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Master Funakoshi’s Precepts of Karate-do

1. Never forget: Karate begins with rei and ends with rei. (reihas the meaning of courtesy, respect)

2. There is no first hand in Karate. (There is no first attack in Karate.)

3. Karate supports righteousness.

4. First understand yourself, then understand others.

5. The art of mind is more important than the art of technique.

6. The mind needs to be freed.

7. Trouble is born of negligence.

8. Do not think Karate is only in the dojo.

9. The training of Karate requires a lifetime.

10. Transform everything into Karate; there lies the exquisiteness.

11. Genuine Karate is like hot water; it cools down if you do not keep on heating it

12. Do not hate the idea of winning, while the idea of not losing is necessary.

13. Transform yourself according to the opponent.

14. The outcome of the fight all depends on the maneuver.

15. Imagine one’s arms and legs as swords.

16. Once you leave the shelter of home, there are a million enemies.

17. Postures are for the beginner, later they are natural positions.

18. Do the kata correctly; the real fight is a different matter.

19. Do not forget the control of the dynamics [of power], the elasticity [of body] and the speed [of
technique].

20. Always be good at the application of everything that you have learned.

Master Gichin Funakoshi called people vain who took pride in physical demonstrations of brute strength, like breaking of boards or smashing of tiles, or people who exaggerated their destruction of the human body. He professed that they knew nothing about the noble art of Karate-do. He compared it with playing around in the leaves and branches of a great tree without the slightest perception of the main trunk.