Zen Do Kai, Traditions


"This is the Way for men who want to learn my strategy:

  • Do not think dishonestly
  • The Way is in training
  • Become acquainted with every art
  • Know the Ways of professions
  • Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters
  • Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything
  • Perceive those things which cannot be seen
  • Pay attention even to trifles
  • Do nothing which is of no use."

The second year of Shoho (1645), the fifth month, the twelfth day. SHINMEN MUSASHI Go Rin No Sho

Basic Rules

  1. Everyone works

  2. Nothing is for free

  3. All start at the bottom

Dojo Etiquette

  1. Dojo means "A Sacred Place" - treat it as such

  2. Do not wear shoes on the dojo training area

  3. No Drugs, cigarettes or alcohol in the dojo

  4. Do not enter a class late or leave early without acknowledgment of the highest rank instructor in the class

  5. No swearing or actions or disrespect or breaching of rules

  6. Always train with "true" attitude of Bushido

  7. Never abuse fighting skills, always fight defesively and use these skills always to help lower ranks

  8. Dojo etiquette is to be always clean in body and appearance

  9. Bow upon entering or leaving the training area of the dojo

  10. Never walk in front of your seniors

  11. Always address you seniors by their proper titles

  12. When placing or removing your belt, students should kneel on their right knee when doing so

  13. Students are to line up in order of rank from left(highest rank) to right (lowest rank), standing opposite the instructor (rank is indicated by belt colour and seniority of training time).

  14. Black belts are to line up in order of rank with the highest ranked instructor in the centre, then alternating order of rank with the second highest rank to the right, the third highest rank to the left and so on.

  15. Within the black belt hierachy, grade (Dan) ranking primarily designates seniority. However, where two black belts are of the same rank, the one with the higher teaching title is considered the higher rank

  16. Higher rank coloured belts should endeavour to set good a example for lower ranked students and be responsible for the behaviour and conduct of lower ranked students

  17. If a student must adjust their Gi (uniform) during training, they must wait until the end of the activity in progress then turn to the back of the class prior to adjusting their Gi or belt.

  18. During training, there should be no idle talking between students

  19. Students and black belts are not permitted to use training equipment without first obtaining permission from the instructor

  20. All students are to participate in any competition in strict accordance with the competition rules and in the spirit of good sportamanship

  21. During training all students should be aware that the level of intensity of their training is at an appropriate level when partnered up with another student, taking into consideration the other students age, weight & sex

  22. Zen Do Kai tradition encourages that new black belts wear their belts continously for at least 24 hours after successfully attaining their Sho Dan Ho (probationary 1st Degree) grading

  23. When it comes to dojo financial problems, Samurai would have discussions but would never develop into arguing on such matters

Zen Do Kai Motto

"Training for strength together"

Characters on embroidered Black Belts

Six Characters are embroidered on the right hand side of the Black Belt after 2nd Degree.

The top three characters are Japanese for :







The bottom three characters are Chinese for :








Code of Conduct

Zen Do Kai Black Belts are required to conduct themselves accordingly:

  1. Carry out the responsibilities of Zen Do Kai Black Belts to the fullest extent of one's abilities, observing higher standards whilst progressing through the teaching levels.

  2. Present Zen Do Kai in a realistic and truthful manner, not misleading people by making exaggerated claims.

  3. Conduct oneself in such a manner as to reflect only the highest standards of Zen Do Kai philosophies, always attempting to teach others, as you would have them teach you.

  4. Discard one's ego and devote oneself to the cultivation and development of Zen Do Kai with firm determination. Be critical of oneself and strive for continuous improvement in one's character and ability, seeking the meaning of Zen Do Kai and exploring it with a constructive mind.

Social Rules and Self Defence.

As a martial artist you are bound to ensure that you employ appropriate degree of self control and discipline. The higher rank you become, the greater the likelihood of inflicting damage on another person. You should consider the implications therein.


All members of Zen Do Kai must pay respect to higher ranks. It must also be remembered that respect starts at the top and works down, so higher ranks remember that if they lose respect for each other, or even worse, not give respect to your students, it will cause a collapse.


Traditionally this is done in 'seiza' (kneeling position), with the fists closed and resting on top of the thighs.The highest rank in class acknowledges the style and the founder. The next highest rank acknowledges the teacher/instructor, with their name, rank and teaching title. The next highest rank acknowledges the dojo, the students, instructors and all that is encompassed as 'Zen.' Students below Brown Belt Bow till the chest touches the top of the fists that are resting on the thighs.

Brown Belt students have their hands open on the thighs and Bow till the chest touches the back of their hands.Black Belts also have their hands open at the commencement of the Bow, but put place their hands in front of them on the floor, thumbs outstretched and each touching the other. This forms a diamond shape between the thumbs and the outstretched fingers. The Bow is conducted till the forehead touches the back of the hands.

Throughout this, the more senior the student....from white Belt to Black Belt. The lower the Bow for us, signifies a sense of increased humility as we become more senior and advanced.