The Dojo is coming soon. In the upcoming weeks, The Shotokan Times will undergo a far-reaching change from a single-style journal into an 360° karate and budo platform with a special focus on dojos. Thus, it will be renamed and rebranded into “The Dojo – Platform for Karate and Budo”. Following we explain what is behind this step and give an outlook to the new format.
The Shotokan Times – A Story of Success
The last one and a half years, during which we have built up The Shotokan Times, have been a pleasure, educative, enlightening, enriching, challenging, and a gigantic adventure. We have been stoked by the thousands of views and visitors our website collected. Within these 18 month we have been welcoming 623,935 views and 355,807 visitors on The Shotokan Times. This is an incredible success and it had proved us right that a quality online journal for Shotokan karate beyond associations has been desperately needed.
From the beginning, it was our aim to put the individual Karateka first, to give them a voice, a stage, and a place to present his or her ideas and skills. This stage was widely utilized.
Since last year, we published more then 150 articles (roughly 7 per month). We initiated the series Women of Shotokan, which became a gigantic success and gave inspiring female Karateka an own fora where they could express their way of Shotokan. A clothing and karate equipment shop became also part of our platform. And our latest achievement is the Dojo Finder for which already 200 Dojos have registered within 10 days.
However, we also gained three insights about Shotokan in particular and Karate in general.
Karate and Water
The first insight is: One cannot discuss or understand Shotokan without considering other Karate styles. Okinawa Karate has, of course, coined Shotokan historically. But even today a foundational knowledge of Okinawa styles leads to a deeper understanding of Shotokan. The same goes for Kyokushin. One might ask: Why did Masutasu Oyama develop Kyokushin Karate although he held a 4th Dan in Shotokan?
Modern Sport Karate and Karate Combat have amplified our view on Karate as well. Both focus on the physical dimension of Karate and by doing so giving us deeper insights about limits, opportunities, and ramifications of Karate.
The major idea behind this insight is: A fish does not know what water is. Water is so natural to the fish that it only understands its characteristics and structure when it leaves it. Therefore, we only can understand our Karate and our way by comparing it with other styles. Only then we can distinguish what is water, what is air, and what is land.
The Dojo as the Nucleus of Karate
The second insight we gained: The Dojo and not the individual karateka nor the association is the nucleus of Karate. Especially the current global COVID-19 pandemic has made this obvious: One cannot walk successfully on the Karate way alone. We need a social structure, in which we are embedded, to learn karate properly. This social structure is not the association though.
It is first and foremost the Dojo in which we gather several times a week. The Dojo is the place where Karate knowledge is transmitted, where we are challenged, encouraged, criticized, accepted with our flaws, and go beyond our limits. Here we grow under tutelage into Karateka and find the community with the same values that carries us through the bumpy and difficult passages of the way.
However, the Dojo does not get much attention. It seems to be a blind spot of Karate. And somehow it appears to be taken for granted like an autonomous self-organizing structure. This conclusion is false. Like any other social group with a division of labor and division of roles it holds the potential to fail or to flourish.
Therefore, the Dojo needs more of our attention. Because the African saying is right: When you want to go fast, then go alone. But if you want to go a long distance, go with others. The karate way is a life long journey. Hence, the group that supports us on this way should not be taken for granted. And even Musashi had companions.
Karate and Budo
Karate Do is Budo. This becomes obvious in the moment one considers the etiquette and ethics that accompany Karate. These values are strongly connected to the Dojo, the space, which is separated from the profane daily life by distinct rules and expectations represented in the Dojo kun. However, this distinction between the outside non-Budo world and the inside Budo world is not unique to Karate. The Dojo is the place where all Budo´s – Kendo, Judo, Iaido, Kyudo, Aikido, Sumo etc. – intersect.
The Dojo is the place of cultivation of budo. Or as Prof. Dr. Wolf Herbert shows in his entry for the Encyclopedia of Shotokan:
To bring Karate closer to Budo – like many practitioners claim – might lead through a stronger consideration of the Dojo as a space for the cultivation of Budo. In other words: When have you got down to the ground and cleaned the Dojo the last time?
What will The Dojo be about?
The Dojo will cover all sorts and styles of Karate, for instance:
- Kyokushin and its offsprings
- Sport karate
- Karate Combat
Our special focus will thereby on the Dojo and the teaching of Karate:
- General approaches and strategies behind styles,
- Techniques and tactics,
- Training methods and curricula,
- Ethics and values,
- History and present developments.
Beside that we will also cover more general topics related to Dojos, for instance:
- What is a Dojo and what is it not?
- How to run and organize a Dojo?
- Social structure in the Dojo
- How to build and develop a Dojo?
- The Dojo and its environment
- How to educate and teach Karate to different target groups?
- Conflicts in and outside the Dojo
- How to create an atmosphere of spirit?
In addition, we will relate karate and the Dojo to other Budo´s.
- What can we learn from Iaido and Kyudo about mental strength?
- Does the highly competitive Kendo offer us a new perspective on Sport Karate and Karate Combat?
- Which role did and does Judo play in making Japanese martial arts popular?
- How has Judo coined Karate?
- Where does the Budo terminology come from and how do we have to interpret them in a Karate context?
- Is it a good thing to die for the honor of ones Daimyo?
- What are the limitations of Budo and where else do we have to look for further answers?
We seek to offer our readers helpful, educative, demonstrative, and inspirational content about Karate and Budo from a Dojo perspective. It is our utmost wish to support you on your Karate way and to make your Dojo flourish so that it becomes the community you want it to be.
The Dojo will also accept articles from external authors! Please consider our Guidelines for Submission. They will stay the same.
What happens next?
- The Dojo will be reachable through its future main url: https://shotokantimes.com/.
- The completion of the transition of the website will take between one and two months. You can visit our website and read our articles during the whole time.
- The Shotokan Times products will stay available in our shops – even after the transition.
- The Dojo Finder stays the Dojo Finder.
- Our social media channels will change accordingly.
- The Encyclopedia of Shotokan will become the Encyclopedia of Karate and Budo.
- For all the fans of The Shotokan Times, who want to discuss with us solely about Shotokan, feel free to join the The Shotokan Times Facebook group.
- Please, send feedback and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you are excited as we are and that we can also welcome you on the-dojo.org soon. Oss!