Dojo (do̅jo̅) is a Japanese term that means "place of the way", and originally considered on the level of a temple. In modern times "Dojo" has come to mean a training hall, especially for the training of martial arts.
The ProKarate Rockord dojo was designed to be bright, welcoming, vibrant and encouraging. We wanted it to be a place where you would feel welcome, happy and part of a family.
People sometimes ask us why we bow before we step onto the workout floor. It is a traditional gesture for displaying respect, humility and lack of arrogance. We bow toward the shomen (the front of the school) at the beginning and end of class to show our respect and appreciation to the people who passed their knowledge on to us and for our training space. It is a conscious changing of focus and heart, where we know that we have come to better ourselves.
The Story of Our Torii Gate
Beautiful Torii Gates are seen all over Japan and Okinawa, but they have a special significance beyond being pretty to look at. A torii gate is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of a Shinto shrine. Its function, most simply, is to mark the entrance to a sacred space, signifying a passage between a physical realm and a spiritual one.
The Torii Gate at ProKarate Rockford represents our philosophy that the study of our Martial Art is not simply a physical one, but one that also happens on a spiritual and mental level. While we certainly want our bodies to be strong and flexible, we are also training our hearts to be brave and compassionate and our minds to be focused and disciplined. Our vision is not one of fighting, but of developing and using the tools one would need to be prepared to handle whatever comes along.
ProKarate Rockford member, Sensei Gordon Lanting, was the designer and builder of our Torii Gate in 2014.