雑巾掛け
Zōkin gake
Cleaning the floors

 

Nakamura Tadashi, Karate: Technique & Spirit

 

One of the traditional practices from ancient times is that of cleaning the dōjō. Not just cleaning for the sake of being clean, but a practice in which you are also cleansing your heart, feelings, and body through the act of cleaning.

Aikido Heiwa


A dōjō becomes a special place only by the respect that the students as a group, or community, have for it. If everyone believes that it is a place to study and perfect the self, then how could it be kept clean by others? It is our place. We are making a shared commitment to it and to our practice. With a shared commitment comes a shared responsibility, including that for keeping the place spotless. After each class, students together, regardless of rank, wipe the floor down with a rag. This old tradition dates from the earliest times and is maintained in all traditional dōjō. This action, which is functional, is also symbolic of the need to make our egos smaller. No matter what a student does on the outside—doctor, lawyer, businessman—he/she can clean the dōjō alongside the people with whom he/she trains.

Nakamura Tadashi, Karate: Technique & Spirit


After each class the students closest to the door would rush out to get buckets of water and cloths. As many as could grabbed a cloth, dampened it in the water and placed it on the floor. Both hands were placed on the cloth, and with his buttocks high and his body almost in a “push-up” position, the washer ran the width of the dojo, cleaning a foot-wide swath. We raced each other across the dojo in this way, thus strengthening hips, legs and arms, and sometimes crashing into each other, laughing and panting.

This task was never omitted, and nobody was ever ordered or asked to do it. A few, especially Westerners, dodged it, but the teachers and sempai always knew, and although they said nothing, the result of their obeservations would come out in the quality of individual instruction. Slackers, dodgers, and those with poor spirit were ignored on the dojo floor.

C W Nicol, Moving Zen: Karate as a Way to Gentleness

 


If you take it out, put it back. If you eat it, replace it. If you get it dirty, clean it.

These are simple life lessons that we all should have learned when we are pre-teens.

It’s simple etiquette that you clean up. In the army, it’s overkill on the cleaning, but it does humble you,
and it’s a lesson that is worth the time you put into it.

                                                                                                                                                            Tim Jester

 
Homma Gaku on sōji