空手道は礼に始まり礼に終わる - Hitotsu karate do wa rei ni hagimari rei ni owaru.
Most, if not all of the world's wars can be attributed to a lack of respect such as cultural and religious insensitivity or a lack of tolerance. This by extension shows lack of respect for life itself, and so we find that a failure to establish mutual respect is at the heart of all human conflict.
In the dojo respect is practiced in everything we do. It is what distinguishes us as true martial artist. Manners in the form of dojo etiquette are a way of showing respect and is a reflection of Japanese culture in the traditional martial arts we do. Rituals like bowing can be found in every aspect of class from start to finish.
REFRAIN FROM VIOLENT BEHAVIOUR
空手に先手なし - Hitotsu karate ni sente nashi.
Fill your heart with the spirit of peace. A well trained martial artist is a being who possesses an undefeatable spirit and is mentally conditioned to endure, and to overcome. He or she is all too aware of the great danger in applying the techniques. It is therefore irresponsible for them to use these skills unjustifiably (anything other than self-defense), especially against unskilled persons.
Even if antagonised, harrassed or challenged by someone bigger in size or stature, a true practitioner of the martial arts has no urge to prove themselves because of real confidence in his or her skill.
When we resort to unjustifiable violent behavior, not only do we have to face the consequences after, but we demonstrate exactly how much we aren't in control of ourselves and our emotions. This is our first defeat and considering that emotions tend to affect our combative effectiveness, one can possibly go as far as to say that fighting an unjust fight is more likely to end in defeat.
BE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR TRAINING
修行は真剣に - Hitotsu shughiyo wa shin ken ni.
Japanese martial arts revolve around discipline. Without discipline practitioners will not full-fill their potential. It s easy for students to miss classes. It is easy to be lazy. However, doing so is cheating oneself of the joy of dedicated training and the satisfaction and rewards it brings. Always endeavour to excel. Never settle for less than your potential, or underestimate what that potential is. Simple stated, you should reach for the highest heights in everything you set your mind to. Always give 100% and in turn your training and indeed life itself will be filled with many great rewards. The sky is open to those who dare to fly!
慢心しない - Hitotsu Manshin shinai.
The ultimate aim of martial arts is not to seek domination over others, but to improve ourselves. If we let our egos take over we will not see our shortcomings and will therefore not be able to grow to our full potential. We must not seek glory for our accomplishments. Instead, we must always seek to help others and we should not boast about doing so. The satisfaction from a selfless deed is a reward in itself.
DO NOT RUSH TO GET RESULTS
功を急がず修行を積め - Hitotsu koh wo isogazu shughiyo wo tsu me.
Anything that is worth doing, requires time and patience. Rome wasn't built in a day. Do not rush to get results from training. Real skill takes time to build strong basics. Be patient and persist in your training.
The real secret to mastery is time!
誠の道を守ること - Hitotsu, makoto no michi wo mamoru koto
To be faithful in the dojo means to be dedicated to your training and to your sensei.
Which means to not run away from training at the first sign of trouble. It means showing commitment to your sensei who will in turn show a commitment to you. For the faithful you'll find that the sensei will be happy to reward them with his knowledge and effort. This dedication should also transcend into everyday life. Perseverence and loyalty go a long way in fostering healthy relationships and achieving success.