gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japanPhilosophy of Karate last update Nov.28, 2020  HOME
1  About the philosophy in Goju-Ryu karate

 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.”

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 Karate's Kata by theory of classical Japanese Budo such as Judo,Aiki ,Jujustu,etc. Their acts have danger which causes future generations a big misunderstanding. We never not interpret Karate's Kata by Judo,Aiki ,Jujustu.Needless to say,MMA. But of course, the interpretation of Karate by Chinese martial atraditional technique is effective.  


1-1 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" 
Human psyche and body are equal to the movement of heaven and earth.

(2)血脈似日月 "Ketsu-myaku wa nichi-getsu ni nitari"  gojuryu internatinaol karatedo kobudo union yuzenkai japanStream of blood look like the motion of Sun and Moon. 
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. 

(3)法剛柔呑吐 "hou wa go-ju o donto su"
Vomiting of the truth is hardly and softly.

(4)身随時応変 "mi wa zuiji ou hen su"
Body is always flexible.

(5)手目逢空則入 "Syu-moku wa kuu ni aeba sunawachi hairu"
Eyes and techniques never miss a chance.

(6)碼進退離 "Me o motte shintai no ri tosu" Make it the limit a one-yard interval between forward and retreat.

(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.
This passage suggests the superiority of hearing over sight in Budo.

1-2 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.

1-3  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
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.
Japanese martial arts of karate as their long-cherished wish

2 Karate as Japanese martial arts
The long-cherished wish of Funakoshi,Miyagi
and Mas.Oyama

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 Japanese Samurai's God such as Kashima-daimyoujin(鹿島大明神)and Katori-daimyoujin (香取大明神).
picture;a typical Japanese dojo

 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.

 Chojun Miyagi 、Kenwa Mabuni and Gichin Funakoshi's earnest wishes were to have added Okinawan Karate 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.

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