By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

Dojo Kun #1 is more literally translated from Japanese as “It is important to use perseverance in the completion of human standards.” The Dojo Kun goes on to talk about the virtues of honesty, perseverance, respect and restraint. Some say those are the human standards or moral character traits referred to in Dojo Kun #1, so it is an overview.

John Locke, born in 1632, is quoted as saying, “We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.” That wisdom holds true over 300 years later.

More recently, Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” In his rags-to-riches story, he became a success by being around and learning from successful people. His words have helped others improve their lives, when they realized that the people you spend the most time with have a big influence your life.

It is important to understand that our character is influenced by those people we are around most. Knowing that, I am proud to be a part of our traditional dojo. Here, we influence each other in a positive way. As Allan Amor Kaicho says, we give “positive peer pressure” to our young students.

Some aspects of moral character are solid and virtually unchanging in a grown person. But there are many choices we make, on a regular basis, that are grey areas. Holding those choices up to the Dojo Kun can make the grey areas more clear.

The dojo provides good role models for our young students. We give them a positive influence to reinforce the values they are learning at home.

Teens are in a state of flux in their lives. We are a vital support system for them. The stability of our particular dojo is extremely helpful for adolescents. The support system they find here is indispensable.

I have seen those influences help our youth, but I started karate as an adult. I have not felt the benefit of being a child with the support of a dojo and influence of a Dojo Kun. However, as an adult I enjoy the benefit of a supportive dojo and the help of the Dojo Kun in guiding my actions. I find those things priceless. It’s easy to see how those things will help a developing young person even more.