OVER YOUR HEART
The dojo crest
It is normally the custom in a karate dojo for a "dojo crest" to be worn on the upper left side of a students gi.
This crest can vary in size and in shape, but within the body of this crest you are likely to find a number of images, symbols, shapes, words, colors, kanji, or other characteristics which when combined together are meant to form a visual representation of the unique beliefs and ideals of that particular organization.
The dojo crest may be singularly unique representing only a single dojo with less than a twenty students. On the other hand it may signify a much larger organization headed by a Shihan (Master) with a Honbu dojo (main dojo) and affiliate dojos around the world. In which case the crest will be recognized world wide as representing an organization whose enrolment through it's affiliated dojo's could easily number into the tens of thousands.
Regardless of affiliation or style the dojo crest representing the organization to which a student belongs and any symbolism contained within the crest should alway be a source of pride for all of the student associated with that organization. By wearing your dojo crest on the left side of your gi and over your heart you like many others validate that belief.
For more than 30 years I have practiced the art of Shotokan karate, and in that time I have had the great pleasure of training, and doing seminars, with some of the best karate teachers in the world such as:
- Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, 9th Dan, Founder and Chief Instructor of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association (FSKA)
- Kancho Hirokazu Kanazawa, 10th Dan, Founder and Chief Instructor of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF)
- Sensei Hidemi Tamayose, Kyoshi, 9th Dan, Founder and President of the Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan
- Sensei Richard Kim, 10th Dan, Hanshi, of the Zen Bei Butoku-kai & the Dai Nippon Butoku-kai
- Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama, 9th Dan, Chairman of the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF)
- Sensei Meitatsu Yagi, 10th Dan, Hanshi, President of the International Meibu-kai
In every case all of these great Masters wore their crest with pride and in doing so they too were showing honour and respect for the history, traditions, and values of their dojo and their organization.
So do likewise, wear your dojo's crest with pride and help to keep alive another of the fine traditions that make any style of karate an art form to respected the world over.
There is no end to karate training,
there is always a higher level.
Part the clouds - see the way.
"The objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay