A magic instant in the Dojo

This article was published by Karate Do Magazine in Italy.

At the end of the article is the link to their site, which is very interesting by the way.

Hope you enjoy it!!



The relationship between a Sensei and his student is often very special because of the amount of time they spend together, because of obstacles that the student overcomes with a proper guidance, because of the values, because of the intensity, because of the high emotions, and I can keep on going. However, despite all this, the magic moment in class does not happen often and that`s why Sottaku Doji is so special.

Now, what`s the meaning of this expression?

The literal translation 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 for the very first time. 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 for more pecks that he tries.

This analogy also occurs in Karate or in any other martial art. A few years ago my Sensei Hitoshi Kasuya at a seminar held 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 special technique for kumite, an effective counter attack, a proper stance or even a jump from a kata, but if his Sensei does not identify that need and he does not dedicate an appropriate quality of time to that student, then the student will not be able to advance technically.

It works vice versa. It also happens that a Sensei can have all the disposition, will, time and desire to teach, but if his student does not pay attention to him, if he is not conscious, or if his mind is not in that precise moment, then the student won`t be able to absorbed what the Sensei is saying, resulting in a very slow improvement on the best case scenario.

That’s why the moment of Sottaku Doji inside the Dojo is so extraordinary. Sottaku Doji happens when the student’s thirst to learn equals the Instructor’s willingness to teach, then for that period of time there are no limits to what both can achieve.

Despite this being a philosophical approach of the Japanese culture to the martial art, when can experience this situation at the dojo at any given time. When we go to the dynamics of a real class in a traditional dojo, we can realize that reaching or identifying this level of synergy between Student-Instructor very complex.  Among other things because of the number of simultaneous students that are in the class and in many cases the ages of the class groups. That is why it is always advisable, regardless of the number of students you have, to take the time to listen to each one.

A strong recommendation is to take the time to valuate them separately, identify the real need of each person. Specially when working with children. A child`s attention interval is very short and that`s why the Instructor must do everything he is capable of doing to maximize his learning.

By being aware of this situation, and the importance of the connection between them, is that we can make a real impact on that student`s martial art career.  Sottaku Doji is special, but once we know that, can we give as Instructors that key advice or correction that will change the direction of our student forever.


A magic instant in the Dojo

A magic instant in the Dojo

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