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Hope Yama Dojo

Hope, British Columbia, Canada

"All things begin with one." - Tatsuo Shimabuku

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Code of Isshin Ryu Karate

Dojo Code of Conduct



Code of Isshin Ryu Karate

Master Shimbabuku's Isshin Ryu Gokui
Code of (Isshin Ryu) Karate (Kenpo Gokui)1


Master Shimabuku adapted "Article 13: The Eight Precepts of Quanfa"* from the Bubishi, which is described by Chojun Miyagi (the founder of Goju Ryu karate) as 'the Bible of karate-do'2. He named his version Kenpo Gokui - in English, "Code of (Isshin Ryu) Karate"3.

In adapting a portion of the Bubishi to compose his Code, Master Shimabuku was following in the footsteps of "recognizable figures in modern karate-do" (including one of his teachers, Chojun Miyagi) who have used this 'most treasured text'.4

* "The Eight Precepts of Quanfa" are sometimes referred to as a poem, titled "Howa Goju O Donto Shi5.

English translation of the "Code of (Isshin Ryu) Karate":6

1. A person's heart is the same as heaven and earth.

2. The blood circulating is similar to the moon and sun.

3. The manner of drinking and spitting is either hard or soft.

4. A person's unbalance is the same as a weight.

5. The body should be able to change direction at any time.

6. The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.

7. The eye must see all sides.

8. The ear must listen in all directions.

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Dojo Code of Conduct
Dojo Code of Conduct (Dojo Kun)7


Dojo Kun, a Japanese phrase, can be translated as "school's code of conduct" or "school's code of ethics" (dojo = school, kun = fundamental beliefs, rules, code of ethics). In Japan, karate dojo have a dojo kun, which is typically recited or chanted by the karate-ka (karate students) at the end of a training session.

Harry Cook, martial arts instructor, historian and columnist, explains that the "dojo kun points the way to the ultimate aim of training, which is mastery of the self. Ultimately, technique as such is of no importance, as it is the individual's spirit which is being developed and disciplined."8

The English translation of the "Dojo Code of Conduct":

Article 1. The dojo is where the individual's physical and mental condition is trained.

    A. Believe that there is a God and human beings are his children. (Believe in your own
        faith, but respect others.)

    B. Military art (budo) begins with a salute and ends with the same.

    C. Teachers and students bow to the protecting Goddess of Isshin-ryu (Megami)
        and be nice to each other.

Article 2. Devote one's mental concentration and practice sincerely during the course of training.

Article 3. Smoking and drinking are prohibited while training.

Article 4. Take good care of equipment used in training.

Article 5. Students be respectful to their teachers and teachers be courteous to the students and guide them properly.

Article 6. Violators of the above codes will be dismissed from the dojo.

Mr. Tatsuo Shimabuku
Master of all Isshin Ryu Karate
10th Dan

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The "Karate Creed" (aka Kenpo Creed) by Master Edmund ("Ed") Parker (1931-1990), founder of American Kenpo Karate, that was once featured on this page has been replaced by the "Dojo Code of Conduct". The reason for this substitution is that the "Karate Creed" is an American Kenpo Karate creed. This creed was based on the "Yoshido Code", composed by James Masayoshi Mitose (1916-1981), the 21st Great Grand Master of modern (Japanese) Kenpo.9

Therefore, since neither the "Yoshido Creed" (which belongs to Kenpo Karate), nor Ed Parker's "Karate Creed" (which belongs to his American version of Kenpo Karate) reflect the values or principles of Isshin Ryu Karate and those of its founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku, the "Karate Creed" by Master Ed Parker is not used on the Hope Yama Dojo website.

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1. Picture source for the Kenpo Gokui is from "Tatsuo Shimabuku: The Dragon Man of Isshin-Ryu". Retrieved 23 January 2003 from OIKA on the World Wide Web:

To view pictures of "Kenpo Gokui" (one in Kanji, and one in English), done in silk, by Master Shimabuku, see

2. McCarthy, Patrick, editor. The Bible of Karate: Bubishi. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 1995, p. 197.

3. "The Bubishi", by Harry Cook. Retrieved 27 April 2003 from Dragon Times: The Voice of Traditional Karate on the World Wide Web:

4. McCarthy, The Bible of Karate: Bubishi, p. 23.

5. McCarthy, The Bible of Karate: Bubishi, p. 51.

6. "Kenpo Gokui". Retrieved 22 April 2003 from Ole Miss Karate Club on the World Wide Web:

7. This version of the Dojo Kun by Master Shimabuku was displayed in his dojo in Agena. "Isshin-ryu Karate Code of Conduct". Retrieved 23 January 2003 from the Ole Miss Karate Club at

The source for the photo of the Dojo Kun is from NIKA's "Isshinryu philosophy" at

8. "Dojo Kun". Retrieved 27 April 2003 from Dragon Times: The Voice of Traditional Karate on the World Wide Web:

9. "Short Biography of James M. Mitose". Retrieved 27 April 2003 from The Tracy System of Kenpo History Series on the World Wide Web:

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