Columbus Shotokan Karate is a member of the Mid-America Karate, Inc. (MAK) which is the regional affiliate of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF), an organization rich in tradition and dedicated to the improvement, advancement and growth of Karate-Do throughout the world. The MAK region includes many clubs like ours in the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The MAK and ISKF are organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

At CSK, our members are dedicated to the pursuit of character building through the traditional rigors of karate as handed down by Gichin Funakoshi. The first of five precepts that our organization teaches worldwide is “Seek perfection of character”. Our members are a friendly and courteous group from various walks of life. We adhere to nurturing concepts toward each other that include safety, responsibility, mentoring and a keen sense of physicality as art.

Dojo Kun

Everyone who trains in karate must know the dojo kun. At the end of each training session—whether it be at the dojo, after class, or after a tournament, which I always call “special training”—the dojo kun is recited by the students as a reminder of why we train. The dojo kun states the basic philosophy of karate, according to its founder and my teacher, Master Gichin Funakoshi. Master Funakoshi believed that, for the true karate-ka, the dojo kun should not only be considered a set of rules of conduct in the dojo, but a guide to everyday life. Everything we learn in the dojo, we should apply to everyday life.

The Dojo Kun is as follows:

  • Hitotsu, Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto - Seek perfection of character

    This is the ultimate goal of karate. The other four principles of the dojo kun, as well as the entire nijyu kun, all tell us what it means to seek perfection of character—how we can go about pursuing this highest objectives. But this is the most important thing. We seek perfection of character from the inside out. It is something we should do every moment of every day of our lives. This means we should never stop learning. Karate training, like life itself, is an ongoing process of growth and personal education, a process that lasts for a lifetime. It is good to set goals, but as soon as we accomplish them, it is important to set our sights on the next goal, to improve. To seek perfection of character is to always seek to improve oneself, to always endeavor to learn and grow.

  • Hitotsu, Makoto no michi o mamoru koto - Be faithful

    To be faithful means to be sincere in everything you do. Here we are talking about making a total effort, all the time, in whatever you do.

    To be faithful of course means that you have to be true to other people, to your obligations—but it also means you have to be true to yourself. And to do so means you have to do your best in everything you do.

    When you are faithful to yourself, others will have faith in you. This creates mutual trust between people. Being faithful to yourself is essential to realizing the first goal of being the best person you can be.

  • Hitotsu, Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto - Endeavor

    Try hard at everything you do. No matter what you are doing, whether it’s training, working, having a relationship—give it one hundred percent. To do anything else is to cheat yourself and others. If you don’t endeavor to do your best, you are not being faithful to yourself and others, and you are not trying to seek perfection of character.

  • Hitotsu, Reigi o omonzuru koto - Respect others

    A true martial artist always shows respect to other people. And it is something you ought to feel in your heart. Showing respect is a sign of humility, and humility is necessary for an open mind, which it turn is necessary to learn, to grow. You can always learn something from every person you meet. Likewise, every person you encounter is a possible opponent of some kind, and that opponent can pose a threat to you, physical or otherwise. In either case, if you respect everyone, you will more clearly see things for what they are, and you will be able to get the most of every experience.

  • Hitotsu, Keki no yu o imashimuru koto - Refrain from violent behavior

    This is a reminder to keep calm inside. Control yourself at all times, from within. Conflict within is a form of violence. It leads to violent actions, which is something you should try to avoid at all costs. A martial artist should always be in control, and that begins with an inner calmness, with peace of mind. If you are forced to defend yourself as a last resort, then it is all right to do so. But you will only be successful defending yourself when you maintain a calm, clear mind, in which case using karate technique to protect yourself will truly be your reaction of last resort.

Niju Kun

Throughout his life Funakoshi, through his karate training, developed a philosophy he believed every Karateka (Karate student) should follow in order to develop one's character to it's fullest potential. This philosophy he molded into twenty precepts which every student should strive to follow. Through these rules one can see how dedicated Funakoshi was to the study of karate and his belief that one could obtain more than the skill of self-defense through hard, diligent training. Funakoshi believed that the philosophy of karate could be carried over into daily life where it was an essential element in developing one's character to it's fullest. This philosophy he transformed in the following rules:

  1. Karate begins and ends with "rei" courtesy.
  2. There does not exist an offensive attitude in karate.
  3. Karate is an aid to justice.
  4. Know yourself first, then you can know others.
  5. Spiritual development is paramount; technical skills are merely a means to an end.
  6. It is necessary to let kokoro (the mind) free.
  7. Misfortune is a result of neglect. Karate training is not only in the dojo.
  8. Karate is lifelong training.
  9. Confront your problems with karate spirit.
  10. Karate is like hot water. If you do not heat it constantly it grows tepid.
  11. Do not think you have to win. Think you do not have to lose.
  12. Mold yourself according to your opponent.
  13. The secret in combat resides in directing it.
  14. Think of your arms and legs as you would sharp swords.
  15. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you. (It is your behavior which will invite or discourage trouble from them.)
  16. Ready position for beginners and natural position for advanced students.
  17. Strive for the perfect kata, real combat is something else.
  18. Do not forget:
    1. Strength and weakness of power.
    2. Slowness and speed of technique.
    3. Expansion and contraction of the body.
  19. Be ready and Devise at all times.
  20. Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way.


  1. Supreme Master Gichin Funakoshi

    We associate ourselves with Shotokan and its practices because it is the philosophy and technique that Gichin Funakoshi developed and because he is directly responsible for creating our organization. Master Funakoshi is a very important person in karate history because he is credited with formally introducing the art to Japan. The existence karate was already well known to the Japanese for many years by this time, but was an illegal activity until 1902. During the first part of the twentieth century, Master Funakoshi was invited to Japan several times, from his home in Okinawa. He was chosen for this honor because of his outstanding reputation as an expert in the art and his professionalism as a teacher.

    These were very formal invitations to demonstrate karate in physical education exhibitions sponsored by the Japanese government. The exhibitions were so successful that he was eventually asked to give a special performance for the emperor and the royal family.

    Master Funakoshi’s performances also drew the attention of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. Master Kano appealed to Master Funakoshi to stay on in Japan and teach karate to the Japanese people. Master Funakoshi eventually did so and opened the first dojo in Tokyo around 1936. He accumulated many students that began to refer to their karate training as shotokan which was meant to honor Master Funakoshi because shoto was his pen-name and kan refers to the dojo hall. After WWII, these students organized the Japan Karate Association with Master Funakoshi as Supreme Master.

  2. Master Masatoshi Nakayama

    Master Masatoshi Nakayama was the most prominent student Master Funakoshi had and was his closest assistant and instructor. Master Funakoshi eventually gave permission to Master Nakayama allowing members of the Allied Occupation Forces to watch and even attend karate training. This was the first step towards the spread of true Shotokan Karate around the world. After Master Funakoshi’s death in 1957 he became the 2nd Chief Instructor of the Japan Karate Association.

  3. Grand Master Teruyuki Okazaki

    Eventually around 1961, Master Nakayama asked the head of the JKA Instructor Trainee Program, Teruyuki Okazaki, to come to the United States and spread the practice of Shotokan Karate. Master Okazaki stayed in the US, and found the International Shotokan Karate Association in 1977. Master Nakayama also sent Master Yutaka Yaguchi 1965 to help with this effort. Master Yaguchi is now the Vice-Chief Instructor of the ISKF and was a mentor to Sensei Greer Golden.

  4. Sensei Greer Golden, Founder - Mid-America ISKF

    Sensei Golden was the founder and the first Chief Instructor of Mid-America ISKF. In 1957, Mr. Golden was on active duty in the Air Force, stationed in Japan. During this time he began training and actually extended his military enlistment for an additional year so he could continue to train in Japan and test for his Shodan, which he received in 1961. After achieving his Shodan, Sensei Golden returned to the United States where he had the fortune to train under Master Yaguchi. In an attempt to further develop karate in America, in 1968 the JKA held its first Instructor Trainee program in the United States. Sensei Golden attended this program full-time, and graduated in 1969. This was the first instructor class to graduate outside of Japan. He was then sent to Athens, Ohio (Ohio University) to begin teaching karate. While in Athens, Sensei Golden began making the trip to Philadelphia to train with Master Okazaki. When the ISKF was formed in 1977 Sensei Golden was appointed the Chief Instructor of the Mid-America Karate Region.

  5. Hiroyoshi Okazaki - ISKF Chairman and Chief Instructor

    Sensei Hiroyoshi Okazaki holds the rank of Kyudan (9th degree black belt). He has been training for over thirty-eight years, having started in the Japan Karate Association headquarters in 1978. He graduated from the ISKF Instructor Training Program in 1995 and is an official ISKF Certified Instructor, Examiner and Judge. Mr. Okazaki has also been appointed as a member of the esteemed ISKF Technical Committee. He participated in Regional, National and World competitions for many years achieving numerous First Place and Best Competitor awards. At the 2015 ISKF International Board of Directors Meeting Mr. Hiroyoshi Okazaki was appointed by Master Teruyuki Okazaki to take his place as Chairman of the International Shotokan Karate Federation and this appointment was unanimously approved by the International Board of Directors.

    At the 2015 ISKF Technical Committee Meeting, Mr. Hiroyoshi Okazaki was also appointed Vice-Chief Instructor of the International Shotokan Karate Federation by Master Yutaka Yaguchi. This appointment was approved by all ISKF Technical Committee Members. Mr. Okazaki is an instructor at ISKF headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, as well as Temple University. He is also Chief Instructor at his club the Okazaki Karate Academy in Palmyra, New Jersey. Mr. Okazaki travels extensively nationally as well as internationally to conduct seminars and exams.

  6. Sensei Martin Vaughan, ISKF President Mid-America ISKF, Chief Instructor, Regional Director

    Sensei Vaughan began training in 1972 with Mr. Golden at the Ohio Univ. karate club. He made shodan in 1974 and nidan in 1977. He was a member of the team, president of the club and an assistant to Mr. Golden during his time there. Also, during this time Sensei Vaughan was a member of the 1st place national collegiate kata team (finishing 2nd by 0.1 to the 1st place team in the national tournament). This team then went on to represent the U.S. (and win 1st place) at the Pan American tournament held at the Olympic Velodrome in Montreal, Canada in 1978. In 1976 Sensei Vaughan placed 2nd in individual kata at the International Goodwill tournament at Master camp. Many times he represented the Mid America region at the National tournament in kata and kumite.

    In 1985 Sensei Vaughan moved to Mississippi and trained with Jerry Kattarwar, Sr. and Mr. Mikami. He placed several times at local and regional competitions and represented the Southern region on several occasions. In 1988 Sensei Vaughan moved to Rochester, NY and eventually began teaching at the ISKF club at the Univ. of Rochester. While at Rochester he trained many shodans and nidans and regional level competitors. In 1990 he joined the instructor trainee program of the ISKF/JKA and was certified as a "D" level judge.

    In the next years Sensei Vaughan was advanced to "C" and "B" level (at the time "B" was the highest , non-Japanese, level and the entry to international tournaments).  Sensei Vaughan is currently an "A" level Judge.  In 1996 he received his "D" instructor certification and in 1997, received his "D" examiner certification, and was promoted to grade “C” instructor and examiner at Master Camp in 2007. He is currently an "A" level instructor and a "B" level examiner.  Sensei Vaughan made sandan in 1990, yondan in 1994, and godan in 1999. Sensei Vaughan passed the rokudan dan exam at Nationals in Alaska (2006) and his shichidan at Nationals in Scottsdale, AZ. (2012). All of his dan rankings were taken with Mr. Okazaki (godan, rokudan, and shichidan were by the national examining board). Sensei Vaughan has served as a judge at many national tournaments, and he has judged internationally at many Shoto World Cups and Pan American Tournaments. He was also the assistant coach to the ISKF junior team at the 2004 Shoto World Cup held near Tokyo Japan.

    He credits Mr. Golden with beginning to teach him how to become an effective instructor and Mr. Okazaki with finishing what Mr. Golden started. Mr. Mikami didn't influence how he teaches as much as he influenced what he taught. He feels very fortunate to had direct contact with these three great karate instructors. Sensei Vaughan has a Ph.D. in Life Sciences/Physiology, was a research scientist with the USDA, Associate Professor of biological sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology and currently a Lecturer in Biology at Indiana Univ. Purdue Univ. Indianapolis. He is an Advanced Physical Fitness Specialist certified by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. He has taught and done research in sport science and physiology. Sensei Vaughan moved back to Mid America in 1999 where he started the Indiana ISKF club in Indianapolis.