Rising Sun & the Circle of   Enlightenment        Shotokan Karate Union


enso Shotokan Karate Union www.shotokankarateunion.comThe Shotokan Karate Union emblem is a combination of two elements, the rising sun and enso. Enso is not a standard Japanese Kanji character. It is more of a symbol. In this application it is to be considered a spiritual symbol, as it is associated with Japanese Zen Buddhism. Some refer toenso kanji Shotokan Karate Union www.shotokankarateunion.com Enso as "The Circle of Enlightenment". While others refer to it as, “the Infinity Circle". Enso, symbolizes, strength, enlightenment, harmony, elegance, and the universe. The literal meanings of the two Kanji used to write Enso can be read as "Mutual Circle" or "Circle of Togetherness".

    Enso means, that everything in life completes a circle and when we reach Blackbelt in Shotokan Karate, we don’t add stripes to denote Dan rankings, unlike other styles of Karate. We allow the Blackbelt to naturally return back to white again reminding us from where we came and as it fades we are therefore completing the full circle. Many times and from many Masters you will here them say that the continuous study of Kihon and the Heian Katas are highly recommended for Blackbelts. It is our belief that, as we get older and our bodies change, we need to continually study the basics to over come the new challenges that face us everyday. That is why we refer to Enso as "The Circle of Enlightenment" as it represents our continual study and commitment everyday in the pursuit of personal growth and technical excellence. The word for Sun also means day. 

sun kanji Shotokan Karate Union www.shotokankarateunion.comThis character is also the first Kanji for the word Japan, "The land of the rising sun". In Japanese, the Kanji has several possible pronunciations; and it is therefore, dependant upon the context in which it is being combined with other Kanji.

The Shotokan Karate Union uses the rising sun as it is used in the national flag,kyoku jutsu kanji Shotokan Karate Union www.shotokankarateunion.com Nisshōki or Hinomaru. This way we acknowledge the heritage of Japanese Karate. We also use it to refer to the principle of the organisation, “with every new sunrise comes a new day and a new challenge and with it the circle of enlightenment is achievable if we continue with our diligent studies”. The Kanji used to express the rising sun are Kyoku jitsu also known as Asahi.

SKU logo "The circle of enlightenment comes with every rising sun." Shotokan Karate Union www.shotokankarateunion.com
So when both elements of the emblem are merged they represent the Shotokan Karate Unions driving principle, as we believe that Shotokan Karate is the study in pursuit of personal growth and technical excellence everyday and therefore, through diligent study we learn something new everyday, even if it may be a new light through an old window.


"The circle of enlightenment comes with every rising sun."

 Satori no wa ga hinode to tomoni yattekuru

SKU motto kanji Shotokan Karate Union www.shotokankarateunion.com

Shinboku no Shakai          & S.K.U. Kanji              

Shotokan Karate Union


The Shotokan Karate Union 松涛館 空手連盟 Shoto-kan Kara-te Renmei, often referred to as the SKU, is an internationally respected society for friendship 親睦の社会 a shinboku no shakai. A society that was founded in Great Britain in 1985 by a coming together of invited individual members from several Shotokan karate groups, including members from the two largest Shotokan karate organisations at that time, as a result the SKU will always remain a strictly non political group. The concept of the friendship society was at the heart of the formation of the SKU, and that is why its members still hold strong to the belief that, “Unity is strength and strength through friendship”. That belief was further expressed and celebrated in the choice of Japanese kanji that represents and defines the word “union” as used in the title of the society, because it features the characters of renmei 連盟 and not rengo 連 合, as they better symbolises the mutually held feelings that were behind the coming together in union of those original invited members. The SKU adheres to and will continue to promote the benefits to be gained from, the alliances that are made, through the coalition of accumulated experiences and the alignment of the various training methodologies of its worldwide members.
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