Gichin Funakoshi’s Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate – Principles 6 to 10

In this post I will be looking at Principles 6 to 10 of Funakoshi’s Twenty Guiding Principles. To view the previous posts in the series, click the links below.

Funakoshi’s Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate

Funakoshi’s Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate – Principles 1 to 5

Principle 6 – The mind must be set free

This principle teaches us to guard against limiting beliefs. We must have an open mind and not be limited by self-doubt. When we place doubt in our minds, we hamper our progress.

For me, this principle tries to teach us about the possibilities that await us. We all have limitations. However, what makes karate such a wonderful art is the way the boundaries of our limitations are constantly being stretched.

Any time I learn a new kata, I find it a challenge. However, by keeping an open mind, I am not bogged down,  and through constant practice I begin to improve..

Principle 7 – Calamity springs from carelessness

The US Marines and the British army have a saying, “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”. This saying, in relation to Funakoshi’s seventh principle is teaching us that we need to be mindful of all things.

In relation to our training, it teaches us that we always have to be careful when using our techniques. It is very easy to react in a rash manner when faced with a difficult situation. However, when related to principle two, we realize it us who are in control of our every action, and through mindfulness we can diffuse many situations.

We need to learn the importance of being aware or our environment (pub, school, etc) and always acting accordingly.

Principle 8 – Karate goes beyond the dojo

At its simplest level, this principle tells us karate practice should not be just limited to the dojo. We should be constantly honing our skills. I am a firm believer that the majority of our karate development is/should be done away from the dojo. The dojo is where we go to be corrected and refine our techniques, under the guidance of our teachers. It is then up to us to go away and practice.

At another level this principle teaches us that skills we learn in karate are not just limited to the dojo. Previous principles have shown us that concepts like respect, mindfulness, and a sense of justice, are equally important in our daily interactions with others.

Principle 9 – Karate is a lifelong pursuit

It is not uncommon to hear new karateka ask how long it will take to reach black belt. It is also common to see some students reach black belt level and then quit their training, believing they have reached the pinnacle of karate.

The beauty of karate is that you never stop learning. For me black belt is just the beginning of your training. All the training prior to achieving black belt has been getting you ready for the real training, which we last a lifetime.

It is amazing how as you progress in your training you gain new insights into techniques you have been performing for years. You will that karate has many layers to it. Only after many years of practice do you being to understand the deeper meaning of karate.

Principle 10 – Apply the way of Karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty

This principle follows in the vain of earlier principles. It teaches us to use the concepts we learn during our training and apply them to other areas of our life.

For example, if we approach our training with good spirit and seriousness we foster a strength within ourselves that can be applied to difficult situations, in are daily life.

The discipline built in our training can help us face adversity.


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