Sottaku Doji: What it means and how it relates to education within the Dojo.

The literal translation of this expression is: “Simultaneous pecking from the inside out”. It refers to the action that occurs between the chick that is about to be born and its mother, so that together they can break the shell of the egg.
When this action occurs simultaneously, something special happens, the chick opens its eyes to the world. However, if the mother decides to break the egg prematurely, the chick will basically die. And on the other hand, the chick will never be able to get out by itself just for more pecks that he tries.
This analogy also occurs in Karate or in any martial art. A few years ago my Master Hitoshi Kasuya at a seminar in Tokyo told us about this expression and its relationship in the dojo.

 

A student may be very keen to learn something specific, for example a technique for kumite or a jump from a kata, but if his Sensei does not identify that need or does not dedicate quality of time, then the student will not be able to advance technically.

It also happens that a Sensei can have all the disposition, time and desire to teach, but if his student does not pay attention to him, if he is not conscious at that moment, then neither will the student be able to improve and deepen his technique.

That’s why the moment of Sottaku Doji inside the Dojo is so special. When that moment occurs, when the student’s thirst to learn equals the Instructor’s willingness to teach, then there are no limits to what both can achieve.
Now, if we go to the dynamics of a class in a traditional dojo, we can realize that reaching or identifying this level of synergy between student-Instructor is complex, among other things because of the number of simultaneous students that are

in the class. That is why it is always advisable, regardless of the number of students you have, to take the time to listen to each one. Evaluate it separately, identify the real need of each person.
Only then can we give as Instructors that key advice or correction that will change the direction of our student.

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