magokoro = sincerity

Sincerity is the second of the five words/phrases that we use to guide our behavior inside and outside of the Dojo.  What do we mean by this word in the context of Martial Arts and our personal lives?

Merriam-Webster defines sincerity as the quality or state of being sincere:  honesty of mind :  freedom from hypocrisy

The Japanese for sincerity is magokoro.  This is “true heart”, which is usually translated as “sincerity, pure heart, uprightness.”

Honesty of mind and freedom from hypocrisy both suggest an internal landscape that is clear in perspective and valuing Truth.  One in which we seek and acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses. One in which we take steps to uphold the first while addressing the second.

Martial Arts is one of the vehicles that holds at its core this concept of self-reflection, self-honesty, and the effort to self-improve.karate-kick

Do we always succeed? No. Can we always succeed? Probably not. Should we nonetheless be always doing better? Yes.  Why not say “always trying to do better”?  Well, it may or may not be a fine point of philosophy but consider what was so well put by the Jedi Master Yoda.

Do or do not.  There is no try.


To merely “try” includes the expectation of possible defeat. To “Do” is just that.  Do what must be done on whatever field of endeavor, regardless of outcome.  The outcome is not in your hands, only the doing is.

So, how is this related to sincerity in any of the definitions above?  As we train ourselves to acquire a new technique, learn a weapon, push our fitness, struggle with a principle, remove ego, be self-honest, and reflect upon and internalize new thoughts/concepts/understandings, our efforts at honesty of mind and fighting hypocrisy are our sincerity at work.

When we care for our training partners’ improvement as much as our own, when we forego ego and accept our instructors’ criticism, when we work hard to improve ourselves and help others on their path, we are being sincere about our Martial Arts and our lives.

Brian Dillon                         What do You think?  Let us know!

2 thoughts on “Sincerity

  1. Pingback: “Do or do not”
  2. Pingback: Indomitable Spirit

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