Karate’s Twenty Guiding Principles


The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate (also known as Gichin Funakoshi’s karate quotations) is a large book.

For over a century, it has functioned as the genuine karate textbook. It includes 20 chapters and discusses the niju kun (20 principles), all of which gradually describe what karate is.

1. Remember that Rei is the beginning and end of karate.

The karateka’s bow, Rei, reflects their eagerness to learn new things about life and mankind both before and after the competition. To me, this one idea is the bedrock of all karate principles. You will end up taking the conflict personally if you do not respect your opponent.

2. In Karate, there is no such thing as a first strike.

This indicates that karate should not be initiated in a combative manner. That won’t be the case if we know we’re going to be attacked regardless. This rationale may also be seen in kung fu. This guideline, as well as the basic techniques, are extremely important for beginners.

3. Karate Is On The Side Of The Law

This is an essential guideline in the 20 karate principles that have served as the foundation for generations. Karate is constantly used to aid society and the underprivileged. We must speak up for people who are being physically and verbally abused!

4. Get to know yourself first, then get to know others.

We need to understand karate, but we also need to understand ourselves and our minds. You won’t be able to comprehend the art unless you’ve completed the latter two.

5. Mindset vs. Technique

The mind must be freed before the fists and weapons may be used. Whether you use your verbal skills or your limbs and weapons to halt a conflict. Everything should be under the power of the mind.

6. It Is Necessary to Set the Heart Free

Allow your heart to be free of linear notions. It needs to be open to all options. Emotions cannot rule us; rather, we must be the ones who govern them. Gichin Funakoshi pioneered martial arts concepts like these in his book The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate.

7. Accidents are the result of carelessness.

Whether it’s negligence in the technique or in the karateka’s life. It ought to be abolished. Otherwise, we shall be subjected to damage and violence.

8. Karate Isn’t Just For Dojos

A major part of karate is being in fit, both mentally and physically. These values are not just to be applied within the dojo, but also outside of it.

9. Karate Is A Lifetime Sport

Karate is a form of art, and like other forms of art, it must be updated on a regular basis. We don’t just practise it in the dojo; we instil it in our souls as well.

10. Incorporate the Karate Way into all aspects of your life. Therein lays its allure.

Karate isn’t simply a sport; it’s also a way of life. It’s a way of life for them. All elements of life must be influenced by the lessons. Even when dancing, the form must be perfect. Whether dealing with the old or the young, you must always be respectful. Discipline must also be present at all times.

11. Karate is like boiling water; without the heat, it cools down to a tepid state.

In the world of karate, there is no such thing as a “break.” If a karateka takes a one- or two-week hiatus from training, his or her performance will suffer. The art extends beyond the Dojo Kun and throughout the karateka’s entire life.

12. Don’t worry about winning; worry about not losing.

The primary aim is to avoid losing any of the conflicts that occur. You will become increasingly predictable if you constantly focusing about winning. Your opponents will ultimately figure out some, if not all, of your flaws. You can’t afford to lose, no matter what it takes.

13. Make changes in response to your opponent

Just as our regular interactions with our spouses cannot be compared to those with our children. Similarly, we can’t utilise the same strategies and manoeuvres we used against a sluggish opponent against a fast and nimble opponent.

14. The way one handles emptiness and fullness affects the outcome of a battle.

Try to strike your opponent harder while he tries to dodge your blows. Similarly, if he attacks you swiftly, avoid and evade him as quickly as possible. Don’t go head-to-head with what he’s doing. Rather, improvise and triumph.

15.Consider your hands and feet like swords.

The Twenty Guiding Concepts of Karate include this as one of the most combat-defining principles. Your fingers and toes should be quick and nimble. You should aim to do this with all of your limbs every time, much like we can hack and cut flesh with a sword.

16. You Face A Million Enemies When You Step Outside Your Own Gate

Whenever you go out, you must be prepared for every type of situation that may arise. We are not exposed to any foreign dangers at home. However, you should be mindful of the risks that await you after you leave your home.

17. Formal Stances are for beginners; later on, one will naturally stand.

Beginners are taught posture in order to understand how to balance their weight while striking and defending. Beginners, on the other hand, can stand, run, fight, or protect themselves in whatever way they desire after they understand the fundamentals of footwork.

18. Follow the Kata to the letter; actual combat is a different story.

Kata may be described as an idealistic kind of combat. You must not only control the physical but also the mental aspects of it. Kata, on the other hand, is considerably simpler, more predictable, and nastier than genuine battle.

19. Don’t Forget To Use Power Withdrawal, Body Extension Or Contraction, And Technique Application That Is Either Quick Or Slow.

It is not necessary to be aggressive in Shotokan karate all of the time. You will occasionally faint a defence, only to subsequently alter it to an attack. Not every defence, on the other hand, will be quick.

20. In Your Pursuit Of The Way, Be Constantly Mindful, Diligent, And Resourceful

You should always strive to improve on the methods and strategies you’ve learnt. Karate isn’t a one-dimensional sport. It evolves over time while maintaining its essence.


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