Technique or Mind

This is an excerpt taken from a book by Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of shotokan karate entitled, “KARATE-DO KYOHAN.”

“True karate, that is, Karate-do, strives internally to train the mind to develop a clear conscience enabling one to face the world truthfully, while externally developing strength until one may overcome even ferocious wild animals. Mind and technique are to become one in true karate.

Those who follow Karate-do must consider courtesy of prime importance. Without courtesy, the essence of Karate-do is lost. Courtesy must be practiced not only during the karate training period but at all times in one’s daily life. The karate student must humble himself to receive training. The student must always be aware of and receptive to criticism from others; he must be constantly introspective and must readily admit any lack of knowledge, rather than pretending to know what he does not know.

Those who follow Karate-do must never forsake a humble mind and gentle manner. It is the small-minded individual who likes to brag upon acquiring some small skill, and those with little knowledge who carry on as if they were experts are childish. It is because of the large number of false martial artists in the world that the public tends to either ignore the martial artist or to consider him wild. Therefore, many serious martial artists are embarrassed. Students of Karate-do should always keep these points in mind.

Those who follow Karate-do will develop courage and fortitude. These qualities do not have to do with strong actions or with the development of strong techniques as such. Emphasis is placed on development of the mind rather than on techniques.”

If you change the words karate and Karate-do to Aikido or most of the other martial arts this statement has much relevance for today’s martial artists. Also, how we think has much to do with how we live our lives. And this is a process sorely lacking in today’s society.

When is the correct time to change? How do you process change, or more to the point, why should you care what happens around you? Today it seems to be all about “ME,” whereas, the correct messages suggests it should be all about “WE!”

As a martial arts teacher, the message is best demonstrated by living it, not necessarily saying it. And by my observation, saying it should happen more than it does.

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One thought on “Technique or Mind”

  1. I believe the time to change is when one is ready and receptive to change. Even if the intention to change lies dormant, if one is ready to change then it will rise further until it is evident.

    Processing change is important on an introspective level. If there is too much, then it may be too hard to handle all at once. Too little, and the mind stagnates. It is important to process change because if the world around one changes while one does not, opportunities have been missed to improve oneself and therefore the world.

    The message of “We”, of brothers and sisters, of the world as a family is an important one. It is what makes Martial Arts more than a sport, and makes an individual more than an individual.

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