What is a dojo?

Dojo social events are a big part of forming a community.

Dojo is one of those Japanese words that martial artists use a lot and just kind of assume that everyone understands. But (oddly enough) not everyone is fluent in Japanese, so here’s a brief rundown!

What does dojo mean, literally?

Dojo (properly, dōjō or 道場) means “hall used for martial arts training”. It can also mean a place of Buddhist practice or meditation, but you won’t hear it used that way very often in a martial arts context.

The two kanji mean “way, journey, moral teachings” and “place, location”, so a dojo is a place where you train in the Way. Specifically in this case, the Martial Way (budō, 武道).

What really is a dojo?

All this literal translation is great, of course, but what does the word mean to actual martial artists? I asked a few for their thoughts.

Place of the way.

It’s the place that we train. But, we also use it to mean the people. As in “I’m going on a social with the dojo this weekend”.

It’s a group of people who have your back.

Great place to train. Honing your skills through practice with friends.

As you can see, it’s not all about the physical location. People feature heavily in these descriptions – and for good reason. Without the people, there really is no dojo, just an empty room.

Where can I find a Shorinji Kempo dojo?

If all this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, you’re in luck! Bristol Shorinji Kempo dojo is always happy to have new members.

Click here to find our class times

If you don’t live in Bristol, don’t despair. You can find other Shorinji Kempo dojos in the UK by going to the British Shorinji Kempo Federation website, or visit the International Kempo Association to find our friends in other countries.

Click here to find a dojo in the UK

Click here to see our sister organisations in other countries

Published by Nicola Higgins

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something* martial artist, Girlguiding Brownie and Ranger Leader, and actuary. She somehow also finds time to read, fuss her cat, and occasionally spends time with her husband. [* please note that "ten or more" is still something.]

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