Tag Archives: sensei

Whatever Happened to Dojo Kun?

Politeness in the Dojo…What Happened?

I remember the first time I took a Karate class, I THOUGHT I knew what I was in for, I had watched many martial arts movies.

That first class surprised me in so many ways.

karate master requirements

Click on the cover for the latest book in the Matrixing Karate series.

“Kiostske!” and everyone ran to position, I was signaled to go to the last spot and we all faced the front of the dojo (shomen).

“Seiza! kneel at attention right leg first, then left, knees 1 fist apart” Sensei started.

“Me wo tojite! Close your eyes, and meditate, lips slightly open, jaw relaxed, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.   Let the worries of the outside pass away.  Clear your mind, this is training time.”

I sat there quietly wondering what this was all about, I had some other thoughts that were arrogant and rude, I must say that in hind sight my association with this particular sensei may have been the best thing to ever happen to me, but that is another story.

At this point Sensei said “me wo akete, open your eyes” and after a brief pause yelled “dojo-kun!”

The most senior student in class loudly proclaimed the single word “titles”, and everyone responded the next line


“Be humble respectful and courteous above all!”


“Observe the way of peace and teamwork!”


“Practice with all the drive you have, and strive for more than you think you have”


“Have true courage in all facets of life”


“Strive for individual achievement for the benefit of others”

There was more to the beginning ceremony, but at this point I was very confused.

I found out later that it is the morals of the school, repeated before and after class to drill it in to our heads.  Morals is probably a bad translation, but “rules” doesn’t seem to fit either.

The more I thought about it, the more sense the opening ceremony and dojo-jun made.  After all it is karate-do, not karate-jitsu (link to the do vs jitsu article).

In the years since then I am amazed that more styles don’t include dojo-kun, and more mind-settling ceremonies.  As an example, a few years later, I switched to Kenpo Karate and was struck by the blatant rudeness of the instructor.  Gone was Dojo-kun, gone was the humbleness of the students, gone was the friendly atmosphere, gone was the Japanese, even referring to Sensei as such, it was just “Sir”.

The “Kenpo Creed”, written by Mr. Ed Parker Jr., sounds more like a half-hearted apology for having to beat people up, than it does a set of rules to live by.

I come to you with only Karate; “empty hands.” I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor.  Should it be a matter of life or death, right or wrong, then here are my weapons, Karate; “empty hands.”

This has always rubbed me the wrong way, of course, the fact that he dropped “do” and “jitsu” from his arts name may indicate something.  His choice of “empty hand” in the creed is also interesting, since the character on the patch is the homonym for empty, but it means “Tang Dynasty China”, so it literally means “Chinese hand” not “empty hand”, but that is another story.

Kenpo isn’t the only style to eliminate Dojo-kun, and of the schools I have studied in, those that eliminate Dojo-kun, are always less friendly, they are less patient, ruder, and generally not as well behaved.

The “Tao Te Ching” says in poem 38

Failing Tao, man resorts to Virtue.
Failing Virtue, man resorts to humanity.
Failing humanity, man resorts to morality.
Failing morality, man resorts to ceremony.
Now, ceremony is the merest husk of faith and loyalty;
It is the beginning of all confusion and disorder.

I have to think that we have drifted so far, that ceremony is our first step to get back on the road.  Dojo-kun shouldn’t be necessary; we should all be wonderful people without having to repeat it.  I feel strongly though that dojo-kun should continue to be part of every school, especially those teaching children, because we can all use the reminder to be better people.

119 Karate Lessons, all the way to Black Belt, for only $50!

Still Yet Another New Martial Arts Master Instructor!

One More Martial Artist Makes it to Master Instructor!

Happy Work Out To You!
Please join in my exuberance,
as we have yet another Master Instructor!
Congrats to
Master Instructor Justin Harris,
here is his win…
Dear Al,
Got a new one for you. I have studied Yang Style Tai Chi for over two decades. Your Five Army DVD’s and the Master Instructor course have been amazing. I’ve not put in much time learning the form you present just looking at the apps and the pure push hands gold you have on there. I have corrected each and every posture in my form … and the form is totally different. It is no longer a strange dance that seems to be missing something but it is rather a powerful method of moving force throughout the body. I know what every movement in my form does now and exactly how to manifest the proper effect. I’m no longer dependent on the Master of the week coming along and selling me form corrections. You have helped me to uncover the real deal. It has also applied seamlessly to the Sun Style Tai Chi form I practice and the Sun Style Baguazhang. Massive power has been unlocked in each art. I’m currently working on the Shaolin Butterfly Course and it too is so easy to get right when you understand what you are looking for in the forms. The forms are a joy to do because they build skills now rather than being mindlessly choreographed sets. I also applied your theories to Zhan Zhuang standing using it to cultivate breathing, alignment, and grounding. I can use any stance for this purpose now. Amazing stuff. You only gave us the Grand Unified theory of all martial arts regardless of style and origin.
Many thanks Al,
Justin Harris
Thank you Justin,
you really made my day.
the Master Instructor course
is true for ALL martial arts.
It is the exact physics of the martial arts.
You have some fellow told you
how to do your form…
how do you know he is right?
Chances are,
he’s just doing what he was told,
and he doesn’t really know the real reasons.
I tell you this…
 only the classical martial arts
the ones done for thousands of years
unlock your true power.
But you have to do them right,
and not too many people know
the right way to do them.
Let me offer you something
so you can understand this.
My instructor in Kenpo was good,
but he had no chi power.
He was fast,
naturally talented.
But it was art on the level of muscles.
My second instructor,
Bob Babich at the Kang Duk Won
had incredible and massive power.
You could feel him walk on the mat,
his technique was so smooth
it was near invisible for effortlessness
yet when he punched
your whole body would vibrate
and threaten to puff away.
Massive power.
My first instructor
had a put together art
passed down by black belts of 3-5 years experience,
if that.
My second instructor
spent years as an assistant instructor,
first under Don Buck,
of Mas Oyama lineage,
and then he tossed that art
and did the Kang Duk Won.
He was roomies with a fellow
who had dozens of years experience,
making him essentially a live in student.
The point is this,
he had perfect form.
He never told me how to have perfect form,
he just kept making minor adjustments,
and after a half dozen years,
I started to groove,
to figure it out,
to feel the power.
he never told me,
he couldn’t,
because he didn’t know.
He was just monkey seeing and monkey doing
as has been done for a thousand years or so.
I don’t disrespect him for this,
I respect him for enduring
a long and confusing method.
the point is this…
I am a writer,
my father was an engineer
and my mother was an English teacher,
and between those two influences
and a lot of other things,
I managed to figure it out,
to put on paper
what perfect form is,
what perfect technique is.
So there is a Master Instructor book,
and a couple of DVDs of me
showing how to have perfect form and technique.
First time in history this has ever been done.
when people see the master instructor course
they invariably start going through everything they know
looking at each move,
each technique,
fixing it.
Justin’s words…
“I have corrected each and every posture in my form”
Go back and look at some of the other Master Instructor Wins,
many of them say the same thing,
they went back over their martial arts
and fixed them.
thank you to Justin,
and my apologies,
I probably should have said something
about the Tai Chi Chuan course,
his wins in that are massive,
but when I get a new Master Instructor
I tend to push that course.
So here’s the URL…
Check it out,
and have yourself a great and wonderful work out.
martial arts master instructor
This has been a page about a martial arts master instructor.

A New Martial Arts Master Instructor!

The world gets better, one master instructor at a time…

The beginning of my weekend work outs!
This being good Friday,
I should have a good work out,
every work out is a prayer,
so make this weekend a prayerful one.
karate senseiOkey donkey,
a new Master Instructor!
Eduardo Fernandez is a serious martial artist
with profound philosophy.
Enjoy his win.
For many years I was drawn apart from the idea of using physical force. So, my youth was hard.
One day, I realized I had to change my mind or suffer the same consequences my whole life.
In today’s society violence is as present as ever, and it has evolved into very subtle ways. We fear who we think stronger, fitter, more dangerous.
Two ways depart from fear: the use of violence and the submission to violence. Both are harmful short and long term. This can be seen everywhere.
A third way runs in between and can be entered from any: this is the way of people who can use violence, but choose not to (has no need to). This is the true way one martial artist should aspire to.
Success as judged by common social standards doesn’t mean one has chosen the third way.
The problem only can be solved by facing it, though ego tends to distract us in all sort of manners.
The third category flows with life and circumstances and thus never allows a situation to grow beyond control.
In order to achieve high mastery, martial arts must be approached in a scientific way, and not as a weekend club or an entertainment.
The conventional knowledge about any particular field is usually wrong. Such an obvious thing as looking up to those who are farther in the path you currently walk can clarify this.
A veteran doesn’t necessarily know. He has only been doing something a lot of time, be it right or wrong way.
Most of the people don’t care if they are wrong or right, they just want to entertain themselves.
Not answering the students’ questions can lead to mysticism and is often used as a cover for ignorance.
Students shouldn’t be discouraged to explore as much as they judge necessary.
The ranking system is within.
No one should accept negligence disguised as philosophy or cosmogony.
One has to make its own way.
Stagnation of thought leads to corruption of mind.
The first time I asked how could I do the unbendable arm I was answered “What do you want to know it for?”. I could not answer. I just wanted to know it. I was not taught. Now, I have taught the unbendable arm to a lot of people, most of them with no previous training in martial arts, in a matter of minutes. In almost all cases they were surprised to see what they were capable of doing. It is a shame that such simple things are mystified by corrupt teaching methods, usually mistaken means by ends, and stopping development
Thank you Edward,
and he’s right.
You might start the martial arts
to become strong and powerful
and you will,
but the real joy,
the real benefit,
comes from the truths you learn,
that exist within yourself.
I know that one of the most profound moments in my life
was when I achieved black belt.
I had been studying martial arts
so I could beat people up,
and so I could be strong.
What I didn’t realize…
my lack of esteem,
my lack of self worth,
came from within.
The world didn’t look down on me,
I looked down on me.
understanding this,
and suddenly realizing that
using what I had learned
I could really hurt people,
I had the thought:
I don’t ever really want to hurt anybody.
This was such a pivotal thought,
for it signified that the blinders were coming off,
that in a fight I was no longer going to withhold myself,
that I could put aside my feelings for humanity
and hurt somebody,
I was willing to be responsible,
to take responsibility for that kind of power.
It’s not who you can harm,
it’s who you can help.
That is the real power of the martial arts.
So I thank you Edward,
your win is my win,
and the world becomes a better place.
One Master Instructor at a time.
Here’s the Master Instructor URL
I’ve got a couple of incredible newsletters coming up.
Got a couple of wins in the mail
that are just primo.
When people have these kinds of wins
it just makes me shiver with delight
and say…
God, I love the martial arts!
after that,
I’ve got a rather special newsletter coming up.
Something about why I do the Monster,
what I’m really trying to do with Matrixing.
stay tuned.
Now have yourself an utterly awesome work out!

The following quotes are total insanity, spoken by one of the world’s greatest martial artists. Guess who he is, and enjoy…

“It is not sufficient that I succeed – all others must fail.”
“I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”
“The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”
master instructor

One Punch Mugger Destroys Karate Self Defense

What I am about to tell you is an actual incident, recorded and played on the TV, in which a mugger one punched a fellow, utterly destroying any hope of Self Defense training, Karate or Kung fu or Kenpo or whatever. Check out the following video, make sure my instruction makes sense, then read the article right below it.

Simply, a mugger engaged a passerby in a conversation, got him laughing and joking. Then, he turned slightly, as if he was going to talk to somebody else, but, in actuality, he was merely winding up for the pitch. He exploded, uncorked a punch that hit the passerby squarely in the face, and knocked him totally out. He was still out when an ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital.
Now, the point is this….you have a lot of people selling ‘warning systems.’ They are trained to assess threats by color coding them. A well dressed fellow in a suit is no threat, he’s a green. A bum might be a yellow, a bunch of kids with baseball bats yeling at old ladies might be an orange, and so on.
This isn’t bad, one should be aware of who is approaching them–I’m a big fan of profiling–but it misses the point. The mugger isn’t going to manifest any specific range of rising hostility, or overt behavior, he is going to explode without warning.
There will be no steps escalating to a confrontation–one second all is peaceful, the next second you’re snoozing your way to the hospital. That’s the way the mugger is, the psycho is, the home invader is, the way any fellow is who wants your property, your life, your…whatever you’ve got.
Color coding potential threats is for school kids to detect bullies–but they know who the bullies are anyway. So the truth of the matter is that color coding is a gimmick martial arts instructors use to impress parents and sell them programs for their kids.
Why do I tell you all this? So you won’t fall for the hype. When you are looking for martial arts schools, or martial arts training DVDs, for your kid or for yourself, don’t fall for color coding, psychological babble, trophies in the windows, or any of that crap.
Ask for the history of the art, check out the history to make sure it is viable, watch the Karate Self Defense sensei, make sure he can get his point across, and that his points are logical and real.
If you do that, then your training will be effective, you will be getting the benefits of a real martial arts system, and not some internet crapola.
If what I say makes sense, check out my site, see if the logic holds true. It’s Monster Martial Arts, and you can pick up a free martial arts book on the home page.

The Karate Instructor Who Died…and That Sure Was a Mistake!

There was a renowned Karate Instructor who had grown old. Perceiving the end of his life, he wrote 100 letters to the 100 students he had helped master Karate. He mailed them, then went to bed and passed away.

Of course, if he had really done a good job with his students he could have saved the postage, for they would have known of his coming death.

Well, he was renowned as a Karate Instructor, but that didn’t mean he was necessarily great. If you want to be great, check out the Master Instructor Course.

Monster Newsletter #348–New Master Instructor! (part one)

Good morning to you!
I’ve gotten some of them most incredible wins this month.
I’ll pass them out in the next few newsletters.
Really sweet stuff,
I tell ya.

But, let me say one thing…
Have a great work out!
That’s the secret of it all,
and I am officially reminding you
to do your work out
and more than just once a day!

biz aside,
let’s look at the win from the latest Master Instructor.
Congrats to Master Instructor Mike Casto!

I was a little reluctant to order because of the language used on the website. I have a reflexive aversion to sales hype. I read some articles of yours that I was able to find online, though, and they contained good info so I decided to give the video a shot.

Honestly, there wasn’t anything new for me personally. But I have been fortunate in my training. I’ve had some fantastic teachers and been able to train with some of the best in the world in their respective disciplines. As you point out, though, it took me ~25 years of training and experience to acquire the understanding. Your presentation of the material, though, was very good. Very straightforward and concise. For someone who hasn’t had the background I’ve had (either the duration or the world class instruction) that the material you present might be revolutionary.

The only critique I have is that you make a few generalizations that I think are too broad. One specific example that comes to mind is when you have Nemiah (sp?) in a lock I call “kunci jembatan” (Pencak Silat) but I believe Aikido calls “shiho nage” or “four direction throw.” … You have Nemiah in the lock and you say, “He can’t get out of this one. He doesn’t have the muscle; he doesn’t have the leverage.” While it may, in fact, be true that Nemiah can’t get out of it at that moment, there *are* ways to get out of it. I’m sure you’re aware of this 🙂 I’m not saying you’re “wrong” just that the generalization may be misunderstood by some people. They may interpret that as, “this is an unbeatable move.”

That critique is minor, though. Overall, I say kudos. This is a very good presentation of principles universal to all martial arts.

Also, as a writer/video editor/producer, I commend you on the video itself. While the backdrop is a bit busier than I would prefer it’s not overwhelming and doesn’t detract from the video or draw the viewer’s attention away from you. The presentation (talking about the physical presentation to the camera instead of the conceptual presentation of the material that I referred to previously) is good. This video is incredibly well done for a single, fixed camera setting. Kudos on this aspect, too.


Thanks for the kind words Mike,
and I appreciate the points you weren’t entirely in agreement with.
He is right,
there is no unbeatable technique,
there are just beatable people,
and this only if you do the work
study hard
and apply yourself.
you better keep studying,
because that beatable person isn’t going to stop learning.

On a side note,
one of my favorite movies is Fists of the White Lotus.
The chump gets beaten up,
goes and studies martial arts for ten years
then goes back and gets beaten up again.
‘But how can this be!’ he exclaims to the villain.
‘I’ve spent the last ten years studying to beat you!’
The villain’s response: ‘I spent ten years studying, too!”
Heh heh heh!

thanks to Master Instructor Casto,
and I encourage the rest of you to study hard,
as he points out,
most people don’t have the benefit of world class instructors
over the duration of their study.

second half of this newsletter coming shortly.

Head on over to Monster Martial Arts and check out the master instructor course while you’re waiting.