Shoto’s Twenty Precepts
These are Master Gichin Funakoshi’s ideas about how karate can contribute to life in general.
- Karate-do begins with courtesy and ends with courtesy.
- There is no first attack in karate.
- Karate is a great assistance to justice.
- Know yourself first, and then others.
- Spirit first; technique second.
- Always be ready to release your mind.
- Accidents always come out of negligence.
- Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.
- It will take your entire life to learn karate; there is no limit.
- Put your everyday living into karate and you will find the ideal state of existence.
- Karate is like hot water: if you do not give it heat constantly, it will again become cold water.
- Do not think that you have to win; rather, think that you do not have to lose.
- Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.
- The battle is according to how you maneuver, guarded and unguarded. Maneuver according to your opponent.
- Think of the hands and feet as swords.
- When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you. It is your behaviour that invites trouble from them.
- Beginners must master low stance and posture; natural body position for advanced.
- Practicing kata is one thing, and engaging in a real fight is another.
- Do not forget: strength and weakness of power; stretching and contraction of body; and slowness and speed of techniques. Apply these correctly.
- Always think and devise ways to live these precepts every day.
Osu is actually a contraction of the Japanese phrase “Onore wa shinobu” which means “I will persevere.” We use osu in karate when bowing to the sensei, to answer “yes” when asked a question, and in response to instruction to indicate that you understand.