Tips & Tricks to Building a Home Dojo


You hit the gym, you attend martial arts classes, but that just isn't enough for your needs. You want to elevate your training and your dedication to your art form to the next level, and you decide that you'd like to add a dojo to your home. Or maybe you'd like the luxury of working out from home to save some time and money. There are many reasons to build a home dojo, but all share a commonality of purpose: providing martial artists a space where a personal connection can be made with the art formthey wish to immerse themselves and their lives in. In fact, dojo means, "the place of awakening", "the way" and "the path". If you can build this into your home, I say go for it! 

Remember, a dojo is more than just a place to work out. Traditionally, monks used dojos to train and meditate. Many people who have built dojos in their homes have reported that they were able to deepen their appreciation for the martial arts as it became more personal due to it becoming part of their home and everyday life.

A popular Okinawan karate sensei, Shoshin Nagamine, once said,"The dojo is a special place, where guts are fostered and superior human natures are bred through the ecstasy of sweating in hard work. The dojo is a sacred place where the human spirit is polished. Purify your mind and cultivate the power of perseverance by strengthening your body and overcoming the difficulties that arise during training."  

Location, location, location!

First, you will need to designate a specific spot for this vision. Will you transform a portion of the garage, use an extra bedroom, or will you get really bold and creative and build a dojo from scratch in your backyard? The options can be endless with a little ingenuity! Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get started on your new project:  

Flooring is Important

After you choose your location, you will want to decide on a floor for your new dojo. Assuming you'll build your dojo in your garage, most people prefer a soft synthetic material to make your space comfortable and inviting. Yoga mats, the puzzle piece foam blocks both work good. Or you may want to get a large area rug. If your budget permits, and you are taking the plunge for the long run, you may want to invest in some wooden floors.

Mirrors, Mirrors and More Mirrors

It's not a necessity to get wall to wall mirrors, but mirrors are an important part of the dojo as it allows you to view and monitor your technique. A great idea would be to stack full length closet mirrors next to each other. It is cost effective, can make your room look even bigger.

Equipment; new or used!

Purchasing new equipment for your home dojo can be pretty costly. Why not look into gently used? If you search online websites such as you may be able to find some really awesome deals. For a variety of reasons, people often let go of some good stuff. You'll definitely want some sort of fight simulator. If you can't find it used, it may be one of your bigger, but extremely necessary, purchases. Keep it in in your budget, it will be the focal point of your home dojo. Keep in mind, building a dojo at home should not be viewed as a financial expense, in actuality, it is an investment in yourself, in the quality of your life, and in your train.

You may also want to invest in some additional work out equipment for your area if you want it to double as a work out room as well. You can find perfectly good workout products for a fraction of the price of purchasing them new. Someone may not want to lug heavy barbells with them when they move, or another may decide they would rather recoup the money than have the at-home gym equipment sitting there, take up space and collecting dust.

Start Small

Too many people build humongous home gyms with giant expectations of their dream workouts from home. It is recommended to start small, to test the waters, and see if a home dojo is indeed a good match for you. Will you put the time aside? Will you actually use the simulator? Start with a basic setup for practicing forms, kicks and punches and build your way up.

Own Your Space

Personalize your dojo and make it a place that you want to spend time in. It should be someplace you feel comfortable and able to relax and focus. If you are transforming your garage, but it's cold and full of spider webs, my best guess will be that this will not be an enticing spot to hang out in and train. Put up inspirational posters of your favorite MMA fighters, pictures of masters in your art form, add a radio with some nice speakers, and anything else that helps you get into the zone. You may even want to paint it an inviting, clean color.

Many people can benefit from creating a dojo at home, a place that can enhance their lives by boosting their training experiences. A dojo doesn't have to be a sophisticated, free standing structure that takes blueprints, engineers and permit pulling. It can be as simple as having the inspiration to create a special place dedicated to integrating your art form with your life. The way martial art has always been since the beginning.

Comments (1)

  1. Michael Reeves

Great guide, especially with baby sharks

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