Pimp Your Dojo (pt. 1)

The place (jo) where we practise the way (do), commonly known as the dojo, is a fascinating thing.

No dojo looks the same.

I’ve been to many dojos, in different parts of the world, and they are all unique. Sure, they have some common elements, but they are all very different – depending on the sensei. Not like McDonalds or anything, that looks identical everywhere. Actually, in a way, you could say that the dojo represents the sensei’s mind. That’s why I love visiting new dojos.

Try this: Think about some dojos you’ve been to, and see if they fit with the personality of the head sensei.

Is the sensei a humble type? It shows.

Is the sensei an egomaniac? It definitely shows.

Speaking of dojos – Have you been to a traditional Japanese dojo, and compared it to an Okinawan dojo? They are like yin and yang. Where one is perfectly spotless, the other is practically the definition of wabi-sabi. The same holds true for the way of training, which is both good and bad.

Anyway, let’s get on with the real topic:

“Pimp Your Dojo”

Now, when I say “pimp your dojo”, I’m not talking about selling your dojo to shady “customers” on a dark backstreet somewhere, I mean it in the sense of:

“to pimp – to add extravagant features to something”

(as made famous by MTV’s “Pimp My Ride”)

Because once in a while every dojo need a little pimping.

And you don’t have to be a sensei to pimp a dojo. But it’s probably a good idea to ask the sensei before you do anything radical.

So what can you do to spice the dojo up a little?

Well, I’ll tell you what I have been doing the past weeks:

  • Step 1: Find a nice picture on the internet.

For this project you will need a representative picture that can be on the wall somewhere in your dojo. The size doesn’t matter, only the motive does. And oh yeah, it has to be black and white, and have good contrast.

Since we have both Karate and MMA and other stuff in our dojo, I chose this one:


Chuck, The Iceman, Lidell, champion from the UFC.

Okay, have you found your picture? Good, next step:

  • Step 2: Use a program to change the picture a little…

For this step, you will need to use a program called “rasterbator” found free on the internet. Just google it. You don’t need to download anything, it’s all online. And yes, I know the name is a little…

Anyway, use “rasterbator” to rasterize your image, follow the instructions and then print it out.

Now you should have a bunch of papers in front of you, depending on what settings you chose. For me, it looked like this:


Step 3: Get a big frame.

You could do it without a frame too, depending on what feeling you like. Elegant or not.

I bought a big one (actually three of them) from a poster website (free shipping during christmas) and saved big money.

Looked like this:


Told you it was big!

Step 4: Arrange the papers, cut some, glue some, measure a little…

This step is the fun one. It goes fast too, when you know how to do it.

In the beginning it took 40 minutes, but when I learned the technique it only took 20 minutes. What you basically do is arrange you papers, and attach them to each other somehow.

Here’s what I used:






Work hard for around half an hour… and finally:

Step 5: Put everything in the frame, take two steps back, and enjoy your work!

Here’s what my first one looked like (9 A4-papers put together). I kept the white lines between the papers, I like the look, but you can cut it away if you want to:


Neat, huh?

And, oh, almost forgot the last step:

Step 6: Put it on the wall!

Like this:




And that’s it.

Your dojo has officially been pimped.

Now you can do some more. Big, small, wide, narrow…

I actually made six. They look like this:


Bruce Lee.


Another Bruce…


Both of them.


Georges St. Pierre doing some Ground ‘n Pound!


What it looked like before I framed it.


And then I did a Machida for my bedroom (hey, the dojo can’t have everything)!


Lastly, a nice slam for the MMA people. This one had a different shape.

So, what do you think?

It’s really easy.

Try it.

It looks really classy, I have to say.


  • Buddy
    Those are great. I'm gonna give it a try. Thanks for the idea, Jesse! Buddy
  • Andi
    hehehehe, coll little trick w/the pic... Sadly I'am too dump to do that even with a guide.
  • JamesD.
    Wow Jesse! I'm going home right now, look up some pictures on the net and rasterbate!!...That didn't come out sounding dirty at all, did it?! ;)
  • HAHHA!!! And Andi, it's so simple you can do it without your hands even, you should really try it!
  • Oliver
    Wow can you really rasterbate without your hands?? :O ;)
  • Everything is possible if you have cultivated your ki-force enough ^^
  • Gary
    Hi Jesse, What dot size are you using for your pics? Mine didn't come out too sharp and I was just wondering if it was just the quality of the pic to begin with. Thanks, Gary S.
  • @Gary I used the smallest, 7 I think. I'm glad you tried it! :)

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