gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japanPhilosophy of Karate last update FEV.18, 2019  HOME
musashi miyamoto
This is “Gorin-no-Syo”( The Book of Five Rings) written bY Miyamoto Musashi" (1584-1645) It is a philosophical book of Musashi, who is known as the number one famous Samurai . Japanese Budo (martial arts) were sublimed as a philosophy because of Musashi. The book is now read by many people including Japanese businessmen and has been translated into many foreign languages.
 
宮本武蔵が空前絶後なのは彼が思想家であり芸術家だったことである。写真は彼の畢生の書「五輪之書」。
 In a certain meaning,the answer is no. Strictly speaking,Okinawa, birth place of Karate,has been irrelevant to Japanese Samrai not at all. Okinawa and Japan were another Nation until 1879. Okinawa had been Ryukyu kingdom, and strongly infuruenced by Chinese culture. So, in Karate Dojo in Okinawa,there are no respect to god of Japanese Samurai such as Kashima-daimyoujin(鹿島大明神)and Katori-daimyoujin (香取大明神). There is no manner that originates in Confucian ethic.There are no philosophy about the world and the life that originates from Zen(禅). Karate of Okinawa does not have the Zen philosophy that is the basis of Japanese Budo.So,if foreigner who searches the Samurai spirit (Busido) in Okinawa ,his wish is never achieved.  

Hence Karate had been not able to become an equal member of Japanese Budo such as Kendo, Judo, Kyudo, Iaido. One reason is that Japanese martial arts values a philosophy more than a technique.


 
 沖縄は歴史的には日本武士道や侍の文化を共有していない。沖縄が日本国に編入されたのは1879年だからである。だから沖縄の空手道場には日本の伝統的な侍の作法も鹿島大明神や香取大明神の神前もない。もし海外の空手修行者が沖縄空手に武士道精神をも期待して来沖するとしたら、その点については大いに失望するだろう。

 Chojun Miyagi and Gichin Funakoshi's earnest wishes were to have added Karate of Okinawa to the affiliate of Japanese Budo. They persisted in the position in Dai Nippon Butokukai(Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society;1895-1946), and made efforts to the acquisition of the Renshi title and the Kyoshi title. Consequently, they were accomplished. However, Karate shared neither the history nor the philosopy of Japanese Budo.It is ,so to speak, a nuance of "Odd one out". So, afterwards for a long term, the image of Karate was barbarous lower-rank martial arts.

 宮城長順や船越義珍らの悲願は、そうした沖縄土着の唐手術をいかにして日本の武道の一員として認知させるかにあった。彼らは当時のエリートである旧制大学の学生を主な顧客とし、大日本武徳会の錬士や教士の称号の獲得をめざした。それらは達成されたものの、剣道、柔道、弓道など古来の武道とは違う摩訶不思議で野蛮な術というイメージは固着しつづけた。
 そうした沖縄伝来の空手に日本伝統の武士道や侍の精神を注入し、日本武道空手道を確立して、さらに広く世界に啓発した最大の武道家は大山倍達である。大山倍達(1923~1994)は宮本武蔵の思想や禅の哲学をベースに、戦国以来の様々な武術家の思想も総合して日本武道空手道の概念を確立し、膨大な著書と実証で世界へ広く啓発した。大山倍達は、思想家としてもっと評価され研究されるべきである。


  Mas Oyama (1923~1994)who gave the Bushido philosophy and Zen philosophy into Karate,and spreaded it widely. He was Karae-ka who established the concept of Budo Karate. He endeavored to connect Karate of Okinawa with the genealogy of Japanese Bushido. Of course, there were persons who had tried it before and behind him. However, all of their thought were an inside story of their sect. Mas Oyama had deeply understanding on ZEN ,the thought of Musashi Miyamoto and another historical Samurai.He synthesized all of them, and established main philosophy of Budo karate. And, he wrote much books, and enlightened his philosophy to all over the the world. I think that he is the person who should be more evaluated and more researched as great philosopher.
mas oyama

Above picture is “Syowa-Gorin-no-Syo”( The modern Book of Five Rings) written byMas Oyama . He aimed at modern Musashi. So, he wrote Gorin-no-Syo as a compilation of his Karate thought. This book is composed of five volumes.
1. Survive by kill myself
2. What is a victor of life?
3. What is an immovable, indomitable spirit?
4.Only the powerful enemy polishes you
5.Toward truely freedom

On the other hand,it is mistake to judge Okinawa Karate to be inferior in value.Okinawa Karate has an original philosophy that originates from the Taoism ,the culture of Chinese area. But, Okinawa karate's effort to the research this had been insufficient.
The reason I love "Goju-Ryu Karate" is that Gojuryu is philosophical Karate as shown in name it self. In the next section,I try to explain the Gojuryu Karate philosophy seen in old Okinawan martial arts book "Bubishi".

 Then,I feel one anxiety. Recently, there are some Karate-ka who interpret Kata by theory of traditional Japanese martial arts such as Daito-Ryu Aiki-jutsu ,Hakkou-Ryu jujustu,etc. Their acts have danger that causes future generations big misunderstanding. Do not interpret Okinawa Karate by Japanese traditional martial arts theory. Of course, the interpretation of Karate by Chinese martial atraditional technique is effective.  

 沖縄の空手の根底には東シナ海の文化圏が共有する道教や老荘哲学の自然観、身体観がある。日本武道が禅や儒教の「道」(みち)で自らを語るならば、沖縄武術は道教や老荘哲学の「道(タオ)」で自らを語らなくてはならない。

1 About the philosophy in Goju-Ryu karate
剛柔流空手と東洋哲学



 Many Ryu-ha’s names originate from the name of the initiator.  For instance, "the Syoto” is the penname of Funakoshi Gichin.  "The Shitou" is the combination of the initials of two initiators, Itosu Ankou and Higaonna Kanryo.  Uechi -Ryu is the initiator’s family name itself. 

But the name of Goju-ryu originates in the proverb "法は剛柔を呑吐す" (HOU wa GO-JU o dondo su) seen in ancient military book “Bubushi” in old Okinawa.  What is the meaning of the HOU(法), the GOU(剛), and JU(柔)?
The HOU(法) is a metaphysical concept meaning Truth, Existence, Transcendence. The Hou(法) is often expressed by another word "TAO(道)".  Laozi(老子), who was an ancient Chinese philosopher, explained TAO(道) like as follow way. TAO does nothing.  However, TAO does everything.  TAO is like a water. Water does not appeal his voluntarily act to others .  However, everything is supported by water.  This thought is the basis of the view of nature and life in the Orient.  Incidentally, there is incorrect explanation about Goju-ryu that explains “GO(剛)” is a punch and kick and “JU(柔)” is a joint throwing technique. 
 But above memtions are an extremely superficial explanation.  “GO(剛) is suppressed by “JU(柔)”. We might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way , “JU(柔)” is cut by “GO剛.” The ceaseless activity of their own inherent nature makes these stages moments of an organic unity, where they not merely do not contradict one another, but where one is as necessary as the other; and constitutes thereby the truth of Gou-ryu(剛柔流) of the whole.”


Ⅰ The Eight Principles of Karate in the “Bubushi.” 拳法之大要八句

(1)人心同天地 "Jin shin wa ten chi to onaji" 
The human psyche and body are equal to the movement of Nature. 

(2)血脈似日月 "Ketsu-myaku wa nichi-getsu ni nitari" 

Our stream of blood is influenced by the motions of Sun and Moon. 
gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japan
We Karate-ka exist in Nature. We should aim at knowing Nature. Our aim is to achieve a stable mind and body that is integrated naturally. The final stage of Karate is equal to finl stage of Zen.  This stage is called “Mui-Shizen(無為自然;Abandoning artifice and just being oneself” in oriental philosophy.  “Karate” is Reallya way of life. 

gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japan

(3)法剛柔呑吐 "hou wa go-ju o donto su"
Truth breath “Hardness” and “Softness"at the same time.

(4)身随時応変 "mi wa zuiji ou hen su"
Body and Spirit are a case-by-case basis at any time.

(5)手目逢空則入
"Syu-moku wa kuu ni aeba sunawachi hairu"
“Syu” has the meaning of “attack” and “kuh” has the meaning of “carelessness. You should not miss the opportunity when the enemy relaxes his guard momentarily. “Shntai” means movement.

(6)碼進退離
" shintai wa hakarite rihou su."
The importance of the disarrangement of the enemy’s movement by the strategy in offense and defense, it is important to invite the enemy and to disarrange the enemy’s movement.


(7)目要観四向
"me wa shihou o mirukoto o yousu"
The eyes must see 360 degrees

(8)耳能聴八方
"mimi wa yoku happou o choukin su"
The ears must hear the sound from all directions. The person who learns Karate should observe the enemy the same as like looking at a distant mountain.Moreover, the person who learns Karate should turn the view 360 degrees. The ear of the person who learns Karate should hear the sound from the upper and lower front, back, and left and right.

II Maxims for Karate-ka by Wai Shizan (Wang Shijiang) in “Bubishi.

(1) The veritable hero does not show himself to the peopleA truly courageous person is always tender.He never originates abusive words.The person who always devises Karate should not be arrogant.The person does not make light of others true honesty.The veritable hero does not show himself to the people.A true expert is hidden from the people.

(2) Pursue meeting a good friend and talk about the secret together.Karate-ka should receive others in modesty regardless of a trifling thing.It is necessary to talk about the secret together by Karate-ka when meeting a good friend.Moreover, do not associate with a bad Karate-ka.It is because of this that a lot of good relations with people are lost.

(3) Attitude is important when encountering a strong enemy.Do not show fear when coming across a powerful enemy.A true technique goes away if you become by esperate.When the enemy attacks in a straight line, counterattack from the side
by operating in a circle.When the enemy attacks by operating in a circle, attack in a straight line.

(4) Balance and activity of one’s feet.Height of advancement and skillful retreat and posture are important.Attack exists from top and bottom.The change is infinity.Attack it properly like the thunder in a cloud or like the moonlight and
the meteor.Acquire not only hands table but also the movement of the back from experience clearly.Bad power is trained, and the truth is helped.


III  Important Things about Attack and Defense.


1 .First of all, attack enemy’s west if you hope to attack the enemy’s east.
2. Next of all, note the enemy from behind if you hope to attack the enemy from the front.
3. Use the back for soft power.
4. Attack the enemy’s thumb if the enemy grips your.
5. Use feint tactics if you want to defeat the enemy.
6. Invite the enemy to relax his guard if he is knocked down
7. Shoot the enemy with the back of the head if the enemy clings.
8. Attack the enemy’s testicle vital point when the enemy clings.
9. Attack the enemy’s throat if you are bitten by the enemy.
10.Hit the enemy’s face if you head is gripped
11.Attack the enemy’s throat if you are bitten by the enemy
12.Attack the enemy by “nukite” when approached suddenly.
13.Use the kick when the enemy starts moving away.
14.First of all, attack the right when you want to attack the left of enemy.
15.First of all, you must attack the tip of the hand when wanting to step on the enemy’s foot and break it.
16.Move your center of gravity behind when you kick high.
17.You must attack the enemy’s face using “nukite” if your hand is twisted
by the enemy.
18.You must attack using “nukite” when the enemy grips your sleeves.
19.You must attack using “hizageri” if the enemy grips your trousers.
20.Aim punch the moment from which the enemy comes out ahead at a dash.
21.You must think about hanging the enemy’s foot and lifting it up for an
enemy who likes to kick.
22.You must not use the kick when the enemy is taking a low stance.
23.Keep in mind you must bear the in-fighting when the enemy takes a highstance.
24.You must attack the upper part of the enemy who attacks the lower part.
25.Lower and avoid posture during a dash when the enemy comes to grip your
hair
26.Use the joint technique when your throat seems to be gripped by the enemy.
27.You should avoid the enemy’s kick more before and behind and left and right
than to receive it by the arm.
28.It becomes a strong technique if the enemy’s hand and foot can be attacked
simultaneously.

Ⅳ Maxims part2 for Karate-ka by Wai Shinzan (Wang Shijiang) in “Bubishi.”
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