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Funakoshi's Twenty Guiding Principles

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Master Gichin Funakoshi - founder of Karate - wrote the following 20 Precepts of Karate which form the foundations of the martial art, based heavily on Bushido and Zen.  They are important for karateka (Karate students) to contemplate:

1.Karate-do begins with Rei and ends with Rei. (Rei means courtesy / respect)

2. There is no first strike in karate.

3. Karate is an aid to justice.

4. First know yourself before attempting to know others.

5. Spirit comes first, technique second.

6. Always be ready to release your mind.

7. Misfortune comes out of laziness accidents arise from negligence.

8. Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.

9. It will take your entire life to learn karate, there is no limit.

10. Put Karate into your everyday life any you will find its subtle secrets.

11. Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.

12. Do not think that you have to win - rather that you do not have to lose.

13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.





14. The outcome of the battle depends on how you handle weakness and strength.

15. Think of your opponents’ hands and feet as swords.

16. When you leave home, think that numerous opponents are waiting for you.

Beginners must master low stances and posture, natural body positions are for advanced students.

18. Practicing Kata is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another.

19. Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body, and slowness and speed of techniques.

20. Always think and devise ways to live the precepts of Karate-do every day.

"The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants" 


Gichin Funakoshi


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