The name of our school, Jigoku Dojo, honors the guiding influences of our senior Japanese instructors, and reflects our training philosophy. Jigoku Dojo 地獄道場 translates into “hell” or “inferno” and “place to learn the way.” When joined together they form “the place to learn the way of the inferno.” In order for individuals to grow and persevere throughout life’s conflicts – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, one must acknowledge and overcome obstacles – “to go through hell,” if you will. In feudal Japan , many dojo developed the nick-name “Jigoku Dojo” because of the serious nature of the training. The training is not intended for sport or recreation. There are no trophies or win-loss records. It is a place to convey life and death principles that could save the exponent’s life by any means possible.
The dojo is small and informal – similar to the feudal Japanese martial schools where students receive individualized attention according to their knowledge and abilities. The training is conducted in a supportive, non-competitive atmosphere with an emphasis on growth and awareness in the training. All members train together whenever possible. There is no “caste” system involved in this training. Members treat their seniors with respect and juniors with care. New members are encouraged to ask questions to their seniors, and seniors must insure the safety of their juniors. In Japan, this relationship is called the sempai/kohai (senior/junior) system. Due to the nature of the training, it is necessary that the technique and speed be appropriate for the level of individual practitioners and agreed upon in advance. As the individual practitioner’s abilities and knowledge grow, so does the intensity of training.