as it is the clear mirror that reflects without distortion, or the
quiet valley that echoes a sound, so must one who would study Karate-do
purge himself of selfish and evil thoughts, for only with a clear
mind and conscience can he understand that which he receives.
"The Master Text"
is no place in contemporary Karate-do for different schools. Some
instructors, I know, claim to have invented new and unusual kata,
andso they arrogate to themselves the right to be called founders
of "schools". Indeed, I have heard myself and my colleagues referred
to as the Shoto-kan school, but I strongly object to this attempt
at classification. My belief is that all these "schools" should be
amalgamated into one so that Karate-do may pursue and orderly and
useful progress into man's future.
"My Way of Life"
young enthusiasts of karate believe that it can be learned only from
instructors in a dojo, but such men are mere technicians, not true
karateka. There is a Buddhist saying that "any place can be a dojo,"
and that is saying that anyone who wants to follow the way of karate
must never forget. Karate-do is not only the acquisition of certain
defensive skills but also the mastering of the arts of being a good
and honest member of society.
"My Way of Life"
year in the month of April, a great number of new students enroll
in the karate classes of the universities' physical education departments
- most of them, fortunately, with the dual purpose of building up
their spiritual as well as their physical strength. Nonetheless, there
are always some whose only desire is to learn karate so as to make
use of it in a fight. These almost inevitably drop out of the course
before half a year has passed, for it is quite impossible for any
young person whose objective is so foolish to continue very long in
karate. Only those with a higher ideal will find karate interesting
enough to persevere in the rigors it entails. Those who do will find
that the harder they train, the more fascinating the art becomes.
"My Way of Life"
is an art. It must be regarded as such with its entirety of philosophical
thought and development of the mind in harmony with the body. If it
isn't thought of this way it is valueless. It is like eating only
the bitter skin of the apple while leaving the sweet inner meat untasted.
It is this crucial premise that is being overlooked today, and if
the tide is not turned, I must predict the demise of the art.
Now it is the image of Karate in the world which is at stake. The
danger is not in physical violence but in the tendency toward commercialism.
It seems that personal profit has a great power to strip everything
of its inner value.
Funakoshi's ideal, who has come to be recognized as the "Father of
Karate-do", was to advance from jutsu (technique) to do
(the way). It has become my mission to attain this goal, but a question
appears: What is the meaning of "from the technique to the way?" Through
what type of training can you attain this ideal?
Karate-jutsu or Karate-do? The difference between both must be very
well understood. Karate-jutsu can be considered as nothing other
than a technique for homicide, and this is vey emphatically, not
the objective of Karate-do. Those who want to follow the way of
the true Karate must not only coexist with their opponent but attain
unity with him. Their is no question with respect to homicide, neither
should there be placed any emphasis in winning. When you practice
Karate-do, what is most important is to be one with your opponent,
move together and to progress together.
That Karate has come to be identified in the eyes of the public
as a "homicide art" is very sad and unfortunate. It is not. It is
a self defence art, but to attain benefits, the participant must
be completely free of egoistic feelings.
The Heart of Karate-do
as its practiced today is very different from how it was practiced
40 years ago, and the number of styles, is said to be close to 100.
Many schools send instructors abroad to propagate their respective
techniques. Even though it can be said that there exist certain groups
in America and Europe that, with the object of comprehending the soul
of Orient in mind, as a method to counteract the impasse that is the
result of the materialistic civilization, put emphasis on the spiritual
side of karate, the sad truth is that many styles only teach the art
of combat and forget about the spiritual aspects. And the participants
themselves who offer lip service to the spirit of the art, have as
their real goals the winning of tournaments and competitions.
At the present moment, most of the karate followers in foreign countries
follow it for it's combat techniques and one has to admit that the
tendency to fight is no less common among humans than in other animals.
It is very doubtful that these participants have attained a complete
understanding of Karate-do.
Gichin Funakoshi advocated the spiritual aspects of Karate-do and
placed much more emphasis in this than on the combat techniques.
Moreover, he always practiced what he preached. If he were alive
today and saw what is happening to Karate-do today, what would he
think? We who strictly follow orthodox karate as a self defence
art must do all we can within our grasp to asure that it is practiced
in the correct way and that its spiritual side be comprehended as
widely as possible.
The Heart of Karate-do
is like philosophy. Everybody has his own opinion. Who is right? Who
is wrong? Nobody can say. Each and everyone must try to attain his/her
goal and show that they have created something in their lifetimes.
polish means to face yourself straight, to recognize your weaknesses,
to eliminate them, and courageously step forward. This action, experience,
and practice is the only way we can improve and free ourselves of
our mental blocks, so that someday we will really be able to express
our strongest, most beautiful energy on the Earth. Then we can happily
leave the Earth. I hope everybody feels this way.
Funakoshi felt that, rather than a great variety of kata, it is more
important to take a limited number and practice them thoroughly and
precisely. This way of thinking can be regarded as basic to the Shotokai.
main thing is to keep pushing oneself, to keep striving to awaken,
by whatever means one has chosen. The difference between the waking
person and the person who is asleep is that the sleepwalker feels
he already is awake; the awakened one is still striving , pushing,
struggling to be awakened.
people stop themselves long before they get close to doing their best.
They think 'Oh, I couldn't do that,' or 'Me? Run 30 miles?
Oh, I could never do that. But they don't have any idea of
their real limits, because they've never pushed themselves. Most
people have never tested themselves to see how long they can go
without food or sleep.
So they set artificial limits. They're afraid of things that really
wouldn't defeat them. They're ruled by fear, and their entire lives
are inhibited that way.
must be completely attentive..., always, at every instant.
The same thing is true in our everyday lives. Some people think
about nothing but money because it is supposed to satisfy your every
desire, so for money they lose their honor. Other people want "honors",
and for them they lose their money. Some people have their minds
fixed on love and for that they lose both money and energy. And
yet happiness is never on just one side.
We must create our lives, free ourselves, become detached, simply
attentive to here and now: everything lies in that.
moon's reflection on the surface of the water moves incessantly.
Yet the moon shines and goes no-where; it stays but it moves." A
very short poem on the secret of Zen and the martial arts, and also
a great koan.
The stream never flows backward. The water slips past, past, past...
but the moon doesn't move. In a contest the mind must be like the
moon, while the body and time slip past, past, past like the water
in the stream.
"The Zen Way to the Martial Arts"
a basic or beginner's training session - just as in a marathon session
- the most important objective is to get control of their concentration.
Most people go through practice and training just stepping through
their moves and all of this junk is going through their minds as they
block, reverse punch and so forth. They're not in control of their
mind - they're letting all of the external stimuli be in control.
How you focus on and execute the most basic drills in the dojo is
very important. Just as in long-distance sessions, you must focus
and concentrate, and then really work hard on keeping that concentration.
It sounds simple but it's actually very tough.