What are our training principles?


Every proper dojo has a list of principles that act as a moral and mental compass for its members. They can be few in number or many. Some old; some made up. In some dojo, they are recited before each class.


We call our list the ‘Codes of Karate’, but it’s actual name is Kempo Gokui (meaning Fist Law), and is taken from an ancient Chinese military text. Isshin-ryu founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku, would give new black belts a copy of it written on silk instead of a rank certificate.


Unlike the often more motivational sounding codes, ours are very practical – and have a hidden meaning. On the surface these eight principles relate to effective combat, however, a second interpretation guides us to success in living life.




Kempo Gokui


A person’s heart is the same as heaven and earth.

The blood circulating is similar to the moon and sun.


The manner of breathing is either hard or soft.

A person’s unbalance is the same as a weight.


The body should be able to change direction at any time.

The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.


The eyes must see all sides.

The ears must listen in all directions.