Karate aims to improve an individual’s character through physical training, discipline and mental training. To this end the founder of Shotokan Karate Gichin Funakoshi propounded the Dojo Kun or morals of the training hall.
The romaji pronunciation of the kanji is (reading downward, right to left) :
Hitotsu! Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto!
Hitotsu! Makoto no michi o mamoru koto!
Hitotsu! Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto!
Hitotsu! Reigi o omonzuru koto
Hitotsu! Kekki no yu o imashimuru koto!
Two alternative translations are :
One! To strive for the perfection of character
One! To defend the paths of truth
One! To foster the spirit of effort
One! To honour the principles of etiquette
One! To guard against impetuous courage
Seek perfection of character
Refrain from violent behaviour
Note each line starts with Hitotsu!/One! i.e. they are bulletpoints, each is as important as the next.
The ideals of the Ao Denkou Kai reflect the same sentiments by using the principle of Kaizen. Kaizen is a principle by which each individual takes responsibility for their own growth and progress. It encourages the student to constantly strive to be better, both as a person and a martial artist.
Karate is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you were yesterday