November 22, 2011

Foster the Spirit of Effort

Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto

This 3rd precept of the Dojo Kun can be translated as “Endeavor”, “Foster the Spirit of Effort”, or “Cultivate the Spirit of Perseverance” and has many great lessons for the attitude that we should bring to training.  There are two important components to fostering the spirit of effort: challenging ourselves and challenging others. 

No matter what drill we are doing in class, there are always ways to challenge ourselves to make it harder.  We can strive to attain technical perfection with each movement, eliminate any extra movements, move as quickly as we can, or move slowly and with complete control over our technique.  Our stances could always be just a little bit deeper.  We can develop reactions by waiting for the count or waiting until the last moment to move against a partner.  No matter what you’re working on, there is always a way that you can make it more challenging for yourself.  There is always something that you can focus on to improve your technique, and the way that we improve is by continuously pushing ourselves to be better than we were before.     

When training with others, we should challenge each other, promote a competitive spirit in training, and strive to set an example for our juniors.  We push ourselves to move faster than the person training next to us.  With partner training, we push our partners to be better than they currently are.  We take inspiration and support from our fellow karateka to give us the drive to work harder, to be stronger, to have more endurance, to be more resilient.  When everyone gives their best and pushes others to also give their best, we all end up better than we thought possible.

While we are each responsible for giving our own best effort, we also collectively contribute to the atmosphere in the dojo.  We should all work to cultivate the dojo into an environment where hard work, determination, and willpower are encouraged.  It is through fostering the spirit of effort in both ourselves and others that we will all continue to develop into the best karateka we can be.
Submitted by: Kimberly Baran, Sandan