Karate Philosophy and Beliefs
The Dojo-Kun is the oath of the karate-ka. Even today, it is recited at the end of each lesson.
- To Strive For The Perfection Of Character : Hitotsu jikaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto
- To Defend The Path Of Truth : Hitotsu makoto no michi o mamoru koto
- To Foster The Spirit Of Effort : Hitotsu doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto
- To Honour The Principles Of Etiquette : Hitotsu reigi o omonzuru koto
- To Guard Against Impetuous Courage : Hitotsu kekki no imashimuru koto
The word Koto which ends each rule means "thing" and is used as a conjunction between rules.
Shotokan Karate also has another set of training maxims from Funakoshi Gichin, the Niju Kun.
- Karate-do begins and ends with bow : Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto a wasaru na
- There is no first strike in karate : Karate ni sente nashi
- Karate stands on the side of justice : Karate wa, gi no taske
- First know yourself, then know others : Mazu onore o shire, shikashite ta o shire
- Mentality over technique : Gijitsu yori shinjitsu
- The mind must be set free : Kokoro wa hanatan koto o yosu
- Calamity springs from carelessness : Wazawai wa ketai ni seizu
- Karate goes beyond the dojo : Dojo nomino karate to omou na
- Karate is a lifelong pursuit : Karate-do no shugyo wa isssho de aru
- Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty : Ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; sokoni myomi ari
- Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state : Karate wa yu no gotoku taezu netsu o atae zareba motono mizuni kaeru
- Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing : Katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo
- Make adjustments according to your opponent : Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo
- The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength) : Tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari
- Think of hands and feet as swords : Hi to no te-ashi wa ken to omoe
- When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies : Danshi mon o izureba hyakuman no teki ari
- Kamae is for beginners; later, one stands in shizentai : Kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai
- Perform kata exactly; actual combat is another matter : Kata wa tadashiku, jisen wa betsumono
- Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique : Chikara no kyojaku tai no shinshuku waza no kankyu
- Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way : Tsune ni shinen ku fu seyo
- Since karate is a martial art, you must practice with the utmost seriousness from the very beginning
- Try to do exactly as you are taught without complaining or quibbling
- When you are learning a new technique, practice it wholeheartedly until you truly understand it
- Don't pretend to be a great master and don't try to show off your strength
- Remember that you must always have a deep regard for courtesy towards your seniors, and you must be respectful and obedient
- You must ignore the bad and adopt the good
- Think of everyday life as karate training
Rei and Setsu
SETSU is the way to express this concept in action, Those who practice Karatedo must deepen their understanding of the spirit of Rei and, in inter-personal relationships, strictly observe the rules of Setsu.
- Seek perfection of character : Jinkaku kanseini tsutomuro koto
- Be sincere : Makotono michi o mamoru koto
- Put maximum effort into everything you do : Doryokuno seishin o yashinau koto
- Respect others : Reigi o omunzuru koto
- Develop self control : Kekkino you-o imashimuru koto
No matter how you excel in the art of “Ti” (Okinawan precursor to Karate), and in your scholastic endeavors, nothing is more important than your behavior and humanity as observed in daily life.
Junsoku Uekata (Confucian scholar), written in 1683!