Cycle of Four 2024: The January Meditations

Every year, the dojo presents a unique cycle of four meditation+shodo lectures during the first four weeks of January. They set the tone for the rest of the year, exploring purpose, goals, and the tools and tactics necessary to achieve those goals.

Every year for the last eight years, we've presented a unique cycle of four meditation classes every January. Certainly all of our meditation+shodo classes are important and present valuable ideas that help us all improve our karatedō: but these classes are extra-special.

January is a time of reflection on the new year, and a time for appreciating the blank slate that a new year affords us.

But are we ready to take advantage of this opportunity? Are we ready to create a map for our days, months, and the year on this blank slate?

The Cycle of Four classses attempts to answer this question in a resoundingly strong affirmative, and offers tools and thoughts to help make the new year an astounding success.


The first class, to be held on Wednesday, January 10th, focuses on the concept of purpose: why do we live? What is our reason for existing? And how do we define that reason?

In fact, before we even get to the idea of a "purpose" for living, it's important to understand why having such a purpose is a much more powerful and satisfying concept than happiness.

Here's some notes from the 2023 edition of this lecture:

Ikigai — Purpose for Living 生き甲斐
To have a purpose for living is the true measure of a satisfied and rich life; rather than striving for happiness, strive for purpose.

Goals: Strategy

Once we understand what your purpose for existence is, then the question becomes how we fulfill our purpose.

And that leads us to the idea of goals – and the second class in the cycle, to be held on Wednesday, January 17th, focuses solely on defining the idea of goals, and also creates a framework and exercise for specifying our goals over both a short-term and long-term horizon.

Here's some notes from the 2023 edition of the lecture on goals:

Mokuteki — Goals 目的
Goals are the lighthouses of our ambition, guiding our daily actions so that we move towards achieving our ultimate life purposes.

Goals: Tactics

Ah, so now we have both a purpose and goals that support that purpose. But we've actually not accomplished a single thing, have we?

The third class of the cycle, to be held on Wednesday, January 24th, focuses on the real-world tactical level: how to accomplish goals. And not only do we focus on accomplishing goals, but we take a realistic approach that discusses overcoming obstacles, staying focused, and keeping on track with the goals we've set for ourselves.

Putting it All Together

Finally, it's important to synthesize all the tools, techniques, and concepts that the previous three weeks have brought forward. That's the purpose of the last class of the cycle, to be held on Wednesday, January 31st.

Integrating all of the material from the first three weeks is a significant challenge, but we focus on it in this last class because the entire package has to be understood for there to be a realistic and honest chance of success.

Start the Training Year Powerfully

Karatedō offers so much support for defining and achieving success: the Cycle of Four classes are a great way to start the year.

If this is your first time attending these classes, you're in for a treat! And if you've attended some or all of the classes in the Cycle of Four, a refresher on any and all aspects is very empowering.

And finally, while we won't be offering these classes via livestream, special audio editions of each of the classes will be available later in February in the Goju Karate Students section of GOJUKARATE.COM

And don't forget to check out the lecture notes for each class, tied to a specific concept in karatedō – they'll appear at the end of each week in the Karatedō section.