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The Shotokan Times becomes The Dojo

The picture shows the Logo of The Dojo.

The Dojo is coming soon. In the upcoming weeks, The Shotokan Times will undergo a far-reaching change from a single-style journal into an 360° karate and budo platform with a special focus on dojos. Thus, it will be renamed and rebranded into “The Dojo – Platform for Karate and Budo”. Following we explain what is behind this step and give an outlook to the new format.

The Shotokan Times – A Story of Success

The last one and a half years, during which we have built up The Shotokan Times, have been a pleasure, educative, enlightening, enriching, challenging, and a gigantic adventure. We have been stoked by the thousands of views and visitors our website collected. Within these 18 month we have been welcoming 623,935 views and 355,807 visitors on The Shotokan Times. This is an incredible success and it had proved us right that a quality online journal for Shotokan karate beyond associations has been desperately needed.

From the beginning, it was our aim to put the individual Karateka first, to give them a voice, a stage, and a place to present his or her ideas and skills. This stage was widely utilized.

Since last year, we published more then 150 articles (roughly 7 per month). We initiated the series Women of Shotokan, which became a gigantic success and gave inspiring female Karateka an own fora where they could express their way of Shotokan. A clothing and karate equipment shop became also part of our platform. And our latest achievement is the Dojo Finder for which already 200 Dojos have registered within 10 days.

However, we also gained three insights about Shotokan in particular and Karate in general.

Karate and Water

The first insight is: One cannot discuss or understand Shotokan without considering other Karate styles. Okinawa Karate has, of course, coined Shotokan historically. But even today a foundational knowledge of Okinawa styles leads to a deeper understanding of Shotokan. The same goes for Kyokushin. One might ask: Why did Masutasu Oyama develop Kyokushin Karate although he held a 4th Dan in Shotokan?

Modern Sport Karate and Karate Combat have amplified our view on Karate as well. Both focus on the physical dimension of Karate and by doing so giving us deeper insights about limits, opportunities, and ramifications of Karate.

The major idea behind this insight is: A fish does not know what water is. Water is so natural to the fish that it only understands its characteristics and structure when it leaves it. Therefore, we only can understand our Karate and our way by comparing it with other styles. Only then we can distinguish what is water, what is air, and what is land.

The Dojo as the Nucleus of Karate

The second insight we gained: The Dojo and not the individual karateka nor the association is the nucleus of Karate. Especially the current global COVID-19 pandemic has made this obvious: One cannot walk successfully on the Karate way alone. We need a social structure, in which we are embedded, to learn karate properly. This social structure is not the association though.

It is first and foremost the Dojo in which we gather several times a week. The Dojo is the place where Karate knowledge is transmitted, where we are challenged, encouraged, criticized, accepted with our flaws, and go beyond our limits. Here we grow under tutelage into Karateka and find the community with the same values that carries us through the bumpy and difficult passages of the way.

However, the Dojo does not get much attention. It seems to be a blind spot of Karate. And somehow it appears to be taken for granted like an autonomous self-organizing structure. This conclusion is false. Like any other social group with a division of labor and division of roles it holds the potential to fail or to flourish.

Therefore, the Dojo needs more of our attention. Because the African saying is right: When you want to go fast, then go alone. But if you want to go a long distance, go with others. The karate way is a life long journey. Hence, the group that supports us on this way should not be taken for granted. And even Musashi had companions.

The picture shows Musashi and his adopted son Iori.
The picture shows a statue of Musashi and his adopted son Iori.

Karate and Budo

Karate Do is Budo. This becomes obvious in the moment one considers the etiquette and ethics that accompany Karate. These values are strongly connected to the Dojo, the space, which is separated from the profane daily life by distinct rules and expectations represented in the Dojo kun. However, this distinction between the outside non-Budo world and the inside Budo world is not unique to Karate. The Dojo is the place where all Budo´s – Kendo, Judo, Iaido, Kyudo, Aikido, Sumo etc. – intersect.

The Dojo is the place of cultivation of budo. Or as Prof. Dr. Wolf Herbert shows in his entry for the Encyclopedia of Shotokan:

“The manda (= dojo) is therefore the place, where the “essence” of enlightenment is present.”

To bring Karate closer to Budo – like many practitioners claim – might lead through a stronger consideration of the Dojo as a space for the cultivation of Budo. In other words: When have you got down to the ground and cleaned the Dojo the last time?

What will The Dojo be about?

The Dojo will cover all sorts and styles of Karate, for instance:

  • Shotokan
  • Shotokai
  • Goju-ryu
  • Shito-ryu
  • Shorin-ryu
  • Wado-ryu
  • Kyokushin and its offsprings
  • Sport karate
  • Karate Combat

Our special focus will thereby on the Dojo and the teaching of Karate:

  • General approaches and strategies behind styles,
  • Techniques and tactics,
  • Training methods and curricula,
  • Ethics and values,
  • History and present developments.

Beside that we will also cover more general topics related to Dojos, for instance:

  • What is a Dojo and what is it not?
  • How to run and organize a Dojo?
  • Social structure in the Dojo
  • How to build and develop a Dojo?
  • The Dojo and its environment
  • How to educate and teach Karate to different target groups?
  • Conflicts in and outside the Dojo
  • How to create an atmosphere of spirit?

In addition, we will relate karate and the Dojo to other Budo´s.

  • What can we learn from Iaido and Kyudo about mental strength?
  • Does the highly competitive Kendo offer us a new perspective on Sport Karate and Karate Combat?
  • Which role did and does Judo play in making Japanese martial arts popular?
  • How has Judo coined Karate?
  • Where does the Budo terminology come from and how do we have to interpret them in a Karate context?
  • Is it a good thing to die for the honor of ones Daimyo?
  • What are the limitations of Budo and where else do we have to look for further answers?

We seek to offer our readers helpful, educative, demonstrative, and inspirational content about Karate and Budo from a Dojo perspective. It is our utmost wish to support you on your Karate way and to make your Dojo flourish so that it becomes the community you want it to be.

The Dojo will also accept articles from external authors! Please consider our Guidelines for Submission. They will stay the same.

What happens next?

  • The Dojo will be reachable through its future main url: https://the-dojo.org/.
  • The completion of the transition of the website will take between one and two months. You can visit our website and read our articles during the whole time.
  • The Shotokan Times products will stay available in our shops – even after the transition.
  • The Dojo Finder stays the Dojo Finder.
  • Our social media channels will change accordingly.
  • The Encyclopedia of Shotokan will become the Encyclopedia of Karate and Budo.
  • For all the fans of The Shotokan Times, who want to discuss with us solely about Shotokan, feel free to join the The Shotokan Times Facebook group.
  • Please, send feedback and questions to: theshotokantimes@gmail.com

We hope you are excited as we are and that we can also welcome you on the-dojo.org soon. Oss!

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Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herbert joins Editorial Board of The Shotokan Times

The picture shows Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herbert.

We are delighted to announced that Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herbert has joined our editorial board. Prof. Herbert is going to be senior editor and will reinforce pro bono Dr. Jeff Christian (senior editor) and Dr. Christian Tribowski (managing director & chief editor).

“This is a great day for the readers of The Shotokan Times and the editorial board. We are very fortunate”, says Dr. Tribowski. Wolfgang Herbert hold a 5th dan and has closely followed the teaching of Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa for decades. An extensive karate CV of Wolfgang Herbert can be found here. Today, he lives and teaches karate in Tokushima, Japan. Here he also serves as professor for comparative cultural studies at the University of Tokushima.

The picture shows Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herbert on the left and Hirokazu Kanazawa on the right.
Sôke Kanazawa and Wolf Herbert in Bregenz, Austria. Wolf translates the explanations of Hirokazu Kanazawa in 1984.

“His academic and scientific background are invaluable for our readers. Since 1988, Prof. Wolfgang Herbert lives, teaches, and researches in Japan. His deep knowledge about the country and its culture will help the readers of The Shotokan Times to understand what Japan and Shotokan karate are really about”, says Dr Tribowski.

Prof. Herbert´s present fields of specialization are comparative sociology, social deviance, (Zen) Buddhism, Martial Arts and Meditation.

Academic Career of Prof. Wolfgang Herbert

Wolfgang Herbert was born in Bludenz, Austria in 1960. From 1979-83, he studied philosophy and theology at the University of Vienna. After that he moved on to enroll in Japanese studies (major) and studies in comparative religion. In 1988 he received his Mag.phil. (M.A.) with a thesis on: Yakuza. Self-image, subculture and ideology, University of Vienna. Between 1988-90, he worked as a lecturer for the German language in the Kansai region (Kônan University/Kôbe, Osaka University of Economics Osaka, Goethe Institut Osaka) and conducted field work on “illegal” migrant workers, Yakuza and day laborers.

In 1991/92, he became an assistant at the Institute for Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna. He taught courses in extra-European history (labour migration). During that time, he also became a guest lecturer at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg/Germany and enrolled in their Doctoral program on Japanese studies and (criminal) sociology. In 1993, he received his Dr. phil. (Ph.D) with a thesis on: The delinquency of foreigners in Japan as an argument in the discussion concerning foreign ‘illegal’ migrant workers. From 1994 until 2013, he taught at Tokushima University, Free University Berlin, University of Innsbruck, and Sapientia University.

Since 2013, Wolfgang Herbert has been holding the position as Professor for Comparative Cultural Studies at the University in Tokushima. In 2015, he was on leave to become a visiting professor at the University of Vienna Department of East Asian Studies. In 2017, he held a position as visiting professor at Cambridge University.

Publications of Prof. Wolfgang Herbert

Prof. Herbert has extensively published about Japan. Especially, Yakuza and illegal labor migration to the peninsula have been part of his research. Beside that he also published some books about Buddhism and culture of East Asia. A list of his available books can be found in his amazon profile.

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Support Board: Karateka help Karateka in Times of Corona

The picture shows Okuma Sensei with a some participating karateka of the seminar.

The Corona virus has spread over the whole globe. Many people are directly and indirectly affected. Some countries have been hit very hard by the virus. Other countries enforce strict measure on their citizens like social distancing etc.

Karateka also Affected by Corona

Among the victims are also karateka. Some have been infected by Corona virus. Others have already lost family members, friends, colleagues, and dojo members and friends to the disease. Some have or might lose their job because the economy in their country has also been shut down. Others might lose their dojo because students cannot come to classes due to the curfew but they still have to pay rent etc. And most of us many of us must stay at home in isolation and cannot join most favorite group activity: Karate keiko in a dojo.

Support Board – Karateka Help Each Other

Therefore, we want to organize some help. Because karatekas worldwide are one big solidary community and we support each other in times of crisis.

Below in the comment section (NOT IN THE FACEBOOK COMMENT SECTION) we offer you a Support Board. If you need something or want to give something, just post it with your name and email address and the conditions to receive it. You can post everything from chicken soup, toilet paper, money donations, legal advise or just a nice chat via Skype or Hangouts.

We will have an eye on the post so that no shady stuff gets offered or requested. Thus, it will take a bit for a post to become approved.

Home Dojo: Best Online Karate Lessons and Videos

In the meantime, everyone, who has to stay at home due to curfews and shut downs, might find some pleasure in a good online karate lesson and videos how to set up your home dojo or something similar. Please, post your favorite and most inspirational lessons or videos in the comment section below, too, so, that others can get a little bit distracted from Corona and stay fit and healthy. We will all collect them and put them in one post later.

We begin with three videos/channels we deem as valuable.

John Ngai Teaching Karate Online to Children

John is the head of SKIF South China. Thus, he was confronted much earlier with the ramifications of the Corona virus. However, he took the initiative and organized karate online courses for children. Here some footage. Let yourself become inspired.

JKA News: Exercises You can do Alone

On their Facebook news channel the JKA offer some technical explanatory videos to bridge the time until we all can go back to the dojo. Great service: English subtitles.

Jeff Christian: The Quarantine Home Dojo

Our senior editor, Dr. Jeff Christian, has turned his Instagram Channel into a window to his quarantine home dojo. Like many Jeff strictly follows the social distancing rules. However, he also likes to train. Therefore, he uses his garage as a dojo and conducts several karate and yoga exercises. Let yourself become inspire. You can also have your home dojo!

Feel free to post more videos, requests and offerings in the comment section. We will all go through this together and nobody will be left alone. Oss!

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Dr. Jeff Christian joins Editorial Board of The Shotokan Times

The picture shows Jeff Christian, who has become the new senior editor of The Shotokan Times.

We are happy to announce that Dr. Jeff Christian has joined the editorial board of The Shotokan Times. Dr. Christian will reinforce the website team and contribute as senior editor and regular author.

Dr. Christian Tribowski, managing director and chief editor, said about this decision: “I am more than happy that Jeff offered to support us. He brings an unusual mix of traits and enthusiasm to our website that we appreciate. On the one hand, he is an excellent karateka. On the other hand, he has an excellent academic record. That qualifies him perfectly for the position of the senior editor.”

Originally from Texas, USA, Dr. Christian started early with Kyokushin karate and moved later on to Shotokan. Today, he trains up to five times per week in Houston, Texas. In addition, he runs the Instagram channel @JEFFSHOTOKAN that has attracted more than 5,500 followers.

The picture shows Jeff Christian during a Shotokan karate motion called Shuto Uke.

Educated as a philosopher and theologian he serves as a guest lecturer at universities and seminaries, and has taught through the years as an adjunct professor at Abilene Christian University where he supervises graduate students. He regularly conducts ministerial service.

Among his degrees and experience at academic institutions:

  • 2007 Doctor of Ministry, Abilene Christian University, Aristotelian Philosophy and Ethics
  • 2002 Ph.D. work at Texas A&M University, Rhetoric and Hermeneutics
  • 1999 Institute of Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • 1999 Master of Divinity, Abilene Christian University
  • 1994 Bachelor of Arts, Abilene Christian University, Greek

Furthermore, Dr. Christian has written multiple publications in the field of theology and practical ministry.

Oss!

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Tatsuya Naka Likes The Shotokan Times

This weekend, our board member, Keigo Shimizu, and our managing director and chief editor, Dr. Christian Tribowski, took part in a seminar with Tatsuya Naka sensei in Munich, Germany. After the last class on Saturday, both overhanded Naka sensei a gift of gratitude: Our famous black The Shotokan Times hoodie.

Naka sensei was very surprise and expressed how much he likes the hoodie. He is also fond of The Shotokan Times. He said that The Shotokan Times should keep going with good work.

The Shotokan Times overhanded him another special gift. We will reveal what it is beginning of November 2019.

Everybody, who wants our black The Shotokan Times hoodie, can order it here in our shop or press on the picture below.