Preface to Karate-do Kyohan

Master Gichin Funakoshi

 

Twenty years have passed since publication of the first edition of Karate-do Kyohan: The Master Text. I recall with some feeling publication in 1922 of the earliest book, Ryukyu Kempo: Karate, and subsequent publication of the second, Rentan Gosshin Karate-jitsu, which went to several editions. The honor afforded by the reading of the second book by the emperor and members of the imperial family was a source of deep gratification and humility to me. Then, after more than ten years of further training and experience, and about two years of review and correction of incomplete parts of Karate-jitsu, I published Karate-do Kyohan: The Master Text. The joy I felt at the appearance of this book remains as real to me as if its publication had occurred yesterday.
As a result of the social disorder that followed the end of World War II, the karate world was dispersed, as were many other things. Quite apart from a decline in the level of technique during these times, I cannot deny that there were moments at which I came to be painfully aware of the almost unrecognizable spiritual state to which the karate world had come from that that had prevailed at the time I had first introduced and begun the teaching of karate. Although one might claim that such changes are only the natural result of the expansion of Karate-do, it is not evident that one should view such a result with rejoicing rather than with some misgiving.
It is, therefore, with mixed feelings of joy and remorse that I have watched and tried to provide a better direction to the course of the world of karate, and I am at a loss to estimate the influence I might yet exert upon its strongly flowing course. In any case, being now close to ninety years of age, it is not for me to speculate on the futute. For several years, I have thought about the necessity of republishing this book. Recently, in attempting to locate a copy of the first edition in the large number of secondhand bookstores in the Kanda district of Tokyo, I was surprised at its scarcity and high price. Moreover, I have had many requests for a new edition from my students and am now convinced that there is still use for such a book among those who seek it. In approaching the writing of the new book, unlike my feelings before, I have been shocked by the profundity of Karate-do to the point that even I at times have hesitated, and as a result the writing has extended itself over the past three years.
Nevertheless, I have appreciated that if these profound aspects of karate are not set forth at some level now, they may never be built upon in the future, and it is with this recognition and with utmost humility that I provide this second edition.
To my students and to all others who devote their time to karate, may I express the hope that you will understand my earnest wish in this and will yourselves supplement this work; thus will the objective of the work be fulfilled.

GICHIN FUNAKOSHI
Tokyo October 13, 1956


BACK TO THE SHOTOKAI KARATE-DO ENCYCLOPEDIA

Posthumous Note to the Second Karate-do Kyohan Edition

Maxims for the Karate Student, by Master Funakoshi

What is Karate?

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