Welcome to the Dansankan Dojo
Young Persons Introduction to Traditional
Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Do

·  commonly used terms
·  dojo etiquette
·  gradings

We practise Karate-Do - which means the "Way" of karate - it is not just a sport, a way of getting stronger or even just a form of fighting - "Do" means a WAY OF LIFE. It is not enough just to come and practise one or two hours a week. You must let your training affect your whole behaviour and approach towards life.

This is your first step on "The Way of the Warrior". To be a warrior does not just mean being able to defend your self (although you will certainly learn to do this in our training), it means to be brave and gentle; strong and kind; to care for those around you and to respect yourself and your own deep intelligence. It means to be sensitive to everything around you - the beauty in life as well as the danger; to protect your environment and especially people less strong than yourself. You will learn to be resourceful, quick and independent yet at the same time not afraid to show your feelings. It is frequently better to behave the way you feel is right instead of always worrying what other people (or friends) might think.

Dojo Etiquette: Helps you remember these aspects of training and sometimes the importance of what you are doing.

All Students, whatever age, are required to behave with respect to the dojo, the other members of the dojo (and to themselves).

For example:

1. When you enter or leave the Dojo - bow.

2. When you speak to Sensei (black belt instructor), address him as "Sensei" and bow. He will treat you with respect and you are expected to do the same. in Karate-do, Kungfu, or tai Chi Chuan, the relationship of teacher/pupil is very important. It doesn't matter how small you are or how young, to your teacher you are a complete and fully intelligent Human Being. You are expected to behave that way too (this is not a normal school).

3. Then you wish to speak to a Sensei or Sempai (assistant instructor), bow first and wait til he or she bows back.

4. When you are addressed either individually or as part of the class, always acknowledge with a loud "HAI" or "OOS".

5. You are expected to train hard - also, during the week you must practise. Make sure, especially, that when you have been corrected by Sensei or Sempai that you do not repeat the same mistake again! To do so might be just laziness or a sign of low respect.

6. After training, the Sensei or Sempai will address the class with the words "Thank you for training". The students then immediately reply together "Thank you for training us".

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Some commonly used terms that you will need to learn

Ichi One
Nisan Two
San Three
Chi Four
Go Five
Roku Six
Shichi Seven
Hachi Eight
Ku Nine
Yu Ten
Jordan Upper middle area
Chudan Middle area
Gedan Lower
Hajime Start
Yame Finish
Kime Focus/Tense
Rei Bow
Yoi Get ready
Hidari Left
Migi Right
Shomen Front
Ushiro Back
Kamae Hand on gard
Kumite Sparring

Basic Block  
Uke Blocks
Age Uke Riseing Block
Chudan Uke Middle Open Block
Gedanberai Lower Area Block
Sto Uke Outer Block Middle Area
Mawashi Uke Circular Block
Stances - Dachi  
Heisoku Dachi Feet together
Musubi Dachi Attention! *
Heiko Dachi Feet parallel
Hachji Dachi 'At ease' stance
Shiko Dachi Straddle leg stance
Sanchin Dachi Hour-glass Stance
Zenkutsu Front stance
Han Zenkutsu Half front stance
Neko Ashi Dachi Cat foot stance
* Heels together, toes apart

Hand Techniques  
Seiken Two knuckle fist
Age Zuki Rising punch
Tsuki Punch
Uchi Strike
Choku Tsuki Straight punch
Ura Zuki Short punch, palm up
Uraken Uchi Back fist
Shuto Uchi Side of hand
Haito Ridge hand
Tettsu Ucht Hammer fist
Mawashi Tsuki Round punch
Giakutzuki Reverse punch
Oitsuki Lunge punch
Kicks - Geri  
Maigeri Kekomi Front thrust kick
Maigeri Kaige Rising snap kick
Ashi Berai Foot sweep
Haisoku Geri Instep kick
Mawashi Geri Roundhouse kick
Mocuso Meditation
Dojo Training Hall (or more literally "place" where one Practises the Way)

There are many more terms for more advanced techniques that you will need to learn. These techniques tend to be more circular and clearly derived from South Chinese Kung Fu, from which, as you may already know, Goju-Ryu originates. In fact it is a mistake to think of Goju-Ryu as a primarily Japanese Art, since its origins lie almost totally in Chinese Arts. This will become more obvious to you ar you progress to the more advance Goju-Ryu katas.

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Dojo Etiquette

You are being taught how to teach yourself to take responsibility for your own learning in a way which is characteristic of the intensive oriental methods of martial arts or self development. Once you've learned this approach you will be able to apply it to any other area of life you choose to: school, work, sports, etc. So:

1. Do not miss classes for any reason except for those duties that take precedence over training - work, study, family matters etc. It is not acceptable to miss a class because you "don't feel like it" or you are "too tired" - or worse you want to go to a disco or play with your friends etc. instead. Often, adults who haven't had the benefit of your youth training have a casual attitude to their own practice - they come when they "feel" like it and often fail to train for the flimsiest of reasons. After a while the 'casual' student will wonder why he or she is not making any progress and get bored or depressed with training. Usually such a student will blame his Sensei! If you treat your own training 'casually' your teacher will also begin to respond casually. In China a good student, who wants to make progress will train every day both to satisfy his own desire to improve and out of respect for his Sensei's efforts to help him. So don't miss classes and don't make flimsy excuses. Your Senseis and Sempais take the trouble to be there for your training so make sure that you are. But if you have a genuine reason for missing a class, your teacher will understand, so:

2. Always contact the School if you know you have to miss a class - any class - don't fall into sloppy habits of attendance. A telephone call will do, at the very least explain to the Sensei afterwards why you had to miss the class. Do this every time you have to miss a class. Do not think your absence won't be missed - it will be. You are respected by your Sensei so respect yourself and your Sensei too.

More Dojo Etiquette

You are being taught techniques that are to be applied only in extreme conditions requiring self-defence or the defence of others.
Any student that abuses Goju-Ryu Karate-Do and this Dojo's teaching by unecessary violent or aggressive behaviour will be dismissed and any grades achieved will become void.

You are expected to protect people, not hurt them. You may not react with violence even to verbal abuse. If challenged to a 'fight' outside the Dojo you are expected to decline. Only if you are physically attacked or sure that you are about to be attacked may you use these techniques to defend yourself or others.

Showing Off

Do not teach Goju-Ryu techniques to anyone except Dojo members. Can you be responsible for their behavious? If in doubt ask your instructor's permission.

Be very careful not to 'play around' with the Goju-Ryu techniques you are being taught, it is particularly stupid, even in fun, to practise them on unsuspecting victims just to show how good you are. DON'T!!

Beware of Prejudice

Any well-behaved human being is 100% welcome in our Dojo family regardless of race, colour or religion, also sex, age, physical ability etc.

Be careful that you do not behave in any way that might contradict this code of tolerance. Whatever your background, if you are willing to work and grow in peace with us you are welcome. Make sure you make others welcome too.

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From time to time you will be invited by your Sensei to take a grading. Unlike school exams you are not expected to be training hard for a grading; you are expected to be training hard every lesson!! The grading is an opportunity for your instructor to encourage you, correct you and confirm that you have reached a certain standard. In addition to the normal syllabus of Goju-Ryu technique in awarding grades, attention will be given to attendance and general attitude. As you progress, performance of Kata will be more and more important.

The grades are not really that important in traditional Goju-Ryu practise and Chinese martial arts. The present day grading style of coloured belts did not exist - people just practised as hard as they could! Unfortunately nowadays one can find many examples of people with high grades who are not very good advertisements for Karate-do. They are either weak in performance or character, or both! Make sure that you understand that in real training the body and mind must be developed and refined - work on improving both your character and your strength and technique.

So remember that all these rules of etiquette are a way of expressing your respect to the Dojo and the people in it (including yourself). This respect is for your efforts, your fellow students' efforts and your teacher's efforts. Success in your training!!

Kind regards from me and best wishes for your progress in "The Way".


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