The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate


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Gichin Funakoshi, “the father of karate,” once said that “the ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.” To support this life-long stance and offer guidance to future practitioners, he penned his now legendary twenty principles. While the principles have circulated for years, a translation of the accompanying commentary has never found its way into publication–until now. Master Funakoshi’s approach stresses spiritual considerations and mental agility over brute strength and technique. Practitioners should not rely on technique alone–striking, kicking, blocking–but must nurture the spiritual aspects of their practice as well. Attend to yourself and the rest will follow, was the message he set for posterity over sixty years ago. As axioms, Funakoshi’s principles are open to various interpretations. “There is no first attack in karate” has occasioned endless discussion about its true meaning. Many of these ambiguities are clarified in the commentary, which is also filled with philosophical musings, fascinating historical episodes, and advice for anyone seeking a better Way. Translated for the first time into English by John Teramoto, a karate practitioner himself, and accompanied by original calligraphy, this long-awaited treatise is a provocative read and, for martial arts enthusiasts, a long overdue godsend-128pgs harback

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Gichin Funakoshi