by Naruo Toda
Read other essays by Naruo Toda
The "Dojo" is a room for a practicing martial arts. This room is a Japanese traditional building.
The Dojo's appearance is similar to a shed. This is not big room. It's almost entirely made of wood. The Dojo especially doesn't change when different seasons come. There are a lot of swords inside that building. It looks like a ninja house. There are also some hanging scrolls in the Dojo. These are very beautiful and feel great. Usually some hanging scroll was written by a master of martial arts.
The Dojo smells like tatami very well. It's like the smell of a tree or grass. Inside, the Dojo is very quiet all the time, because we can't say anything when we are in the Dojo. We practice not making any sounds, so the Dojo is always quiet. This is one part of our training.
Sacred Shinto is very deeply related to the Dojo. Shinto is the natural indigenous religion of Japan. Shinto gods, or kami, are worshipped at shrines (jinja). All natural objects and phenomena used to be considered as having kami. Our Dojo has a kami dana or "God's shelf". We pray toward that shelf before practicing martial arts. This ceremony is very important among Bushi.
The dojo is always clean, and there are many ki inside there. Ki is like a force that no one can see, but some people can feel that force. The Dojo has many meanings inside the room, but it's difficult for me to explain about that. If I can learn English more, I'll explain about that.
I can relax when I am in the Dojo. Maybe I feel that this room is very quiet and sacred.