July 2020 Newsletter: Welcome to the Dojo

July 2020 Newsletter:  Welcome to the Dojo

July 2020 Newsletter

What is a Dojo?

During the period that Bruce Lee ran his schools, he used the English term “Institute” for his establishments.

Institute brings with it connotations of higher learning, and with Bruce Lee’s emphasis on philosophy from the start, you can see why he might have selected this term.

The undercurrents of Zen and Daoist philosophy, along with Christian thinkers, Western secular philosophers, and others are present in every class at Maryland Jeet Kune Do, so Institute can and certainly does apply to us.

The Chinese characters on his signage were 國術館, gwokseutgun.

That roughly translates as a building for the national arts, in context, the Chinese martial arts.

Especially in the early period, Bruce Lee wrote about how he wanted to share Chinese culture with the world, in order to help combat racism, so you can see why he might have used those terms to describe what he was doing.

The first two characters, Gwokseut, are pronounced guoshu in Mandarin, the same term used in the Chinese boxing competitions that we enter every year, and so that term could apply to us as well.

Guro Dan Inosanto referred to his first school after Bruce Lee passed as the Kali Academy, now the world famous Inosanto Academy.

Like Institute, Academy carries with it a sense of high learning at an elite establishment, especially a martial one.

The colleges that take young men and women and form them into officers in the United States military are called academies.

All of the terms can and certainly do apply to Maryland Jeet Kune Do.

So why do we call our space “the Dojo”?

Dojo is a Japanese term, and much of the vocabulary in Jeet Kune Do stems from Bruce Lee’s Cantonese background.

So why use it?

While Bruce Lee’s film characters often fought against Japanese adversaries, in real life, he was friends with many Japanese martial artists, perhaps most notably one his chief students, Taky Kimura.

In addition, in his writings, Bruce Lee chose to refer to the philosophical influence of Zen, rather than using the Mandarin Chinese term Chan or the Cantonese Sim for the same philosophy.

Do, as you hopefully already know, means “Way”, as in the Cantonese name Jeet Kune Do, the Way of the Intercepting Fist.

It is pronounced the same in Japanese and Korean.

Jo means open space or venue, a place.

So a dojo is a place for following the Way.

Wikipedia defines a dojo as “a hall or place for immersive learning or meditation”.

We could probably stop there, as that is at a cursory glance the best summation for method and practice of Maryland Jeet Kune.

Dojo were often originally attached to or subordinate to a Buddhist temple, and were places for learning various arts, including martial ones, as meditative practices.

When I resided at Gakhwang Temple, we used the equivalent Korean term, dojang, to refer to the room where we would meditate and practice martial arts, so you may occasionally here me slip back into that phrasing.

It also is the term used to refer to a Korean martial arts school.

We could also use the Cantonese transliteration of the same characters, and refer to our doceong.

However, in the interest of keeping it simple, and the ubiquity of the term in American culture these days, we will simply stick with dojo.

Regardless of which language or term we use, a dojo is a special place, and is treated as such by people who practice there.

You can see this in the etiquette and behavior of its members as they care for and maintain the space.

It is the place we come together to practice martial arts and meditation as one, where we learn to become better people by helping others improve their skills, and where we learn that no matter what our backgrounds are, together, we are One Family.

Welcome to the Maryland Jeet Kune Dojo.

Coming Events

July 4th - 17:76 Sparring Workout

July 11th - Family Self-Defense & Focus Mitt Workshop

July 31st - Chinese Boxing Workshop

August 21st - Youth Nunchaku Workshop

August 29th - Adult Sinawali Karenza Test

September 24th - Youth Belt Examination

September 26th - Paintball Day

Special Offer

This month, family members of current active students of Maryland Jeet Kune Do can train absolutely for free, until July 31st.  Speak to Sifu JB before or after class to reserve a spot for your family member.



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