Translated as “way place” or “training hall of the way,” the term Dojo is found among many of the training methods of Japan. To interpret Dojo only as a reference to the actual building in which training is conducted would lead to a great injustice, serving to weaken and dilute the depth of consciousness attainable through the diligent endeavor required in Aikido. To illustrate this point, a comparison has been made of two terms often used in martial arts. First, we have the term studio. It is my observation that the primary focus of the studio is directed toward the growth of the owner/instructor’s bank account. Second, we have the term school, which seems to be targeted at stroking the ego of the instructor as well as his wallet. In contrast, within the traditional Dojo, the emphasis is placed on the continuation and propagation of the art itself. When one allows for no opening or compromise within his application of this principle during training, the focus of striving for knowledge is shifted away from the self, yet the means for self-development not only remains but also becomes powerfully magnified. Therefore, knowledge is seeded internally and allowed to grow pure to its nature, unaffected by an overabundance of perceived personal desire. This is also one of the many manifestations of Masakatsu Agatsu (correct victory, self victory). The definition “way place” asks that we become earnestly engrossed within our surroundings as a vital part of training.

Reprinted with permission from ‘Aikido In Training’ – Copyright Cool Rain Productions 1993, 2002.

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