The concept is simple: if you are using a dojo, equipment, or use any adjacent areas, (yes washrooms) it is your duty and responsibility to ensure that you leave that space clean. It helps people to learn the importance of cleanliness – an important life skill that millions haven’t mastered around the world!
Karate students also view keeping their ‘dojo-clean’ efforts as a part of their life and culture and don’t detest the work. This is poles apart from the student in Western schools and sports facilities, that rely on paid custodians, and do not develop ‘pride of ownership’. After all the dojo is not ‘mine’… it’s ‘ours’. How could you be party to vandalism if you ‘own’ something.
Believe it or not, the action of simple dojo cleaning is also part of spiritual purification. With out doing your bit, you might be overcome by Kegare 穢れ. A person who allows a state of pollution and defilement, is believed to be a kegare-no-hito.
Sanitation and cleanliness are among the humblest of the civic virtues, and it is easy to underestimate their significance in the overall development of a karate student. I would personally add; show me how clean your dojo is… and I can tell how strong your karate is.