, or previous breaks and fractures to the hands and feet, should also avoid such training. Please consult a senpai, or sensei, on proper makiwara training before you start. When done correctly, makiwara training is an invaluable part of traditional karate training, but like all forms of martial arts activities, when done incorrectly, it can lead to serious injury.

Similarly, inverted heavy bags such as Wavemasters can be an invaluable tool for training when used properly. The temptation in hitting a large padded target is for the student to "push" her or his techniques to gain penetration. This is incorrect and damaging because it induces poor form in the student, including leaning off-balance into the target and erodes kime, or explosive finishing power. Unlike the makiwara, the student is less likely to injure herself or himself, though any training pursued recklessly can lead to injury. Ask a senpai or your sensei to show you the correct method for utilizing the Wavemaster to develop proper kicking, striking, and punching technique.

Philosophy and Tradition

Karate is more than an art of self-defense. The technical aspects are enriched by cultural elements derived from centuries of blending with various American and East Asian philosophies. The accurate transmission of the philosophies from teacher to student is crucial to the discipline. The philosophy of the Japan Karate Association of Wisconsin reflects a commitment to continual striving towards self-perfection. This philosophy is best summarized in its code of ethics, or Dojo Kun.


1) Refrain from impetuous and violent behavior
2) Respect propriety
3) Cultivate the spirit of perseverance
4) Be faithful and sincere
5) Exert oneself in the perfection of character

..............................(modern interpretation)


Dojo Kun - age appropriate explanation

1) Refrain from violent and impetuous behavior
2) Respect propriety
3) Cultivate the spirit of perseverance
4) Be faithful and sincere
5) Exert oneself in the perfection of character

1) Self-control and discipline
2) Respect and appreciation
3) Effort and perseverance
4) Honesty and integrity
5) Character and vision

1) Have good behavior and be kind
2) Show respect and follow the rules
3) Try hard and don't give up
4) Be truthful and believe in yourself
5) Be strong and have positive goals

Traditional Karate

Traditional Karate-do is a martial art uniquely suited for the development of character through the training of the mind, body and spirit. Because of this training--and the experience of going through such training--the karateka (practitioner of karate) can surmount any obstacle, physical or mental, tangible or intangible.

The training of traditional Karate-do is rigorous in nature. The entire body is transformed into an instrument capable of executing devastating self-defense techniques against an opponent or an enemy. The essence of these self-defense techniques is kime. Kime means "finishing power: kime results from an explosive attack to a specific target using the appropriate technique and maximum power in the shortest time possible. If a technique does not have kime, it is not true karate. The saying ichigeki hissatsu, or ikken hissatsu, one technique, one kill, or to kill with one blow, have traditionally been used to describe the essence of kime, and therefore of true karate. These are important phrases, but are often misunderstood by the majority of martial arts practitioners to mean that killing, or hurting, is the aim of Karate-do, and that karate practice is simply a means of achieving a high proficiency in fighting ability and strategies. This is not true. Therefore, to avoid misunderstanding, it may be helpful to substitute those phrases for the expression "one technique, last technique." In this expression, the practitioner's intentions during his karate training are summed up: try to defeat your opponent with a single technique--so that no further techniques will be necessary. People also sometimes say: do each technique as if it will be your last. Having this goal will produce the same results and it will help to keep the students intentions and attitude during his/or her training on a more positive and therefore productive level.

Through proper (systematic) traditional Karate-do training, in which the karateka repeatedly experiences the blood, sweat, and tears of his efforts, strives to perfect each technique with the essence of kime, and does so with the idea of one technique, last technique, the karateka learns to overcome his/or her own self, and in essence, becomes master of his/or her own self. This self-mastery, and more importantly, the long and difficult struggle to achieve it, creates dignity, courage, honesty, and awareness. With these traits can come the most important qualities to the karateka: self-awareness, self-control, and honest self-expression.

Complete self-mastery, or perfection of character, by its definition, may be impossible to achieve. That is why it is important to remember that the struggle, or the path, (the blood, the sweat, and the tears) is in itself the goal-the path and the goal are, in essence, one and the same. No karateka becomes so proficient and self-aware that the training is no longer necessary. Therefore, training is meant to last one's entire lifetime: "while one breathes, one trains."

Shoto Niju Kun

The following are the words of Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of modern Japanese Shotokan Karate-do. They are called the Shoto Niju Kun, or Shoto's Twenty Precepts. They predate the modern dojo kun that we are all familiar with, and in essence, can be considered the original dojo kun of modern karate.

1- Karate-do begins and ends with courtesy.

2- There is no "first attack" in karate.

3- Karate is a great assistance to justice.

4- Know yourself first, and then others.

5- Spirit first, technique second.

6- Always be ready to release your mind.

7- Misfortune always comes out of idleness.

8- Don't think that karate training is only in the dojo.

9- It will take your entire life to learn karate: there is no limit.

10- Put your everyday living into karate and you will find the ideal state of existence.

11- Karate is like hot water. If you do not give it heat constantly, it will again become cold water.

12- Do not think that you have to win. Rather, think that you do not have to lose.

13- Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.

14- The battle is according to how you maneuver guarded and unguarded. Move according to your opponent.

15- Think of the hands and feet as swords.

16- When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you. It is your behavior that invites trouble from them.

17- Beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body position for advanced.

18- Practicing kata is one thing, and engaging in a real fight is another.

19- Do not forget:
(1) strength and weakness (power),
(2) stretching and contraction of body,
(3) slowness and speed of techniques.
Apply these correctly.

20- Always think and devise ways to live the precepts every day.