Dojos exist for a lot of people and for a lot of reasons. ‘Dojo’ literally means ‘Training Hall,’ it is a place where you learn martial arts. Nothing could be more mundane. But somehow — and I don’t claim to fully understand it — a dojo is something more, it is part of people’s lives.
A dojo exists because of, and for, the students. A sensei is merely a facilitator, the one who knows how to punch and kick. It is the students that create the essence of a dojo. A sensei with no students is not a sensei at all, but a student without a sensei is a still a student, one seeking guidance.
Potomac Kempo opened its first dojo on July 7th, 2003. On that day, we had no students and no essence. Each day takes us further from that day and closer to where we are headed. Today only gives a vague impression of where that might be. Those impressions, however, leave me optimistic.
I see students spending time before and after class getting to know their fellow students, exchanging views of Kempo and their reasons for studying it. I see students helping other students to learn; adults helping the kids’ class and students — adults and kids both — helping their peers. I see students helping to make the dojo a place that we can all be proud of, cleaning up after themselves, and helping their classmates who haven’t figured it out yet . . . I keenly remember one student with a light in his eye saying to me, “I finally realized, this is my dojo.”
Remember, it is your dojo.
Master Chris Santillo
Please follow us on. . . . . . thank you!