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Hojo undo

Okinawan Goju Ryu Hojo Undo (Supplementary Exercises)

Kanryo Higashionna’s advice for using supplementary equipment in Karate (From Shoshin Nagamine Sensei’s book Tales of Okinawa’s Great Masters)

The following training advice has been passed down from Higashionna Kanryo:

  1. The results of one’s efforts are cumulative: never rush or show off.
  2. Train in accordance with your ability
  3. Repeat each exercise until exhaustion and build intensity gradually.

Nigiri Gami (Clay Gripping Jars)

The Makiwara (punching board)

The chi-shi, also known as chikaraishi, consists of a concrete weight attached to an end of a wooden handle (similar to a lollipop).Chi-shi training is extremely vital to Okinawa Karate-Doh Goju Ryu. It should be used side by side with the practice of Sanchin and Tensho Kata. Correct use of the chi-shi will improve muscle tone, strength in the fingers, hands, arms and chest (amongst many other parts of the body), however these are only the external benefits. The ligaments and cartilage of the wrist, elbows and shoulder joints will also benefit from this form of training.

Kami (Jar) In Okinawa they have many types of jars. There are jars for sake there are jars for money; there are jars for water etc. Each jar can have a different shape. In Sanchin Kata we do a technique called double nukite (spearhand) strike. When you are doing this technique you can visualise your arms around a kami (jar), like what is demonstrated in this picture

Makiage Kigu: the training with this hojo undo equipment helps in the development and strengthening of the grip and wrist. The practice with makiage kigu is also a good supplemental exercise to develop the forearms.

Nigiri Gami

hojo-undo-nigiri-gami

Makiwara

hojo-undo-makiwara

Chi Ishi

hojo-undo-chi-ishi

Kami

hojo-undo-kami

Makiage Kigu

hojo-undo-makiage-kigu

Kongoken

hojo-undo-kongoken-01

Goju-Ryu katas

Gekisai Dai Ichi – 撃砕第一

Rip and Tear I or Turning Disadvantage into Advantage Ikata-gekisai-dai-ichi

This kata was developed and introduced in the 1940’s by Miyagi Chojun O’Sensei. It’s intention was to popularize Karate-Doh to the general public and help establish a curriculum for school children. It contains powerful, basic movements that are quite easy to interpret and learn, however many of the techniques have multiple applications. Most the movements are done with a closed fist and with full power.

Gekisai Dai Ni – 撃砕第二

kata-gekisai-dai-niRip and Tear II or Turning Disadvantage into Advantage II

The format of this kata is very similar to Gekisai dai Ichi, however some advanced techniques and timing are included. Kake uke (open hand hooking block), mawashi uke (circular block) and neko ashi dachi (cat foot stance) are the additional techniques in the kata. In Gekisai dai Ichi full power and speed was utilized however, in Gekisai dai Ni the concept of ‘muchimi’ (a heavy, sticking but flowing action) is introduced in the kake and mawashi uke’s. ‘Muchimi’ requires stances with a lower centre of gravity, hence neko ashi dachi!

Sanchin Ichi – 三戦一 (Miyagi Sanchin)

kata-sanchin-ichiSanchin Ichi translates as “3 Battles One” or “3 Conflicts One”. This kata was developed by Miyagi Chojun O’Sensei because he perceived Sanchin Ni, the original Sanchin kata he learned from Higaonna Sensei, was too long for beginners. As stated above, Sanchin Ni was determined to be too difficult for beginners to perform, therefore Sanchin Ichi was developed, leaving Sanchin Ni to be taught at a brown and black belt level. Brown and Black belts should do their own personal training using Sanchin Ichi and Sanchin Ni. Sanchin Ichi has all the same movements as Sanchin Ni but is shorter and no turns hence making it a little easier.

The Sanchin kata are the basis of the Goju-Ryu Karate system. All other kata are based on the Sanchin forms. The principals of the Goju-Ryu Karate are all encompassed within these kata. The Grand Masters in Okinawa have explained that in the olden days Goju-Ryu or Nata-te karateka would learn the Sanchin Kata and only one other Kata, based on that persons body type, therefore you would only two katas. Today we are very lucky to be able to learn the whole system, however we must remember Sanchin Kata was and still is an very important kata.

Saifa – 砕破

kata-saifaCrush and Tear or Smash and Tear

Saifa kata introduces tai sabaki (body evasion) and open handed palm-heel blocks and strikes (haito uchi). It mixes swift, light stances (neko ashi dachi & sagi ashi dachi) with solid, grounding stances (shiko dachi). Saifa contains a vast number of techniques like hammer fist strike (tettsui uchi), back fist (ura uchi), morote tsuki (double fist punch), ashi barai (foot sweep), haito uchi (ridge hand strike) etc, etc.

Seiunchin – 制引戦

kata-seiunchinTo Travel Far and Conquer or To Attack and Pull into Battle

Seiyunchin is a long and strength-sapping kata. It contains pulling and gripping techniques, throws, hidden techniques and requires a strong upper and lower body, good breath control and lots of stamina. There are NO kicks in this kata!! This kata is most performed at tournaments throughout the world. The techniques are well suited for practical, close-in fighting.

Sanchin Dai Ni – 三戦第二

Higashionna Sanchin

Sanchin Ni translates as “3 Battles Two” or “3 Conflicts Two”.  This has many meanings.  First it refers to the struggle to control the body under physical fatigue.  With fatigue the mind begins to lose focus and thus the spirit begins to diminsh as well.  Therefore Sanchin develops discipline, determination, focus, perserverance and other mental attributes.   The Chinese refer to this as Shen (spirit), Shin (mind) and Li (body).  Another possible interpretation refers to the “Three Burners” of the body as decribed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
One of two “heishu ” Kata of Goju-Ryu, Sanchin is probably the most misunderstood Kata in all of Karate.  In contrast, it is probably the single most valuable training exercise in Goju-Ryu.  Like the other Kata of Goju-Ryu, Sanchin (Samm Chien in Chinese) can be found in several Chinese arts, particulary the southern styles including four styles of Crane Boxing, Dragon Boxing, Tiger Boxing, Lion Boxing, Dog or Ground Boxing and Monk Fist.  Sanchin has such aspects as deep, diaphramatic breathing found in many internal arts as well as external attributes like mechanical alignment and muscular strength.  Because many martial artists have little or no understanding of the true history and nature of the Chinese arts from which Okinawan Goju-Ryu has its roots, Sanchin has become little more than an isometric form performed with dangerous tension and improper breathing techniques.

The original Sanchin that Higaonna Sensei learned from RuRuKo (1852-1930) was performed with open hands and with less emphasis on muscle contraction and “energetic” breathing.   With the changes brought about by Emperor Meiji (Meiji Restoration Period 1888-1912), Higaonna Sensei changed the open hands to closed fists as the martial meaning was no longer emphasized.  Later Miyagi Sensei would again alter the Kata in pattern alone which is Sanchin.

Shisochin – 四向戦

kata-shisouchinFour Direction Battle

Again like seiunchin kata, close range techniques are used throughout this kata. Rapid whipping techniques are blended in with those requiring ‘muchimi’. Joint locks and breaks are a feature of Shisochin kata. You can see the Chinese influence in this kata as there are only four (4) closed hand techniques in this kata with all the rest open hand techniques. Hanshi Miyazato would do Shisochin Kata quite often at demonstrations. Much practice is required to master this kata especially to get the focus Hanshi Miyazato had.

Sanseru – 三十六手

kata-sanseruThirty Six Hands

The techniques in this kata seem basic, direct and hard, however there are some unique and advanced, close-in techniques. Joint and knee locks and kicks, low front kicks while moving forward and blocking after turning are techniques that require lots of practice. Slow movements evolve into fast, explosive ones. A feature of this kata is use of koken  (top of wrist) at the end of the kata. This last movement (morote koken uke in shikodachi) is an often misunderstood movement with an array of close-in applications.

Sepai – 十八手

kata-sepaiEighteen Hands

Circular, whipping movements and body evasion (taisabaki), dropping your body to rise up and push your opponent off balance and faints are all found within this kata. There are, as in ALL the other kata, many hidden techniques and movements. Certain hand techniques require a unique use of certain part of the hand eg, performing the gedan furi uchi after swiveling 90 degrees requires the hand to be shaped like it would when one knocks on a door.

Kururunfa – 久留頓破

kata-kururunfaForever Crushing and Breaking

Again the use of taisabaki, joint locking and breaking techniques are prominent within this quick and fast kata. Many open handed techniques could either be interpreted as a joint lock or a block, and depending on the circumstances could be used as both. The use of the hips to aid some hand techniques enhances both the power and effect of the technique.

Sesan – 十三手

kata-sesanThirteen Hands

The opening three Sanchin dachi steps with the morote chudan uke (double middle level block) and chudan gyaku tsuki (reverse stomach punch) appears to be similar to that as in Sanseru kata, BUT, in performance and application they are NOT! This is a powerful, fighting kata with many superb close-in fighting techniques.

Suparinpei – 壱百零八

One Hundred and Eight Hands

The longest of all the Goju Ryu kata, Suparinpei is said to contain all the techniques from all the Goju Ryu kata. Quick blocking and simultaneous striking are found all over this kata. Just like in a fight, you have to pace yourself and your breathing to end off this kata strongly. This kata is also known by it’s original name, Pichurin.

Tensho – 転掌

kata-tenshoRevolution of the Wrist or Revolution of the Heavens or Turning Hands

Tensho kata was created by Miyagi Chojun O’Sensei. Tensho literally means ‘turning hands’. This is the ‘JU’ (softness) of Goju and Miyagi O’Sensei developed this kata from the ‘Rokkishu’ kata of the Fukian White Crane System. The hand movements and breathing require a high level of co-ordination.

Shaolin forms

shaolin-form-bao-leopard

Pao Ying Kune

Leopard form

Leopard teaches agility and strength

Lung Ying Kune

Dragon form

Dragon shows you inner spirit and how to ride the wind

shaolin-form-lung-dragon
shaolin-form-fu-huk-seung

Fu Hok Seung Ying Kune

Tiger crane form

The crane is a form of vitality, endurance, balance and precision counter attacks and lastly

Sha Ying Kune

Snake form

Snake pulls them all together, building chi energy, accuracy, and timing

shaolin-form-sha-snake

Other Forms

  • Tie Tsing Kune (Steel Sinew Fist – Breathing Form)
  • Lunyang (Two door fighting system)
  • Tom Hoi (Two man self-defence drills)
  • Wu Dip Doe (Butterfly Sword Form)
  • Shaolin Beau (Spear Form)
  • Kwan Dao
  • Double Broadsword Form

Kobudo katas

Bo (棒)

Shushi No Kun, is the base kata for the system. This kata is common to most Okinawan kobudo systems, in slightly different iterations. It is said to come from a Chinese expert named Shushi, who came to Okinawa in the early 1800’s and lived in Naha (Fred Lohse, 2008).

Choun No Kun, is said to have been made about 250 years ago by a Tomari warrior named Choun, which means roughly  ending the morning mist. It is also practiced in Yamane Ryu and some Taira linage schools (Fred Lohse, 2008).

Sakugawa No Kun, is also common on Okinawa in various versions, and is said to be named for its creator, Tode Sakugawa, a famous Okinawan martial artist. Matayoshi Shinko learned it from Chinen Yamane. Matayoshi Shinko also taught a second Sakugawa no kon, Ufugushiku no Sakugawa, which is very similar to the main version, and was created by Oshiro Chojo (Fred Lohse, 2008).

Tsuken No Kun (Chikin No Kun), is named for the island it comes from, Tsuken Jima and is said to be over 400 years old. It is also said to have been passed on by Tsuken Oyakata Seisoku, compiled on the island, and to contain reverse techniques and techniques countering a spear. Matayoshi Shinko learned it from Gushikawa Teragua (Fred Lohse, 2008).

Shiishi No Kun, is the last kata formally taught in the system. It is also taught in some Taira lineage schools, and is sometimes called Sueyoshi no kon. It is named for its creator, though a stone reference in the name also refers to the technique of tossing small stones with the feet that is contained in the kata, and is said to be over 300 years old. It was supposedly created by Shishi Oyakata, a martial arts instructor to the Ryukyu king, and passed down only to members of the royal family and the eldest son of the Shishi family. Matayoshi Shinko learned it from Shishi Ryoko (Fred Lohse, 2008).

Ufutun-Bo, a village form. Its name refers to a militia, and is said to have been made by a garrison commander at Urasoe castle. It may also have been influenced by local bo dances (Fred Lohse, 2008).  This kata has no hand/grip changes in it and is said to be more realistic for fighting.

Sai (釵)

  • Dai Ichi Sai (Nicho Sai)
  • Dai Ni Sai (Sancho Sai)
  • Shinbaru No Sai (Matayoshi No Sai)

Tunkua (柺)

  • Tunkua Dai Ichi
  • Tunkua Dai Ni (Demonstration Kata)
  • Tunkua Dai San (Dojo Kata)
  • Sendi No Tonkua

Nunchaku (ヌンチャク)

  • Nunchaku Sandan (Matayoshi No Nunchaku)
  • Nunchaku Waza (Junbi Undo for Nunchaku)

Nunchaku waza

  1. Let go of nunchaku with left hand, strike downwards.
  2. Catch it behind the right arm.
  3. Switch sides without letting go.
  4. Switch sides without letting go.
  5. Let go with left hand and strike downwards.
  6. Strike across.
  7. Catch behind the right arm.
  8. Catch behind the left arm.
  9. Catch behind the right arm.
  10. Hold nunchaku with both hands in front of you.
  11. Figure 8 with the right hand and catch under the armpit.
  12. Figure 8 with the left hand and catch under the armpit.
  13. Catch behind the left arm.
  14. Catch behind the right arm.
  15. Hold nunchaku with both hands in front of you.
  16. Hit up high (temple).
  17. Hit up high (mouth).
  18. Hit up high (neck).
  19. Put behind the right arm with out letting go.
  20. Catch behind the back.
  21. Catch behind the back.
  22. Catch behind the left arm.
  23. Catch behind the right arm.
  24. Hold nunchaku with both hands in front of you.
  25. Let go with left hand (strike low) and go out into front stance.
  26. Put and catch nunchaku around the neck.
  27. Remove nunchaku from behind the neck by pulling them over the head.
  28. Hooking movement with both hands – Blocking with string.
  29. Punch forward (with both hands).
  30. End with nunchaku into front of you in side stance.Double butt end strike – KIAI!

Kobudo hojo undo

Bo

  1. “Jodan Uchi” (上段打): Strike to the top of head
  2. “Jodan Naname Uchi” (上段斜め打): Strike to side of head
  3. “Yoko Uchi” (横打): Strike to side of chest
  4. “Gedan Naname Uchi” (下段斜め打): Strike to side of knee
  5. “Kake Uke – Tsuki” (中段掛け受): Middle block in cat stance > Poke in front stance
  6. Chuon no kun block: Jodan naname Uchi > Low sweeping block
  7. Fisherman’s poke
  8. Sand flip
  9. “Osae uke” (抑え受): Pressing block down
  10. Uppercut over reverse leg > Step in with other leg > Thrust
  11. High/low block over front leg
  12. Gather low > Jodan naname Uchi
  13. Jodan naname Uchi > Pull into horse stance > Step foot up and together > Pierce
  14. Reverse baseball strike > High/low block > Jodan naname Uchi
  15. Reverse grab and high/low block > Scoop and sweep > Step > Jodan naname Uchi
  16. Jodan naname Uchi > Up > Down > Side > Jodan naname Uchi

Sai

  1. High block-side of neck strike
  2. High block-start w/ left foot
  3. Seiken-punch with blunt end of sai
  4. Middle trapping block
  5. Low block-extended
  6. Gathered low block
  7. Punch-hj #-hj #6
  8. Punch-low extended strike-poke-hj #6
  9. Punch-middle block-low block-back fist to wrist-hj #6
  10. Hj #3-hj #4-vertical hammerfist to wrist-circle like naname to wrist-hj #6

Tonfa

  1. Back fist to side of head
  2. High block-start w/ left foot
  3. Seiken-punch with blunt end of tonfa
  4. Seiken-flip tonfa out-poke with extended end of tonfa
  5. Low block-extended
  6. Gathered low block
  7. Uppercut-downward strike
  8. Punch-downward strike-over the top strike
  9. Punch-strike to side of head-over the top strike
  10. Punch-Figure 8

Nunchaku

  1. Jodan uke-strike to side of head-over shoulder catch
  2. Uppercut-catch w/ opposite hand-l foot
  3. Ju-side strike-side strike-down-ju-ju
  4. Poke-horse to FLS
  5. Punch-lunge hand on 45 deg angle
  6. Eye smashing technique (dart throw w/ upper hand)
  7. Down block in crane stance-45 deg angle
  8. drop on back knee-side strike-rise and upper cut-down-ju-ju
  9. Middle block crossed w/ reverse leg on top
  10. Jodan uke-45 deg angle

Chinese vocabulary

Chinese Name English Translation
Yut One
Yee Two
Sam Three
Say Four
Um Five
Lok Six
Chat Seven
Bat Eight
Gal Nine
Sup Ten
Sandah/Sanshou Full contact fighting
Kwoon Training Hall
Tongsan Uniform
Kune Fa Fist Law
Hung Sao Doh Empty Handed Way
Sihing Senior
Sitze Senior (feminine form)
Sifu Teacher or Father
Sigung Master
Sijo Grand Master
Sipa Your Sifu’s Sihing (i.e. Your father’s elder brother.)
Ma Bu Horse Stance
Shi Bu Cat Stance
Kom Bu Bow and Arrow Stance
Yu-Bay! Ready!
Gin Lai Salute
Bai Jong Ready Position
Kwoon School or Academy
Si-jo Founder of System
Si-gung Your Instructor’s Instructor
Si-fu Your Instructor
Si-hing Your senior, older brother
Si-dai Your junior or younger brother
Si-bak Instructor’s senior
Si-sook Instructor’s junior
To-dai Student
Toe-suen Student’s Student
Phon-Sao Trapping Hands
Pak sao Slapping Hand
Lop sao Pulling Hand
Jut sao Jerking Hand
Jao sao Running Hand
Huen sao Circling Hand
Boang sao Deflecting Hand (elbow up)
Fook sao Horizontal Deflecting Arm
Maun sao Inquisitive Hand (Gum Sao)
Gum sao Covering, Pressing Hand, Forearm
Tan sao Palm Up Deflecting Hand
Ha pak Low Slap
Ouy ha pak Outside Low Slap Cover
Loy ha pak Inside Low Slap Cover
Ha o’ou sao Low Outside Hooking Hand
Woang pak High Cross Slap
Goang sao Low Outer Wrist Block
Ha da Low Hit
Jung da Middle Hit
Go da High Hit
Bil-Jee Thrusting fingers (finger jab)
Jik chung choi Straight Blast (Battle Punch)
Chung choi Vertical Fist
Gua choi Back Fist
Ping choi Horizontal Fist
Chop choi Knuckle Fist
Saat Knee
Jang Elbow
Kow Tao Head Butt
No’ou tek Hook Kick (Roundhouse Kick)
Juk tek Side Kick
Hou tek Back Kick
Hou juk tek Back-Side Kick
Juen tek Spin Kick
Dum tek Foot Stomp
Gua tek Inverted Hook Kick
Jeet Tek Stop Kick
Jik tek Straight Kick
So tek Sweeping Kick
Chi sao Sticky Hands Excercise
Tan sao Palm Up Deflecting Hand

Japanese vocabulary

Guide to Japanese Pronunciation

Although the Karate terminology is in Japanese, it is very easy to pronounce if you follow a few simple rules:

In the case of vowels, that is the letters a, e, i, o, u, pronounce them in the following manner (this is the only way they are ever pronounced):

  • pronounce “a” like the “a” in the word “at”
  • pronounce “e” like the “e” in the word “egg”
  • pronounce “i” like the “e” in the word “be”
  • pronounce “o” like in the word “awe”
  • pronounce “u” like the “o” in the word “do”

In the case of the double vowel “ei”, its pronunciation has no equivalent in standard English, but is to be pronounced as the “ay” is pronounced in words like “nay” in the Yorkshire dialect

In the case of the letter “y”, it is never pronounced like the letter “i” as it is often in English in words like “cry”, but always pronounced like the “y” in the word “yes”

In the case of the letter “g”, it can be pronounced like the letter “g” in “go” and also like the “ng” in the words “bring”, “king” and “sing”, but never pronounced like the “g” in the word “gentle”. With the exception of the words “gedan”, “geta” “go”, “gohon” and “gyaku”, the “g” will be pronounced like “ng”.

The other letters in the Karate terminology are pronounced as they are in English.

Glossary of Japanese Words

The following is a table of Japanese words which are commonly used in martial arts, their phonetic pronunciation and the English meaning:

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
Sensei Sen – sei Teacher
Sempai Sem – pai Senior Student
Dojo Do – jo Training Hall
Kiai Kee – ai Yell of Spirit
Hai Hi Yes
Gi Ghee Uniform
Seiza Say – zah Kneel or sit
Rei Ray Bow
Arigato Are – e – ga – toe Thank you
Yasume Ya – sue – may Relax or rest
Yame Ya – may Stop
Mukuso Muk – kuh – so Meditation
Karate Kar – rah – tey Empty Hand
Kumite Coom – i – tay Sparring
Kata Cat – ah Forms
Hidari Ha – dar – ree Left
Migi Mig – ee Right
Shomen-ni Sho – men – nee Front
Jodan Joe – dahn Face level
Chudan Chew – dahn Chest level
Gedan Gay – dahn Low level
Keage Kay – ah – geh Snap
Kekomi Keh – koh – me Thrust
Hajime Hah – ji – me Start
Mawate Ma – wa – teh Turn
Otagai – Ni O – teh – gai – nee Turn and bow

Counting

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
ichi itch one
ni knee two
san san three
shi shee four
go goe five
roku rook – u six
shichi shee – see seven
hachi hach – ee eight
ku ku nine
ju ju ten

Stances – “dachi” (dah – chee) is added at the end of each stance

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
Hachi ji Hah – chee – gee Open-leg (relax)
Heisoku Hay – so – koo Attention
Zenkutsu Zen – kut – sue Front
Kokutsu Koh – kut – sue Back
Kiba Key – bah Horse riding
Sanchin San – chin Hour glass
Shiko Shee – ko Horse riding (45 degrees)
Musubi Moo – sue – bee Attention (45 degrees)
Neko Ashi Nee – ko ash – ee Cat

Blocks – “uke” (U – key) is added at the end of each block

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
Jodan Joe – dahn Face
Soto So – toe Outside to inside
Uchi Oo – chee Inside to outside
Shuto Shoe – toe Knife – hand
Gedan Barai (no uke) Geh – dahn bar – eye Low Block

Punches – “tsuki” (tsue – key) is added at the end of punch

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
Oi Oh – ee Lunge
Gyaka Gya – koo Reverse
Yama Yah – mah U – punch

Strikes – “uchi” (U – chee) is added at the end of strike

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
Shuto Shoe – toe Knife – hand
Tettsui Tet – Tsue Hammer Fist
Empi Em – pee Elbow
Uraken Er – rah – ken Back – fist

Kicks – “geri” (gary) is added at the end of kick

Japanese Word Phonetic Pronunciation English Meaning
Mae Mah – eh Front
Yoko Yoh – koh Side
Mawashi Mah – wah – she Round
Ushiro Oo – she – row Back
Mae – keage Mah – eh kay – ah – geh Front snap
Mae kekomi Mah – eh keh – koh – me Front thrust
Yoko keage Yoh – koh kay – ah – geh Side snap
Yoko kekomi Yoh – koh keh – koh – me Side thrust

Dojo formality & customs

The dojo is a symbolic structure that contains specific meanings. The north side of a dojo is called the Kamiza (上座); it is the most important place in a dojo. Another term used for the north end of a dojo is the Upper Seat. This area is reserved for honoured guests and high-ranking instructors.

The south side of a dojo is called the Shimoza and is also referred to as the Lower seat. This is where the students usually sit. In Japan, there is a saying: There is no teaching from the south. This means the students should not try to instruct or speak to one another during class. It is poor etiquette to speak to one another during training unless it is to instruct by a Sempai. There is no need to discuss what you did, could have done or should have done during class. The south or lower seat is the area identified for training purposes and learning.

dojo-diagram

The East Side of a dojo is referred to as the Joseki or Upper Side. This is where visitors usually sit and watch practice. This is also where the instructor sits if an honoured guest is sitting at the Kamiza. The east is also the direction of the rising sun and is associated with enlightenment. Some dojo in Japan, bow to the east before and after training to symbolize the recognition and honouring of enlightenment.

The West Side of the dojo is referred to as the Shimoseki, or Lower Side. It is usually just a space or area of a dojo without specific meaning other than the fact that the sun sets in the west and the west symbolizes darkness, or the direction the dead take in afterlife.

The above relates to the formality, beliefs, and customs regarding the four sides of a Japanese dojo. However, even in Japan, the Kamiza, and the other symbolism in a dojo are arranged in whatever manner provides the best use of training space.