Shoto’s Twenty Precepts

Shoto’s Twenty Precepts 

These are Master Gichin Funakoshi’s ideas about how karate can contribute to life in general.

  1. Karate-do begins with courtesy and ends with courtesy.
  2. There is no first attack in karate.
  3. Karate is a great assistance to justice.
  4. Know yourself first, and then others.
  5. Spirit first; technique second.
  6. Always be ready to release your mind.
  7. Accidents always come out of negligence.
  8. Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.
  9. It will take your entire life to learn karate; there is no limit.
  10. Put your everyday living into karate and you will find the ideal state of existence.
  11. Karate is like hot water: if you do not give it heat constantly, it will again become cold water.
  12. Do not think that you have to win; rather, think that you do not have to lose.
  13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.
  14. The battle is according to how you maneuver, guarded and unguarded. Maneuver according to your opponent.
  15. Think of the hands and feet as swords.
  16. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you. It is your behaviour that invites trouble from them.
  17. Beginners must master low stance and posture; natural body position for advanced.
  18. Practicing kata is one thing, and engaging in a real fight is another.
  19. Do not forget: strength and weakness of power; stretching and contraction of body; and slowness and speed of techniques. Apply these correctly.
  20. 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.

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