Here, Chris and I discuss a will for striving and Dojo Kun number three. Last time, we talked about number two and guarding the path of truth. Chris is an intermediate traditional karate student who spends a lot of time studying the kanji in the Dojo Kun.
J: What is the literal translation of Dojo Kun number three?
C: It’s important to continuously build upon the power of a will for striving.
J: This is my favorite Dojo Kun. What’s yours?
C: I don’t have a favorite. I like them all. But I would say number three has the most powerful concept for an individual to improve their life.
J: Yes! Will you explain?
C: Sure. It’s all in the kanji for perseverance.
A WILL FOR STRIVING: KANJI
J: I love that kanji.
C: Probably because it alludes to feminine power?
J: That’s part of it. Will you explain the perseverance kanji?
C: Sure. It’s pronounced doryoku, and it means effort or perseverance.
J: And the symbols in it?
C: The top half is the symbol for persevering, which contains the symbol for woman, and part of it is power. Then under that is the same symbol for power again, but bigger and on its own. So it emphasizes the power in the feminine type of will for striving.
J: Is this perseverance specifically for women?
C: No, it is a power that both genders (and all ages) can harness and train themselves in. And it’s particularly powerful in helping one to create change in one’s own life.
J: So what does the woman have to do with it?
C: It’s like when a woman has a kid. She doesn’t just will it and try hard one time and poof! There’s a kid! She is pregnant for about nine months, during which the way she takes care of herself and her unborn will make a difference in the outcome. If she puts love and passion over time, into the small decisions she makes every day, like eating healthy, exercising, resting, avoiding caffeine, smoke, harsh chemicals, etc., she can contribute to creating a baby who has time to develop in the womb and come out healthy.
PERSONAL WILL FOR STRIVING
J: How do you use the power of doryoku in your own life?
C: My best example is in my weight loss. I have wanted to be a healthier weight for about a decade. I tried to lose weight, but wasn’t that successful. About six months ago, I decided to just focus on making changes in my small daily decisions, and I put my will for striving into continuing those, day after day.
J: What were some of those small changes?
C: I cut out soda. Desserts are limited to only one regular serving on Saturday and Sunday. Healthier daily snacks instead of junk food. I either walk or do some calisthenics at least five days a week, especially if I didn’t get a workout in karate. My karate attendance is three days every week. If I fall short of that, I make it up. Mostly with just those things, I have lost about 50 pounds in six months.
J: That’s great!
C: I’m nearly to my ideal, healthy weight. And I feel a lot better!
A WILL FOR STRIVING “BOOK”
J: Do you have anything else to say about Dojo Kun number three?
C: Yes, it’s something I heard that Rhoad Renshi said. It’s your behaviors each day and each class that help determine how you will handle a life protection situation.
J: How so?
C: If you finish all your push-ups, if you push yourself to not skip a few, or go to your knees, but really do all of them, you will put a perseverance check-mark in your book. If you don’t finish them all, you’ll have a quitting check-mark. If you persevere in quality training with every chance you get, you’ll build a record of striving. Nobody knows how they’ll perform under pressure until they are actually challenged. But your decisions and actions make a track record of either quitting when it gets tough, or a will for striving no matter what.
J: So the power is in the small positive decisions and actions made over time.
C: Yes, it doesn’t seem like it at the time, but after a while they add up and can make big difference.
J: Thanks, Chris.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger