Anyone who has visited or seen our dojo will know that on the shomen wall we have four scrolls. These ‘Makimono’ were brushed by Hokama Tetsuhiro sensei, a highly acclaimed martial artist, teacher and calligrapher in Okinawa, and gifted to the dojo when it opened. The four phrases pictured in them were selected by James Pankiewicz, Asato Dojo kancho, for their personal significance and expression of the spirit and philosophy of Okinawa and karate practice.
I’ll explain what they mean and why we chose these ones.
From left to right:
1- 命と宝 ‘Nuchi du Takara’
(Life is a Treasure)
First and foremost we must remember that life is truly precious. ‘Nuchi du takara’ is the Okinawan pronunciation of this phrase and it became a motto of peace in Okinawa following the devastation of WW2.
Karate should be about enhancing and improving life – both for the practitioner but also those around them. We are not here to hurt each other or our bodies. Notice that the character for life has been drawn with a long tail to signify a long life.
We only get one life. Live it well.
2- 究道無限 ‘Kyudo Mugen’
(The Path of Study Never Ends)
You train, you learn. You earn belts and ranks.
It’s easy to feel like you’ve ‘done it’ or you’re ‘finished’.
It is always important to remember that there is always more to learn – more depth, more styles, more arts, more everything.
There is no ‘finish’.
Training has no end.
You just have to keep an open mind, keep searching and keep studying.
3- 継続は力なり ‘Keizoku wa Chikara Nari’
(Continuous practice begets strength)
You either do karate, or you don’t. This one is here to remind us that even when you are busy, tired, stressed or whatever it may be – you need to continue training.
Your karate will not improve or even be maintained if you don’t train consistently.
Consistency is key to everything and it is a lesson we want to remember.
4- 温故知新 ‘Onko Chiishin’
(Study the past to gain new insight)
“on” is “to warm”, “ko” is “old”, “chi” is “to know” and “shin” is “new”: to warm the old and know the new (to learn new things from the old)
To study the old things and gain new knowledge or understanding. When starting something new – start by fully studying the past.
We are surrounded by experienced Sensei, resources and karate history and this scroll is here to remind us to use all that is available to us and learn from it. Its wasteful and unwise not to.