Is your dojo awesome?
Because your dojo, which literally translates to “place of the Way”, holds such a central role in Karate that it’s critical for your development.
Not all dojos are awesome.
(Warning: 93 Signs Your Dojo is a McDojo)
So, I decided to ask my Facebook fans for help to make a list of clear signs that a dojo is amazing.
Ready to see if YOUR dojo is awesome too?
Check it out:
1. Your sensei actively trains – every day.
2. You always leave class feeling a sense of joy, exhaustion and accomplishment.
3. Students don’t compete with each other – they empower each other.
4. Black belt is not “just” a belt. It’s a sign of maturity, skill and dedication.
5. Your sensei puts your health before his wealth.
6. Traditional concepts/ideas are blended with modern training methods.
7. The students are humble and willing to learn.
8. The sensei is humble and willing to teach.
9. Sport Karate and traditional Karate are taught with separate approaches, understanding what the differences and similarities are.
10. Your are not just “another student”. You have a name, and you are seen.
12. You are judged not only on your technique or physique, but also on your spirit, grit, attitude and character.
13. Male, female and all other genders allowed. No machismo exists.
14. Training builds confidence in your abilities to defend yourself in a real life self-defense situation, not just inside the dojo.
15. Kids classes exist, but it’s not a kindergarten. The kids are well-disciplined and hard working in a way that’s beyond their years.
16. The dojo is clean. The mirrors are polished.
17. The purpose of each exercise is clearly understood by everyone. Nothing is done because “that’s the way we’ve always done it”.
18. You regularly use training gear like kicking shields, focus pads, boxing bags or makiwara for impact training. Not only punching and kicking in the air.
19. Strength training is included, in some form.
18. Mobility training is included, in some form.
19. Flexibility training is included, in some form.
20. It doesn’t matter if you practice Karate for health, self-defense or sport. Everyone’s reason for practicing is equally valid.
22. Your sensei teaches you what you need. Not what you want.
23. Your sensei never screams to instill discipline. Students are self-disciplined.
24. Training is hard, but everyone smiles – because they enjoy it.
25. Your sensei inspires students through being a living example and embodying his teachings 110% – not only in the dojo, but also in his everyday life.
26. Students are friends outside of the dojo too.
27. Your belt level isn’t as important as your effort level.
28. Questioning is highly encouraged…
29. …but everyone knows when to shut up and train.
30. Training is technical, physical and spiritual – the concept of “Shin-Gi-Tai”.
31. What you do is not as important as how you do it.
32. Training is adjusted to your abilities and nature.
33. Respect is shown to sensei and other students – and it’s always mutual.
34. Trophies are nice to look at. But they’re not super important.
35. Wooden floor is a good thing, not a bad thing.
36. Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.
37. Paraphrasing legendary Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), the goal of training is never to “blindly follow the footsteps of old masters, but rather to seek what they sought”.
38. Your sensei is a certified Karate Nerd™.
39. Quality over quantity. Depth over breadth.
40. Team spirit. Nobody is left alone.
41. Creativity and open-mindedness is encouraged.
42. You always sweat, cry or bleed. Sometimes all three.
43. Failing is OK. Giving up is NOT.
44. Age is just a number. 20-year-olds are as welcome as 50-year-olds.
45. Your sensei wants you to become better than him.
46. Explanations of techniques are always based on universal principles (i.e. biomechanical or combative principles), not random opinions.
47. If the dojo needs renovation, all students help.
48. You are allowed to participate in open tournaments and seminars.
49. You can wear any gi brand you want.
50. You are taught the complete history, culture and philosophy of Karate – not just its technical aspects.
51. If you’re sick or injured, your sensei tells you to recover – not “go harder”.
52. The atmosphere is welcoming.
53. You’re not in the dojo to prove something, but to improve something.
54. Mental training and visualization is practiced.
55. A black belt is not an instructor license. You need to attend courses for that.
56. You don’t only learn lessons for the dojo, but lessons for life.
57. You can quit whenever you want. No contracts or pre-payments.
58. Your sensei gives everyone equal attention, not just the talents.
And last but not least…
59. Your sensei reads KARATEbyJesse.com – and isn’t afraid to admit it! ;- )
Did I forget any?
Leave a comment & let me know!
PS. How did your dojo score?