6th , 2016
week's TFTW is from Mr. Bill Briedenbach, Sho-Dan, from
NoVA Ueshiro Karate Club.
During one of my earliest training sessions lead by Hanshi
Scaglione, he mentioned that he reads portions of Master
Nagamine's "The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do"
every day. I also started to study Master Nagamines
words, the following are a handful of insightful passages
from the book that express the moral teachings for the path
we've chosen. As in learning the physical part of karate,
"the way" is also a lifelong endeavor to becoming
a better person. We may never achieve a perfect kata, or
become perfect beings, but we can continue to polish the
complete stone, and thoroughly enjoy the journey.
FROM THE ESSENCE OF OKINAWAN KARATE DO
· Karate is a training of both mind and body, and
leads one to a better understanding of both the self and
the world. Karate is self-training in perfection, a means
whereby a man may obtain that expertise in which there is
not the thickness of a hair between a man and his deed.
It is a training in efficiency. It is a training in self-reliance.
Its rewards are here and now, for it enables a person to
meet any situation with exactly the right expenditure of
effort, neither too much nor too little, and it gives him
control of his otherwise wayward mind so that neither physical
danger from without nor rampant passion from within can
· Description of te from a classic Okinawa poem:
No matter how you may excel in the art of te, and in your
scholastic endeavors, nothing is more important than your
behavior and your humanity as observed in daily life.
· The essence of karate lies in the process by which
individuals make the utmost effort in an attempt to create
limitless power by the utilization of true wisdom. The martial
arts originated from the instinct of self-preservation,
and ultimately aim at building a well-balanced person of
sound mind and body through continuous practice. It is here
that the spirit of karate-do lies.
· The mastery of karate-do requires dedication and
strenuous effort. To pursue karate means to seek to master
one's self. The true study of karate must transcend the
mere physical -it must become a way of life.
· Karate-do may be referred to as the conflict within
yourself, or a life-long marathon which can be won only
through self-discipline, hard training, and your own creative
· Courtesy: Karate begins with courtesy and ends
with it. No one is qualified to be a karateman without courtesy
even if he excels others in his technique. Courtesy means
always asking yourself whether you are pursuing karate-do
for the purpose of seeking peace and showing your deep respect
for others. That is why the practice or demonstration of
kata begins and ends with a bow. The bow represents one's
recognition of the true meaning of courtesy.
· Cleanliness: A karateman must always try to keep
his body and mind clean and right. Once he loses his righteous
and pure mind, it is no longer possible for him to learn
karate for the right purpose. Once he lacks cleanliness,
it is no longer possible for him to concentrate on karate
practice. In this connection he should learn something important
from the following proverb: "There is no reformation
of yourself without keeping yourself clean, and no cleanliness
without keeping your mind right."
· THE ETHICS OF THE DOJO
· First, purify your mind.
The dojo is the place where courage is fostered and superior
human nature is bred through the ecstasy of sweating in
hard work. It is the sacred place where the human spirit
· Karate-do, however, means a way of life based on
karate or karate-life, in which one conquers himself and
comes off a winner without any use of the art in a strict
sense. In other words, its significance lies in fighting
down the inner enemies, which are greater than the external
enemies, by building up a sound body and mind through painstaking
discipline of body and mind by means of karate practice.
This concept is nicely summarized in the karate precept,
He who conquers his mind is the greatest warrior.
In short, it can be said that karate-do aims at building
up the whole man by karate training lasting
the remainder of ones life. These considerations are
summarized in the words: there is no first attack in karate.
· Karate-do has become international in scope. From
the small island of Okinawa it has spread to all parts of
the world. The way of karate can be followed by anyone-man,
woman, or child-and through karate training one can attain
the highest ideals of beauty and strength. This beauty and
strength is both inner and outer, mental and physical.,
Bill Breidenbach, Sho-Dan
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Northern Virginia