Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

March 6th , 2016

This 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 Nagamine’s 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.


· 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 dislodge him.

· 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 efforts.

· 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."


· 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 is polished.

· 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 one’s 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.,

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu,
Bill Breidenbach, Sho-Dan
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Northern Virginia