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Gojuryu international Karatedo Kobudo Union Yuzenkai
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Philosophy of Karate and BUDHIDO   Last update OCTOBER29, 2016

Is Karate related to Bushido(philosophy of Samurai)?

Spirit transcends a body.
The disciplinant who walks on the flame by a barefoot.(at my town)
 The picture 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.

musashi miyamoto
 In a certain meaning,the answer is No. Strictly speaking,Okinawa, birth place of Karate,has been irrelevant to Japanese Bushido not at all. Okinawa and Japan were another Nation until 1879. Okinawa had been Ryukyu kingdom, and a part of the cultural area of south China.
 So, in Karate Dojo in Okinawa,there are no respect to god of 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 searches for Samurai spirit (Busido) in Okinawa Karate Dojo,his wish is never achieved.  The lack of the philosophy in Karate is one of the causes that it has been not able to become an equal member of Japanese martial arts like Kendo,Judo,Kyudo,Iaido,e.t.c. Japanese martial arts value the philosophy more than the technique.

Chojun Miyagi and Gichin Funakoshi's earnest wishes in the 20th first half of the century were to have added Karate-jutsu of Okinawa to the affiliate of Japan 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 thought of Japan Budo.
It is ,so to speak, a nuance of "Odd one out". Therefore, afterwards for a long term, the image of Karate was barbarous lower-rank martial arts luck of the spirit such as Kendo, Judo, Kyudo, and Aikido ,and the technique of a mere street fight.


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

The picture is “Syowa-Gorin-no-Syo”( The modern Book of Five Rings) written by
Mas Oyama . He aimed at the martial artist like Musashi. 
he wrote Gorin-no-Syo as a compilation of his Karate thought. 
This book is composed of five volume.

1. surviving by killing myself

2.      To become a victor of life

3.  What is an immovable, indomitable spirit?

4.      Only the powerful enemy polishes you

5.To arrive toward truely freedom

On the other hand,it is a mistake to judge Okinawa Karate to be inferior in value.
Okinawa Karate has an original philosophy that originates from the Taoism and the culture of Chinese area. But, Okinawa karate's effort to research and introduce about philosophy and educational thought had been insufficient. Only in the decoration of the picture of the deceased and the last instructions of great predecessors, it is shallow and narrow .
The reason why I love "Goju-Ryu Karate" is that Gojuryu is philosophical Karate as shown in the sect name. In the next section,I try to explain the Gojuryu Karate philosophy seen in old Okinawan martial arts book "Bubishi" . After that, the Karate-Bushido philosophy of the present age of Japan will be discussed .

 Then,I feel one anxiety. Recently, there are any Karate-ka who interpret technique of Kata by theories of traditional Japanese martial arts technique such as Daito-Ryu Aiki-jutsu ,Hakkou-Ryu jujustu,etc. Their acts have danger that causes future generations a 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.  


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

Many of the 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 Kanru.  The Uechi -Ryu is an initiator’s family name itself.   

But the Goju-ryu originates in the proverb "法は剛柔を呑吐す" (HOU wa GO-JU o dondo su) in the“eight principles about Kempou” recorded in the ancient military book “Bubushi” in old Okinawa.  What are the meanings of the HOU(法), the GOU(剛), and JU(柔)  The HOU(法) is a metaphysical concept meaning Truth, Existence, Transcendence, etc.  The Hou(法) is often expressed by the word the TAO(道).  Laozi(老子), who was an ancient Chinese philosopher, explained TAO(道) the following way:  Any TAO does nothing.  However, TAO does everything.  TAO is for instance, a water.  A water does not appeal positively to others voluntarily.  However, everything is supported by a 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.  
The“GO(剛) is suppressed by the “JU(柔)”. We might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way , The“JU(柔)” is cut by the “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 "拳法之大要八句 The Eight Principles of Karate in the “Bubushi.”
(1)人心同天地 "Jin shin wa ten chi to onaji" 

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

gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japan(1)→The human psyche and body are the same as the movement of nature. 
The stream of blood is influenced by the motions of the sun and moon. 

We Karate-ka exist in “nature-tenchi-tao.”  We should aim at knowing “nature-tenchi-tao.”  Oure aim is to achieve a stable mind and body that is integrated naturally.  The final stage of Karate is the final stage of “Zen.”  This stage is called “mu-shizen(無為自然)” in oriental philosophy.  “Karate” is a way of life. 

gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japan“Vital point” for kill without fail changes over time and is in the angle that it is important as follows.

The blood stream is concentrated on a vital point “chomon” at 2:00AM-4:00AM when I strongly attack the enemy’s peculiar vital point at this time.  He gets the trouble aorta abdominals, the large thigh nerve and the cranial nerve.  He will have the likelihood of dying in 14 days.

gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japan
(3)法剛柔呑吐 "hou wa go-ju o donto su"

(4)身随時応変 "mi wa zuiji ou hen su"

(3)→The truth unites and has “Hardness” and “Hardness” is wrapped in “Softness.
(4)→ The body and spirit should be able to correspond to both at any time.
gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japan

"Syu-moku wa kuh ni aeba sunawachi hairu"
" shintai wa hakarite rihou su."

“Syu” has the meaning of “attack” and “kuh” has the meaning of “carelessness.
(5)→you should not miss the opportunity when the enemy relaxes his guard momentarily. “Shntai” means movement.
(6)→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.

"me wa shihou o mirukoto o yousu"

"mimi wa yoku happou o choukin su"

(7)→The eyes must see 360 degrees
(8)→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 Sensei, 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 high
stance.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
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
.V Maxims part2 for Karate-ka by Sensei, Wai Shizan (Wang Shijiang) in “Bubishi.”
It will continue next time
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