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Essays on the True Spirit of Karate


Edited by Dr. Dennis A. Schmidt

Copyright Seikichi Toguchi 1974

Printed in U.S.A. by Shorei-Kan U.S.A. Headquarters, New York


For their efforts and their assistance in making this book, I wish to acknowledge my thanks to: Mr. Toshio Tamano, Dr. Dennis Scmidt, Mr. Ichiro Naito, Mr. Peter Seaton, Miss Sherry Gordon, Mr. Tony Speiseman, Mr. Demetius Demetrakis, Mr. Alex Ramirez, Mr. Stephen Belth and all my other students who devoted their time.

Seikichi Toguchi


PART I: Zen and the Martial Arts

Jyutsu and Do The Means and the Way Shenshin Think About Favor Mochi-Bun The Joy of Life

PART II: Development of Character

Conceit Anger Master Higashionna

Master Nakasone, Master of Tomari-Te Master Miyagi

PART III: The Meaning of Karate Training

The Meaning of Training The Meaning of Kata The Flower of Koryu Kata Can Karate Win Against Guns? The Method of Teaching Karate The Flowers of Shorei-Kan




There is no gate on the way of life that refuses entrance to those who want to pass through. If, you want to go somewhere, take any way, there are thousands and all are equal. If, luckily, you succeed in your goal, the way will disappear and you will become the way. There is no way for your life. You yourself are the way.

These are sayings one often hears repeated by Zen Buddhists. From them one can easily see that the concept of Do or the Way is a complex one. Yet it is equally evident that the Way is simple enough to be found in our everyday life. Today we refer to most of the martial arts as Do, for example, KarateDo. Originally, however, all the martial arts were called Jyutsu. Fencing was Ken-Jyutsu, archery was Kyu-Jyutsu, karate was Karate-Jyutsu, and so

on. After Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodo-Kan and modern Judo, changed the name of Jyu-Jyutsu to Jyu-Do (judo), many of the martial arts followed suit: Thus, Ken-Jyutsu became Ken-do, Kyu-Jyutsu became Kyu-Do and Karate-Jyutsu became Karate-Do. Why this change? To understand, we must understand the difference between the meaning of Jyutsu and Do. Jyutsu refers to skill, the degree or level of skill and technical ability, which only a few people are able to reach in some pursuit after many years of hard and special training. In the old days, Martial artists of all fields tried to reach this technical level of Jyutsu.

Do, on the other hand, goes far beyond this. As mentioned, Do means the way. But this is an allegorical meaning. For this way is the way of life, the road all men must travel to travel to realize their True Selves. In Zen Buddhism the goal of life is Enlightenment and the Do is the way to enlightenment. Enlightenment is also the true goal of the martial arts. Even in the old days, the martial artist strove to perfect his Jyutsu not for the sake of technique itself, but rather as a way to follow the Do and achieve

enlightenment. To make this clearer to the modern world, the martial arts have changed their names from Jyutsu to Do. Thus Karate-Do is the way to enlightenment through the practice of the Karate. Following the Do is easy for anyone, for it is the natural thing for a man to do. To realize our true existence, our true meaning, to be our true selves, we must all follow this way all of our lives. But while it is easy in the sense that it is natural, it is hard in the sense that most of us cannot find it, nor stay on it once we do find it. We are blind to our true selves and to the Do. Finding out the real way demands strong spirit and perseverance. The life of Zen monks is an example of both the simplicity of the way and of its difficulty. In our Karate dojo (place to study the way of Karate) we are very courteous to one another. Once we leave the dojo, however, many of us leave our manners behind us. We are one person in the dojo and another outside. Many students may think that we go to the dojo to study courtesy and manners as well as karate techniques. Surely it is fine to learn these things from Karate. It is better than learning nothing. But this is not the main purpose of studying Karate in the dojo. I am not saying that you do not need to learn courtesy and manners. Indeed, you should know them

before you even come to the dojo. I am saying that in the Karate dojo you should learn something higher than courtesy if you are going to find the way. Karate-Do must pervade your entire life, both within and outside the dojo. You must become one person, one self, and your true self.

You probably think I am asking too much of you. Yes, I am. But that is because I expect all of you Shorei-Kan students to have something good and special in your characters. I am sure you all can achieve it.


After having a good nights sleep, I look up to the clear October sky. I feel as though I am being taken up into the blue morning air and my body and mind feel exhilarated. I spend this time free from the common cares of the world, such as war, politics, and pollution. Even though the moment is short, it is very important to me. We are apt to lose sight of the truth in ourselves who we are because everyday we are busily occupied with the attainment of goals and

the achievement of desires. We therefore need this short moment to come back to ourselves.

One day I went to the home of Master Soseki Ishii, who is the teacher of my calligraphy teacher, Mr. Konikuma. Master Ishii is now ninety-nine years of age and still very healthy. He likes to drink sake and constantly practice his art. He is one of the top calligraphers in modern Japan, writing not for money but for his own pleasure. When I visited him this time he was enjoying his writing as usual. I asked him to write something for me. These are the words you will find at the entrance to the dojo; there are two words Sen-Shin which mean Clean up your mind. The way in which he wrote these words is beyond expression in our own words; they were so beautiful.

I think these words are suitable for the dojo entrance. The most important thing for you to do when stepping onto the dojo floor is to clean up your mind. You must forget about your family, job, social status, school, etc. You must abandon everything you bring with you to the dojo and become as if naked. If you come with many thoughts or diversions, it is not

worthwhile for you to study Karate, even though you may bow to the shrine. You must forget everything else in order to practice Karate hard and systematically. It is the privilege of those who practice in the dojo to have a chance to empty their minds and a place to train their minds and bodies. The more you throw off from your mind, the more you can learn.

It is very important for us, living in this complicated society, to have Sen-Shin to clean up our minds completely. This is necessary not only to passively dissolve our frustrations, but for the re-creation of ourselves. Let us think together on the meaning of Sen-Shin.


When we consider the meaning of the word favor, we immediately tend to think of a relationship between a giver of a favor and the receiver of the favor. We know, for example, that in our society the giving of a favor often creates an obligation in the receiver to return the favor.

This may be true of society, but it is not always true in nature. For example, all things on this world are warmed and given life by the sun. Without the sun, life on this planet could not even have come into existence, much less survive in its present form. The sun is thus doing all of us a very great favor. But the sun is not conscious of doing this favor and asks nothing in return. Most living creatures accept this. Man is the exception.

Man is a thinking creature. He thinks and questions everything, all of nature as well as himself. He constantly desires things and creates many needs from his ideas, to satisfy his conceptions of how life should be lived. Man does not accept nature. He questions it, makes demands on it, tries to conquer and manipulate it, lives in accord with it, or fights against it. This striving non-acceptance is one of the primary reasons for human progress. It is a wonderful thing. But this inability to accept without questioning is also a major source of mans endless troubles.

Acceptance is a major ingredient in the Buddhist conception of favor. Doing favors is part of the duty of anyone who has achieved the State of Compassion. A favor is done without any intention of creating an obligation

to return it. A favor should be done merely because another being requires it. It should be forgotten by the one who gives it. If the giver puts any pressure on the receiver he might actually create repulsion on the part of the receiver. This would entirely destroy the meaning of the word as far as Buddhists are concerned. On the other hand, although the giver of a favor must instantly forget it, the receiver must never do so. To forget a favor would be ingratitude and we talk of ungrateful persons as being beneath even dogs, who, as we know, return their owners love with devotion and faithfulness. Ingratitude has always been considered a disgrace in the orient.

In Okinawa we have an old folk story that illustrates this quite clearly. A man once asked a friend to lend him some money. The friend, although rich, was not in the habit of loaning his money. However, the man finally prevailed on his friend and convinced him to make the loan. When they exchanged their written agreement for the loan, the rich friend told the man, If you fail to keep your promise to return the money, I wont become upset. But some day I will laugh at you in front of a whole company of people. Please keep this in mind. Now, at first thought, you might be tempted to

say that it is better to keep the money and be laughed at than to go to the trouble of returning the loan. After all, a little laughter is a cheap price for a lot of money. But on second thought we realize that mere money, a material thing, is not what is at stake here. A favor, as we pointed out at the beginning is a relationship between two people, a relationship of compassion on the part of the giver and a just sense of obligation on the part of the receiver. To forget the relationship and remember only the material aspect of the favor is to emphasize the material and forget the human. If one forgets about the human aspect of things he forgets that that he, too, is a human and so loses his own humanity. This emphasis on the material at the expense of the human is common as a society develops and material culture flourishes. People become surrounded by material things, their dealings with others are through the medium of material things like money, and all things in the world become defined in terms of material value. Even happiness is seen as a material achievement and is defined in material terms. Now, if one sincerely believes that living in a large house, having great wealth, and buying whatever he wants whenever he wants it is the ultimate in happiness, then perhaps for him it is. But many of these very people come to wonder if they are using

their money for their own ends or if the money is using them. At such times they must envy the naked primitive.

The point I wish to stress is that human beings come before material objects. No matter how much material progress we make as men, not one of us can live, or even die, without the aid of other men. For example, the very rice we eat every day has passed through the hands of many people unknown to us, who have all put their effort into it. And the rice itself needs the help of men to plant it, and cultivate it, and pick it. Plus it needs the help of the sun and the soil and the water to grow. So, whether or not we realize it, we cannot live without interacting with, and affecting, each other. This is a law of nature and we must all live in accord with it.*

If we were to say that doing wrong would lead one to Hell, nowadays even a three-year-old wouldnt believe us. Of course, that is perfectly fine,

*Buddhists call this the Law of Dependent Origination (Engl.).

because there is no other world, no separate place in the cosmos called Hell. Hell does not exist separate from our world as a place one can go to. Hell

exists right here in our own world, in our own lives. It is mad by us and by our fellow men. It may seem to you that this is a long way from our discussion about favor, but that is not so. Forgetting favors, and refusing to give favors with compassion, means losing touch with our human nature, with what it means to be a Man. It is this forgetting, this Jack of recognition of the tie of common Humanity that binds us all, which creates Hell on earth, a Hell which traps and destroys saint and sinner alike.

In the martial arts we trust each other and value and respect the human relationship the giving and receiving of favors creates. Before all else we revere human nature. Hard training and proficient techniques are not enough to become a martial artist respected by oneself and by others. We must also thoroughly understand and practice the meaning of favor.


Mochi-bun is an Okinawan word meaning the ability to understand.

Each persons ability to understand differs from that of every other persons. Ten men exposed to the same idea or event will form ten different understandings of it. This is true because all ten have different backgrounds, different characters, different education, different experiences, etc. This difference of ability to understand is what makes teaching so difficult. Explaining snow to an Okinawan, who has never even seen snow, is not difficult in itself. You just string descriptive words together: white, cold, etc. But getting the man to truly understand snow is very difficult. No matter how many words you use to describe it, he will always be lacking in his understanding since he has never experienced the fact of snow himself. Thus his lack of experience limits his ability to understand.

In todays world there is so much knowledge, and so much of it is so specialized, that our understanding is limited to a small percentage of all there is to know. The sheer physical impossibility of experiencing more than a small part of the total makes this so. But dont let this dismay you. Knowledge of everything does not necessarily lead to understanding of anything. The important thing is to develop your ability to understand in relation to your personal, everyday life. The rest will come. Let us see how.

There are really two kinds of knowledge. The first is intellectual and can be gained by reading books or listening to others speak. The second is gained by actually experiencing things and events. But neither amounts to understanding until you absorb them by thinking about them and relating them to your life and existence. Walking is a good example of knowledge without understanding. Of course you know how to walk. No one really taught you. You just learned by experience. But do you understand walking? Probably not. Only a very few specialists or doctors really study what walking is, how best to do it, how it relates to health, what muscles are used, how walking relates to breathing, etc. Most of us just walk. We have the knowledge of how to do it. But we dont understand it.

This knowledge without understanding applies to our every day lives, too. Many of us know how to live. We hear people tell us how to live, how to accumulate material things to make our lives easier. We even experience how much better our lives feel when we have these things. Certainly by pursuing these material things, we can be said to know life.

But we cannot be said to understand life. For often, in the midst of material success, we feel the greatest pangs of internal emptiness and defeat. We have not understood the true relation of material things to our lives because we have blindly accepted the knowledge given us by the world without turning the eye of our mochi-bun, our ability to understand, upon the knowledge to analyze it and discover the true relation.

The same is true in the Karate dojo. We can seek after perfection in technique. We can even attain perfect knowledge of technique. But in the midst of our knowledge we may fail if we have not developed our understanding of Karate and all it means. Karate should be used to expand our mochi-bun even more than to expand our techniques. This is the true treasure we can gain from Karate-do.

The fulfillment of knowledge in understanding through repetition of experience and careful thinking about that experience will increase and strengthen your ability to understand just as repetition of exercise will

strengthen your muscles. And your mochi-bun will always be with you; even when you are old and your muscles begin to fail.

Dedicated study of one thing through your whole life can lead to your complete understanding of that thing. In achieving this understanding you develop your ability to understand all other things. Your mochi-bun can be turned to understand life itself. Thus many of the old swordsmen used the sword not as a weapon, but as a form of training their understanding of life itself. The same was true of Sen-no-rikyu, the founder of the tea ceremony.

The same can be true of your study of Karate-do. Karate as mere physical exercise or as a sport can be very valuable to you. But it can also mean a lot more. How much it means is up to you. Your mind is like a wineglass, and understanding is like a delicious wine. If your glass is small, it will only hold a little of the precious wine. The larger the glass, the more wine it will hold.

I want everyone who studies Karate to be like the larger wineglasses and receive as much of the precious wine of understanding as you can to make your spirit strong and your life complete.


People tend to pass their lifetimes in idleness, never examining themselves to see where they have been and where they are going. For this reason I have always felt it important that a person look anew at his life at the beginning of each year. The Zen priest Ikkyu did so when he wrote the poem:
New Years Day is a milestone on the journey to the other world. Its enjoyable and, at the same time, unenjoyable.

When I read New Year greeting cards and celebrate the New Year with family and friends, I feel the joy of life plainly, and life seems delightful. But the New Year also brings memories of the deceased and thoughts of death. At such times I feel lonely. However, when I think again, I believe there is joy in life because there is such a thing as death. If I had eternal life, I dont believe it could contain any joy or hope.

A pine tree is said to have a life span of 1000 years. In contrast, a morning glory flower lives only a few hours. This fact is often used as an example to explain that the value of a life is not measured by its length. Mans life is no exception. Upon the death of my teacher, Master Chojun Miyagi, I wrote the following poem:
A tiger dies and leaves its fur, A man dies and leaves his name, A teacher dies and teaches death.

Man is promised death when he is born. When we interpret death in a broad sense, it is not only limited to living things but includes everything in the universe. Our solar system which one can think of as being in the intermediate stage of its existence does not remain the same forever. The fact that its life span is far greater than mans makes us think of it as going on eternally, without change. But the sun, the moon and the earth live out their lives just as we live out our own. In that there is no difference.

A man meets the death of relatives, friends, pets and others before he faces his own death. Our reactions to such deaths differ, depending on our age at the time and the nature of our relations with the deceased. And consequently, we come to experience different feelings concerning the reality of death. Generally we tend to detest it out of fear. Sometimes we search to discover unconsciously try to wipe such ominous thoughts from our minds.

At times such as these, the pursuit for the meaning of death turns out to be a desire to uncover the value of life a desire, however, that can fade as time passes.

Death is feared for a variety of reasons; including the association with pain and the thought that death deprives one of everything including ones own being. But what is death? Physiologically, it might be a natural result of the destruction of the cell structures required to sustain life. But such knowledge doesnt help a bit. The problem of life and death can only be solved within the mind of the individual posing the question. It is not

reducible to mathematical equations or resolved by teaching or lecturing. Religion was born to solve such a problem, and that is why religion exists.

Now, going back to my poem, the first two lines, A tiger dies and leaves its fur, a man dies and leaves his name are an old saying that is well known. The first part is not difficult to understand. But I intended the second part to have various meanings. For a man to value his name he must adhere strictly to his own conscience and responsibility this is based on social morals. At the same time, one wishes to hand down his name to posterity by achieving something during his lifetime that will set a good example for future generations. The other way to be remembered is through notoriety (such as leaving a famous name in the history of crime). I added the last part, a teacher dies and teaches death to complete the poem.

As you might have noticed, this poem has four mentions of death. The first one is meant to generate a new understanding of death. The second establishes a new confirmation of death. The third indicate the relation between life and death. The fourth represents the relation between life,

death, existence and non-existence. It would require a great space to explain these in detail, so I would like just to touch upon the points. *

When Master Miyagi died, I was 37 years old. When he died, I again learned that death is something inevitable and real. I must say that Master Miyagis death was not the first death I had witnessed. I had seen my relatives die, and I had also seen many of my friends die tragic deaths on the battlefield. But at the moment of Master Miyagis death something

*The editor offers the following as a possible expansion and explanation of these points: The tiger lives without consciousness and leaves nothing behind but his fur. Because he does not understand the meaning of his life, his death also lacks meaning. A man lives, at least partially conscious, and hence tries to give his life meaning by creating things that will live after him. When he dies, his reputation, or name lives on. But this is a shallow thing, merely an outward display, and reconfirms the finality of death. A Teacher lives not to create something for himself to be remembered by, but rather to help others find the meaning in their lives. Hence in his life, life and death are related, the one giving meaning to the other. The teacher helps create awareness of life and death in others. His own death is the final confirmation of his life, the act that proves it both real and non-real at the same time. By dying he teaches death non-existence, to his pupils, and thus gives them true insight into the meaning of life and death, between existence (ungen) and non-existence (mugen), is central to the Buddhist conception of the Middle Way.

completely different transpires upon me. I can only say that the time was ripe.

What I want to say is that to live is to produce something. This is the basic theory of producing something from nothing, which I will explain later. All of my theories were obtained through my experience in life, mainly through Karate training. Therefore none of my theories are without the support of real experience.

I would like to refer here to Master Miyagis teaching.

Soon after World War II, I returned to Okinawa to live in Itoman, which is in the southern part of the island. Master Miyagi was living on the northern part of Okinawa. His students who survived the war met and decided to build a house and a training space for the Master. We all ran around collecting money, and bought some land and built a small house and a training hall. We invited the Master, and our first meeting took place at the training hall. About ten people were there, and Master Miyagi named the students one by one and asked for any ideas or aspirations about the future of Goju-Ryu. Some people suggested a demonstration, and some suggested advertising, and many other ideas came up. I said something there, but I cant remember what it was. The Master was listening to it all

without a word, but when everybody finished talking, he slowly said: What you all have said is futile. Then he explained his reasons, the thrust of which was this: Right now, you all have worked as hard as possible to build me this house and training hall. So, now dont think of anything else, but try to establish a firm basis for your own living. After that is done, what you have said here will come very easily. We didnt know what to say to this.

Returning to what I said above, I would like to present my opinion on Death as against life and the Relation between life, death, existence and non-existence." If we think of death as destruction, then life is production, and we have to think that is the very valve of a mans life. When I try to put this into practice, I keenly feel the idea of Producing something from nothing. Of course, complete nothingness cant produce anything. I would like to give an example. When we teach, if the results are good, then it is something that was done by teaching, even if the person had all the qualities within himself. If there had been no teaching, his qualities would never have been realized, but buried inside. If the person that was taught can do something different after being taught, the consequence knows no end. The

fact that teaching, which is formless, can result in something hat has a form that is what is meant by producing something form nothing.

From the Masters death, I came to think deeply about my mission. At the same time I thought that if I just hand down the things the Master left, there would be no progress at all. When I opened my own school at Koza City in Okinawa, it was one year after the Masters death.

Though we may hate, fear, and try to forget about death, it is meaningless because we cant escape from it. I want people to know that they must understand the great value of life when thinking about death. It would be easy to become nihilistic and pursue momentary pleasures. But the choice you make determines whether you live a mans life and an animals life. At such times, you will know if the Karate you have learned was real or fake.




Once, in a City in Okinawa, there lived a man who claimed to be a Karate master. Actually, he was just a bully who was strong enough and clever enough to beat up anyone in the surrounding area. Like all bullies, he was arrogant and insolent. Everyone hated and feared him. None liked, let alone respected him. However, everyone knew how useless it was to resist his wishes since the bully could always use his strength to force his will upon them. So people let him act the way he pleased, and stayed out of his way as much as possible. He took this as a sign of respect and his conceit grew ever greater.

In the same City there was a wise old fisherman. Every time he saw or heard about the activities of this swaggering fool, he felt angry. He

waited and waited for someone to teach the bully a lesson. But as no one did, and as the bullys ego continued to grow, the old man decided to take up the task himself.

One day the old man invited the bully to go fishing in his boat. The bully, convinced the fisherman acted out of fear and respect, accepted the invitation. As the old man rowed the boat far out to sea, he quietly listened to the fool boasting and bragging. Finally the boat was so far from shore that the bully could not possibly swim back. Now, thought the old man, it is time for the lesson.

Suddenly the fisherman stood up, putting his feet on the sides of the boat, holding the oar in his hands, and began rocking the boat violently from side to side. The bully was completely helpless, for the sea was not his element. All he could do was to grab the sides of the boat tightly. His face white with fear, the bully hung on for dear life.

Then the old fisherman, never stopping his rocking, raised the long oar in his hands above his head, and made as though to smash the bullys

head with it. The bully, thoroughly terrified by now, turned whiter than ever, and cringed back into his seat. Weakly, miserably, he apologized for his ways and his misdeeds.

The bully never forgot this incident. From that point on, he behaved himself, helped other people, and was a truly changed man. In time, he became a real master, loved by all. Conceit, like that of the bully, is a common thing. There is hardly anyone who does not have a little. Can you imagine a young woman who doesnt think shes pretty, or at least interesting looking? Or a young man who doesnt believe he is handsome?

And there is nothing wrong with conceit as long as it doesnt go too far. This is because conceit is simply self-confidence. And self-confidence can often serve as a source for energy in life when it arouses a persons vitality and desire to excel or improve himself.

However, conceit, like many things, can get out of hand. When it does, it weakens a persons ambition by making him think he is better than

he is and that he doesnt need to improve himself. Soon he loses the respect of others. He becomes a lonely man without friends, since none can stand his pretensions. You probably know people like this in your daily life.

To keep ones self-confidence from becoming conceit, takes discipline and self-criticism.

For example, suppose a person is confident of his mind and feels proud of his intelligence. This self-confidence may lead him to improve himself even further, and increase his understanding. But if it becomes too strong and turns into conceit, he begins to fancy himself smarter than others. He begins to look down on them and ridicules their ideas when they dont agree with his own.

Worse yet, he may become so dependent upon his intellect, and so sure of it, that he comes to look down on knowledge obtained through experience, even though knowledge without real experience is almost useless. No matter how hard a man sitting in a warm room strives intellectually to understand the life of an Eskimo at 40 below, he will fail.

But if his intellectual conceit is great enough, he will not recognize nor admit his failure.

The importance of experience is especially true of such things as Karate, which involves physical movements. If the knowledge isnt based upon experience, it is useless, and true progress in studying the matter is impossible. City people are especially likely to look down on physical experience and try to get by suing only intellectual knowledge. Of course, its obvious that both sorts of knowledge, physical and intellectual must be present for true understanding. If either is missing, the effort is wasted. But this is most especially true if the person tends to intellectualize.

Thus I always say, and will repeat, that in the case of Karate, it is important to learn with the body, without arguing. After many repetitions, questions will naturally arise as to the meaning of the motions. This is proof that progress is being made, for these questions come from the gap, which is felt, between practice and theory. This is the very time to work harder than ever. Let your body learn the movements better and better. Let your mind ponder their meanings. In this fashion, the gap between theory and practice

will diminish and the two become one at last. If you are not willing to make the double effort of mind and body, it is better not to waste your time at all. If you are only willing to use your mind, and depend upon the theory to explain everything, questions will never arise, and you will never understand how to actually apply your techniques. You must try, physically to do the thing. That is why I tell students, If you cant do it, dont ask what it is for. I am not being harsh with them. I am being kind, since there is no way to teach the mind without teaching the body first. A person who tries to understand a physical technique with an intellectual theory gains nothing. I pay no attention to such people.

There are many kinds of teachers in Karate. Some seek only social status and fame. Others put their whole effort into creating and managing an organization. Often such teachers forget the meaning of their true substance and become satisfied with the external symbols of fame or a thriving dojo. But what will such men leave behind even if they are successful? Our true goal in Karate isnt some petty publicity or great wealth. Rather we seek to produce as many men of ability as possible. There are limits to status, property and wealth, but the ability of each promising man is

limitless. To accomplish the development and flowering of this ability is the real fame and wealth that one can be proud of. Strong conceit prevents the growth of the man or his ability. To reach any goal, one must be modest, always maintain his self-control, and strive hard to reach the goal. This is the long-cherished desire of any man who lives by the code of traditional Okinawan Karate-Do.


In southwestern Okinawa there is a tiny fishing village called Itoman. Despite its small size, it is known throughout the world for the unusual way its fisherman fish. They set up stationary nets and then chase the fish into the nets. To do so, they fearlessly leap into the rough, shark-infested waters of the Pacific. Legend has it that this unorthodox method was taught to the villagers by a shipwrecked English sailor. In support of this legend, there is a cave called London Cave, where the sailor is reputed to have lived, and many of the people in Itoman have distinctive Caucasian features.

The people of Itoman have a saying, When tempers flare up, the wise man keeps his fists down. This is wise advice, for almost anyone is capable of reacting violently if he suddenly becomes extremely angry. But once the anger is over, and he returns to his normal self, he may deeply regret his actions. By then, however, it is too late, for the result of violence, especially injury to another, is something irreversible, and cannot be taken back, no matter how bitterly regretted. There is a story from Itoman, which illustrated just this point. Once a businessman who lived in the village borrowed a great amount of money from a Samurai warrior of the Satsuma Clan. At that time, the Satsumas ruled the island, which was under Japanese over lordship. Things went poorly for the businessman, and, when it came time for repayment of the loan, he was unable to raise enough cash. When the Samurai came to collect the money, the merchant told him the story and asked to have the payment date put off for a while in hopes his business would prosper. The Samurai was furious and put his hand to his swords hilt, making ready to draw it out and kill the man. The merchant was startles and sorrowed, but decided to die bravely. However, remembering the old saying, When tempers flare up, the wise man keeps his fists down, he decided that rather than

defending himself by raising his own hand against the warrior, he would try to talk sense to him. Thus, with the calmness of one who is prepared to die, the merchant spoke gently to the Samurai about the wisdom of that old saying, beseeching him to follow it in this case. The warrior, who was a great man, at last paid him heed, and controlling his anger, apologized, setting a new date for collection of the debt. He then left to return to Japan and his home. The Samurai reached his home late at night and found an unexpected surprise. His wife and strange man were asleep in his bed. In a rage at his wifes infidelity, he drew his sword and was about to execute the two on the spot for their adultery. But as he raised the blade high over his head, he was suddenly reminded of his recent experience at Itoman and the saying of the merchant. When tempers flare up, the wise men keep his fists down. Suddenly calmed by this thought, he brought the sword down and put it back in its scabbard. His motions awakened the two sleepers. As they opened their eyes and looked up at him, the Samurai was astound to discover that the unknown man sleeping with his wife was his mother, who had disguised herself as a man to protect his wife while he was away. The ruse had worked so well as

to fool even him. The Samurai fell to his knees and bowed his thanks to the merchant whose words, remembered in heat, had saved him from murdering his own mother and blameless wife. When the new collection day dawned, the Samurai went again to visit the merchant in Itoman. Things had gone well with the merchant, and he had all the money ready for the warrior. The Samurai refused the money, saying that he owed the merchant more than money could pay, for the merchants words had saved his family and his happiness. After hearing the warriors story, the merchant insisted anew on paying, claiming that the Samurai owed him nothing, that he had not told the story with any hopes of winning the mans gratitude. Since each refused to yield, they finally agreed that the money should be used for some other good purpose. Thus they donated it to the shrine at Hakugin Cave where the people of Itoman prayed to an unknown god. Today the shrine is a very famous one and people come from all around to visit it. The thoughtful reader will probably have figured out my reason for telling this little tale. I am talking about anger. Sooner or later everyone has a frustrating experience which may cause him to become angry. I dont mean the kind of generalized anger we feel over a wrong done to another,

but rather the highly personal anger, which boils up, when we feel ourselves wronged directly. How a person behaves in such a situation depends mainly on how he has been trained. Buddhism counsels one to avoid such anger and strive to treat adversity with fortitude, that is, with calm and self-control. To over-react, to resort to violence and brute force when angered, is a weakness we must guard against constantly. Resorting to violence in extreme anger has led to many tragedies, which might have been avoided if the person involved had remained calm and remembered to keep his fists down. We are not talking about such a simple thing as a short temper, which can generally be overlooked since it seldom leads one to the extreme type of reaction we are talking about. We are talking about restraining oneself when one has actually been wronged in some way, when one is actually deeply angry, when ones fury is perhaps justified. This is when fortitude truly is necessary and is something one must strive for all throughout his life. As martial artists, who are so capable of using our art for violent ends to hurt people if we allow our selves to lose control, we must be especially careful to guard our anger at all times. We must always remember that our Karate is a spiritual food as much as a physical form of defense and must let our

spirits develop so that we are not tempted to use our physical ability for the wrong purposes. As the proverb Rich people dont have to fight suggests, survival in any situation is dependent on ones special abilities and personal assets, whether these are monetary or spiritual. Without any special abilities or personal assets one has little chance of surviving any sort of crisis. Thus in a situation where we are brutally attacked, our martial arts abilities may save us from defeat and allow us to survive. Or in circumstances where we are wronged greatly, our spiritual assets and fortitude may save us from overreacting and resorting to violence which might lead to everlasting sorrow as a result. We must be extremely cautious, however, to avoid a feeling of superiority if we survive a situation, or a feeling of humiliation if we do not. A rich man who becomes overbearing because he can get others to do his fighting for him may end up making so many enemies that he eventually destroys himself. Nor if we were to lose a fight which had been forced on us should we lose heart, but rather strive more to perfect our technique and remember the true reason we take Karate is not to fight, but rather to gain enlightenment. That is why, as martial artists, we must strive to attain the spirit of No haughtiness in victory, no regret in defeat. We must strive to

view all things, our own lives included, from a higher viewpoint. Thus only may we live by the saying When tempers flare up, the wise man keeps his fists down. We must train to fill ourselves with spiritual assets inside, while letting our surface remain calm and silent, without a single wave on the outside. There are many ways to achieve this. Each individual may find his own. But the common thread, which runs throughout all ways, must be the achievement of fortitude instead of anger. All the martial arts, karate included, aim at this ultimate goal. Thus when we of Shorei-Kan train in our traditional manner under the freezing midwinter night sky with the cold wind blowing; remember to absorb the lesson of that training into your very blood and muscles, into your innermost self. Dont think about the cold or that you were freezing. Dont think about how tough you are to withstand such punishment. Instead concentrate on the fortitude and personal restraint such training requires and strives to develop the same attitude toward every incident in your life. The battle you have won is not one over inhospitable elements. It is a victory over your self. To possess that understanding and the confidence which comes with it has great meaning.


When Master Higashionna retired, he moved to a house near the shore. He enjoyed fishing a great deal and almost every evening would go out on a breakwater and fish. As his name as a great karate master was well known all over Okinawa, many people were interested in testing his skill to see if he really was as great as proclaimed. One man, who knew the Masters daily routine and his love of fishing, hatched a plan to test the Masters skills. He would sneak up behind Master Higashionna while he sat peacefully fishing and then push him into the water. After all, he reasoned, even a Master does not have eyes in the back of his head, and if I push him in, people will say I am greater than he. Master Higashionna, who knew nothing of the mans scheme, was enjoying fishing at his favorite spot on the breakwater one evening, when the man crept up behind him, pretending that he was just watching the Master fish. Suddenly he lunged forward to push the Master in. There was a great splash. But Master Higashionna sat as before, peacefully fishing. It was the man, falling head over heels, who had ended

up in the cold water. The Master, without saying a word, smiled, and extended his fishing rod to the man to pull him back up on the breakwater. The man was very embarrassed and expected to be roundly scolded for his conduct. But Master Higashionna just laughed and said, What an eccentric man you are. Why did you jump into such cold water and go swimming? You scared away the fish! Shamed, the man ran away. How did the Master put the man into the water? He did not disappear, nor did he jump up high like a Ninja. He simply relaxed his body, letting it twist rather than resisting the mans push. Thus the man ended up throwing himself into the water.


Once, not very long ago, there were three branches of Te, from which todays Karate originated. These were Shuri-Te, Naha-Te and TomariTe. As we all know, Shuri-Te produced Master Chibana, and Naha-Te produced Master Miyagi and numerous other masters who were quite well

known. However Tomari-Tes Master Nakasone, equal to the other two Masters mentioned, is not very much talked about. This I always find regrettable. I would like to relate a few anecdotes about him to familiarize readers with Master Nakasone. There are reasons I never hold back my respect for him, and Im sure the readers will understand. When I was a boy, he was in the prime of his life, being twenty years older than I am. At that time, his strength was well known and his fame had reached far beyond the neighborhood. He was the hero of boys living in that region. At that time in Okinawa, when a Karate mans fame grew, his chances of being attacked by hooligans who hoped to defeat him and rise to fame were great. I, myself, have always walked close to the left side of the road, never leaving my left side open. I was especially careful at corners, which I couldnt see around. When I went home, I would first knock on the door to let my family know I was approaching. Then, going around the block once and watching all directions carefully, I would enter through the back entrance. It was similar with samurai being stalked by revengers during war periods in Japan. During Master Nakasones time it was even rougher. Often there were open challenges. The Master, once approached by a man in such a

way, treated him with indifference. Mortified, the man tried to take the Master by surprise, while at his work, Master Nakasone, who was a carpenter by trade and one of Okinawas best furniture makers, was busily working with his hammer at the moment the man chose to strike. He instantly blocked the assailants attack with the hand that held the hammer and in the same move, struck the man on the head with the hammer. The man, knocked unconscious, was taken to the hospital. Fortunately it wasnt fatal, but Master Nakasone was questioned by the police anyway. Though he had used a hammer, it was decided that since the tool was natural to his profession, and hence likely to be in his hands at any time, his use of it was not pre-meditated and he was cleared of any charge of over reaction to the attack. Nevertheless, I think Master Nakasone knew exactly what he was doing, for it is said that the assailant never bothered the Master again. Master Nakasone used to have some fighting cocks and would train them for matches. One day while I was helping with the training in a nearby field, five or six youths stopped and watched the training. The Master after watching them for some time, suddenly asked, Why are you watching our fighting cocks without permission? To my surprise he then added, I will take you all on, so come at me with wrestling or whatever. At this time

Master Nakasone was close to sixty years old, and the youths were all sturdily built men. I wondered what the Master expected to happen. He obviously had something in mind and it was not merely starting a fight. Looking back later, I guessed that he was really trying to test the spirit and disposition of the youths. Although he was a Master of Tomari-Te, Master Nakasone was attracted to Goju Ryu. At 35 he decided to study it and became Master Miyagis student. As a result, I was able to get to know him better. I have always been impressed by the fact that although he was a Master in his own style, he was able to transcend his own ego and humbly ask for instruction in something he respected and thought good. This is had enough for an ordinary man to do. For a Master it must be especially hard. Master Nakasone was not familiar with literature, though it was a popular past time among old people. His conversational skills, however, were excellent despite the fact that he stammered. In Okinawa, Kaka is dialect for stammerer and since Master Nakasone stammered, his nickname became Nakasone Kaka. It is regrettable that Tomari-Te, while producing such a Master, has not shown great development. This may be due to lack of superior

successors. In the past, it was said that even cripples know Karate in Tomari City. When I returned to Okinawa last summer, I visited Master Nakasone and we talked for a long time. The Master, who will become seventy-four this year, is still very healthy, and greets my visits from his heart. Accompanying me was Reverend Sogen Sakiyama, a Zen priest, who can be said to be my minds teacher. After our visit, he told me, Master Nakasone has comprehended, through actual experience, more that I have after twenty years of studying. He is truly amazing. Observing the actions of society today, this is very meaningful. In other words, there are too many people who rely solely on their brains. Theories and knowledge are of course important and necessary, but they are not everything. Ideas without actual experience, as can be seen among many students and their actions, often result in making puppets of people. Until proven by action or experiment, theories and knowledge are useless. Reading is very fine. I sincerely hope that you will spare no effort in trying to gain understanding of your reading through your own action and experience.


When Master Miyagi finished his military service he returned to his native City of Naha in Okinawa. At his time he was 24 years old and full of spirit. He heard of a certain Sensei K., living not far from Naha, who was gaining certain fame as a Karate man. Rumor had it that Sensei K. claimed he could, with one blow, crush an Okinawan wooden pillow (Sashi-makura), placed atop Go board, without it falling from the board. This was a truly amazing feat, requiring a great deal of speed and power, so Master Miyagi decided to go himself to verify the rumor and, if it was true, study with Sensei K. Since transportation was non-existent in those days, Master Miyagi walked the whole day to reach Sensei Ks dojo. At sunset, he arrived. After exchanging formal greetings, Master Miyagi asked to see Sensei Ks famous techniques. Sensei K replied, It is already late and I do not feel like demonstrating now. However, I will be happy to show you tomorrow. You have come a long way and must be tired, so please relax and have a good rest tonight. Master Miyagi was promptly treated with sake and some light food and agreed to stay overnight at the dojo.

The next morning he was up early with his gi on. As time passed and Sensei K. Still did not show his famous technique, Master Miyagi realized he was intentionally trying to avoid the subject. Since he could not see something that was not shown, and being too polite to bring the issue up again, Master Miyagi asked about chest blocks. Sensei K. explained his chest block technique, Strike upward from below with the Keiko (chicken beak) fist. Master Miyagi promptly asked for a demonstration of this technique but found he could hit Sensei K. in the chest without the slightest bit of effort. Next, wishing to test Sensei Ks sidekick, Master Miyagi intentionally blocked it lightly with his body. Rather than remaining firm and balanced, Sensei K. fell backward as if bouncing off Master Miyagi. He roundly scolded him, saying, What are you trying to do? Fight for real? It is said that the rumors about Sensei Ks famous pillow-crushing technique stopped soon after this. Not long after this episode, another took place that showed once more Master Miyagis skill and cleverness. Every month there was a social gathering of Karate men in the area. Master Miyagi was a member and attended these meetings. At one such meeting talk turned to physical

strength and several members fell to boasting of their power. Finally Sensei M. stood up. This man was in his 30s. He was short and was powerfully built, weighting over 200 pounds. He was supremely confident of his great physical strength and knew what others recognized and valued it equally. Now, spurred on to bragging, he challenged the others, saying, If there is anyone here who can unlock my two-hand collar grip, let him come forward. Everyone knew this was impossible, so great was his strength, so no one spoke a word in reply. After a moment of embarrassed silence, one of the senior members stood up and pointed at Master Miyagi. You try it, he said. Now although Master Miyagi was the youngest of those presents, his ability was gaining him a reputation even at that time. Therefore, it is not surprising that some of the members, perhaps spurred by jealousy, felt this would be a good opportunity to test him with a task they were sure he would fail at and have a good laugh at his expense. But Master Miyagi did not hesitate in the least. When his name was called out, he got up quickly and walked toward Sensei M. without once looking around. The other members of the group were dumbfounded by his calmness and moved aside to let him pass.

Standing quite still, with both hands hanging limply at his sides, Master Miyagi let Sensei M. get a good, firm grip on his collars. When Sensei M. signaled he was ready and the sign to begin was given, everyone was astounded to hear the big man scream with pain and fold over, holding his groin, and letting go his grip completely. Sensei Ms famous twohanded collar grip was unlocked by Master Miyagi with a simple knee in the groin. These stories about Master Miyagis talents, although true, were never repeated by the Master himself. Rather they were told to his students by other Sensei. When anyone would ask him if the stories were true, he would simply say, Well, something like that may have happened




Most people simply do not understand the true meaning of training. They simply use the word to suit their own preconceived notions. Now, when one is training himself, it doesnt really matter how he defines the word since the only person affected is himself. But when you are training other people it is very important to clearly understand the difference between training someone and abusing him. Training, in its true sense, is always done with love and respect toward the person you are training. The purpose of training another is to improve and perfects him. Thus training is a relationship of love, with the object being the welfare of the person being rained. If, however, the trainer does not love the trainee, if the relationship becomes a one-way flow of dominance rather than the two-way flow required by mutual respect, when the object of the relationship is the satisfaction of the ego of the trainer, then

it is not raining, but abuse. You must always reflect very carefully on the relationship you establish with those you train. Do not angrily say I always treat them carefully with love! How dare you call it abuse! Reflect deeply on your own motives. Even if you yourself think you show love, reflect on the fact that if your love is too self-centered it cannot be true love. Unless the purpose of the training is a mutually satisfactory and thoughtful relationship between the trainer and the trainee, unless mutual trust and affection bind them, there can never be any interchange of love between the two sides. Both sides must rid themselves of their selfishness. This is a point on which instructors must reflect constantly, evermore re-examining themselves. Training is central to the Okinawan conception of karate. In Okinawa when people seek to judge a karate man they dont use terms like strong or weak, proficient technique or poor technique, etc. Instead, in praise of a man, they say that he is trying hard. For example, instead of That man is a good fighter and strong in his techniques, they would say That man is trying hard. If the only criterion for karate were strength or proficiency of technique, the inevitable result would be to hold contests and pit one man against the other to determine who is best. But the Okinawan tradition

points in just the opposite direction, away from the satisfaction of ego by dominating others in contests, toward the satisfaction of self by training hard. If one is criticized for not training hard enough, he can correct the situation by simply training harder. He does not need to go out and beat someone up or subdue others. That way he improves himself and his character, and does so at no expense to anyone else. When I look at the present condition of the karate world, I wish so many people were not going about foolishly nipping the bud, about to flower after so many years of labor. Rather than going about quarrelling and fighting with one another, we should follow the wisdom of the Okinawan people, and seek, like them, to make harmony the basic of our lives. We should cast out this contention for supremacy and not lose sight of the true spirit of karate. We should return to the original forms of self-discipline and let our lives serve as examples of the correct development of Karate-do.


Under the glittering summer sun, flowers bloom energetically and beautifully dahlias, lilies, and sunflowers many, many colors, sizes,

varieties. Their individual beauty cannot be compared one to another. They are all beautiful in their own right because they are Natures truth. They live their lives true to their form and themselves; thats why we are so struck by their beauty. Now lets look back to the time when one seed was planted in the ground. Dark, damp, cold in the ground, and outside, cold, dark winter. But even though they are alone, they bare their lives, put roots out and make themselves solid in the earth. They take from the soil all that they need to begin their lives. Now the temperature rises, spring arrives, and buds come forth from the ground. The buds grow gradually into leaves. The leaves absorb the sun and take what they need for their lives. Each day is not easy for them, but they never stop striving to fulfill their purpose. Not all of them can accomplish their purpose under the severe conditions of nature. Karate Koryu kata are just like the seed of a flower, which holds within it the promise to bloom beautifully in the future. As seeds or bulbs are the result of the accomplishments of flowers, Koryu kata are the result of the accomplishment of our Karate ancestors. To someone watching, the Koryu kata may seem ugly or to have no meaning. For those who see them that way, they will be that way. But you, who seriously practice Karate,

must be like the seeds, which strive to bloom into flowers you must reach the final stage of kata. If you are aware of this, your shallow, selfish attitude towards kata will change. Some students can remember sequence of kata and think that since it wont work in free-fighting, they dont have to practice. Others expect quick results from kata. For these people kata will never bloom. Even among you who understand, very few can create a blooming flower from kata.


About 10 years ago, when I was still living in Okinawa, a lieutenant of the occupation army asked me an interesting question. Can Karate win against guns? Now, the answer is not as simple as many might suppose. I was equally tempted to answer, Yes, Karate can win, and No, it cant win. I

say, Equally tempted because both answers are right. And both are wrong. It all depends upon which level of Karate we are talking about. For example, when an opponent is bare-fisted, it is possible to defeat him solely through the use of the hand techniques we have learned. Even a person who has only been studying Karate for a short time might be able to accomplish this. But if we are up against a man armed with a knife, it is not possible to defeat him unless we have gone beyond the level of mere technique and are approaching the stage of art. This implies years of study in which our lives become attuned to the way of Karate and the techniques become as natural to us as walking was before. Yet even art will not protect us against a man with a gun unless he is very stupid and we are very lucky. So we must look beyond art to the highest level of Karate, the level of mind or spirit, to protect us against guns and other such methods. What is the level of mind and spirit? There is a Japanese proverb; The sword is a treasure inside the scabbard. In Okinawa we have a similar saying, Karate is a treasure inside the mind. We also say, Spirit is the most important thing for a Karateka.

Now, on the simplest level of meaning a sword is a weapon for killing. But its ultimate aim is to train the mind and bring a man to selfunderstanding and enlightenment. The same is true for Karate. On one level it is simply a deadly weapon. On its highest level, however, it is a builder of personalities, a trainer of minds. A trained mind will avoid useless or dangerous conflicts. It will not be carried away by youthful vigor or endanger a person with foolish risks. It is like a sheathed sword. An untrained mind is like an unsheathed sword. A naked sword must taste blood before it can be re-sheathed. Once a man draws it, he must beat his opponent to prevent his own defeat. Therefore, once the sword leaves the scabbard, the end is foreseeable: one man will die. That is why the sword must be kept in the scabbard with care like a treasure. Karate must be kept under control as well. Merely using it like a deadly, drawn sword to defeat opponents or dominate people at the drop of a hat will only result in hatred, revulsion, and continuous fighting. The history of war has proven this. The same is true of the individual. It is necessary to let the trained mind or spirit rule, to keep the sword sheathed and acts in harmony with things. If a man acts in cooperation with the tides of existence, if he lives in true co-existence, he will never have to

worry about being shot with a gun or even facing a gun through his own stupidity. So how did I answer the lieutenants question? I said, Yes, Karate can absolutely win against guns. Please do not forget the deep meaning of these words. And strive to build up the technique, art and mind through Karate-Do.


Anyone whos ever studied Karate has been told at one time or another that there are no offensive techniques in karate. But very few have really understood the true meaning behind these words. For example, I was once asked by a man who was watching our practice sessions, How come you kick and punch so much, I had always heard that Karate was primarily defensive. Youre right, I answered. But before you can block a punch or a kick, you must understand them, what they are, and how they are made. And before you can know if your technique really works, you must try it

against an actual punch or kick. Hence we practice offensive techniques to perfect our defensive techniques." This confusion over the relationship between the offensive and defensive aspects of Karate is quite common nowadays among students of the art. Given the current emphasis on free fighting, the confusion is easy to understand. Most schools teach a few forms, a handful of techniques, and then turn their students loose in the ring. Free fighting becomes the whole of Karate. Winning becomes the sole goal. Nor are the students to blame for this situation. Many teachers, once they have taught a few forms and a couple of blocks and kicks, have nothing more to offer. They have no cohesive system to teach, no way to get to the deeper aspects and more advanced techniques of this martial art. So they keep their students occupied with free fighting, tournaments, and trophies. Karate, with its ancient origin and long development in Okinawa, is not such a superficial thing. When I studied under Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-rye, the curriculum consisted of four parts: Tee Chikate Mani The solo forms, the traditional kata, which combine various Karate techniques into a moving sequence.

Kumitee Not free-style kumite, but a pre-arranged combat practice, which enables two persons to perform a kata together and experience the physical meaning of the kata and see how the techniques are used against actual attacks.

Tee Tochimani Short, two-man, pre-arranged fighting exercises, each with its own special ending technique. This is a beginning approximation of a real fighting situation.

Ikukumi Real combat practice but set up so as to avoid injury. The junior man may attack the senior with any technique to any part of the body without any pulling of kicks or punches. The senior may block or dodge, but is not allowed to initiate any counter-attack. Finally, when he sees an opening, he jumps in and pushes the junior back with the palm of his hand. As you can imagine the senior man must have mastered a tremendous number of techniques and be able to use them instantaneously. It generally took about ten years to reach this level. Even then, not everyone made it.

I feel that this same type of coherent, carefully integrated curriculum is needed today to teach students the true, deeper meaning of Karate. And that is why our Karate follows the basic format laid down by Master Chojun Miyagi. To simplify things for the beginner, we start with a series of kata (Fukyu kata) derived from the traditional kata, rather than with the more complex and difficult traditional forms themselves. From this foundation of basic techniques, the student is able to build his ability even faster than under the old method. As the student progresses, the solo forms, the two-man forms, and the two-man pre-arranged fighting become more intricate and more complicated as the techniques become more advanced. Practice is always interesting and challenging because the content is virtually unlimited and always changing. This instructional method is unique to our Karate. It is a method, which will appeal to those who realize how much danger there is in rushing into free fighting after a little practice and even less understanding of Karate. It is a method, which will attract those sincerely wishing to study Karate, in its true essence, as a way and a guide to life.


The colorful flowers blooming through the four seasons not only give pleasure to our eyes, but also, at least fir the brief moment we gaze on their beauty, clear our minds of worldly thoughts and bring us back to the natural mental purity of the newborn baby. It seems to me, that because of the longstanding love of nature which is part of the Japanese character, we have different attitude toward nature than do Americans or Europeans. Unlike the Westerners, the Japanese never used to think of challenging or conquering nature. Nowadays we begin to hear such talk, even among our own people, but I feel this is simply blind acceptance of Western ideas rather than a truly Japanese attitude. Nature is not something to be conquered or challenged. It is something to be deeply understood by attaining unity and oneness with it. In keeping with these new Western ideas which seem to be infiltrating our country, we now see numerous, gorgeous flowers regardless of the season. They are grown in modern greenhouses. I dont know if this is good or bad for us, for it seems to me that although we gain a little beauty, we are losing all feeling for the seasons and their changes. Nor am I sure that the greenhouse flowers are actually more beautiful. Compared to

greenhouse flowers, which are carefully managed and care for, flowers in the wild are required to possess a study will to survive natures severe conditions and overcome the worst situations. Of hundreds of thousands of seeds, only a few are chosen to ever grow and finish their lives. As for myself, I feel a greater fascination and affection for the small seasonal flower living and struggling in the wilds on its own than for the large, gorgeous, pampered greenhouse flowers. I imagine the reason for my preference is that the birth and growth of Shorei-Kan Karate is strikingly similar to that of the wild flower. The sowing of a single seed from Okinawa to the island of Japan took place more than 8 years ago. Before the seed could grow up strong, it had to put strong roots deep in the soil. Not all the roots grew well. Just as there are times in life when failure comes no matter how hard one try, many of the roots failed and were cut off as they were just about to grow. But we of Shorei-Kan did not give up. We grow slowly and surely in the dark spaces underground. We carefully set down our roots. These are our branch dojos. They are the only case in the history of Karate where outdoor dojos succeeded. And this was in the severe four seasons of Japan, not just in a southern land like Okinawa.

How did our people accomplish this seemingly impossible task? How did they accomplish building a system when they had to practice outdoors in all kinds of weather? Credit is due to the great mental powers the human being is capable of. For seven long years we waited patiently for the seed of our faith and our labor to germinate. We waited, striving our utmost, without opposing nature, hoping nature would favor us and let us grow. Our headquarters is already a year old. Right now it is still a young green bud. But we can hope for larger growth this year since it is firmly rooted in the ground. It should not be difficult to achieve this growth. All it will take is a continuation of the efforts we are already putting forth. We will do it together, and our strength will be the greater and the task will seem easier. Each should do what he can. A 10th kyu does what a 10th kyu can manage. A shodan has yet a different task. Each of us should work and grow and develop accordingly. It is necessary to have strong roots and leaves, little though they may be, before the great trunk of a tree can grow. However, unnecessary leaves and branches should be pruned for they interfere with the growth. The task cannot be accomplished unless all of us work with each other. The roots and the leaves, the stem and the bud, do not think of

themselves. They just work together. The result of their harmony is the beautiful flower. The fact that we can work in the same way and produced something just as beautiful has already been proven by your seniors. It is the Shorei-Kan we see about to bloom today. I sincerely hope you will always keep this in mind. Do your share. It is vital to progress. Do your share. And you will help give birth to the beautiful flower of Shorei* and see that it is loved and respected by all.

* The symbol of Shorei-Kan Karate is a fist on a cherry blossom.