The 20 Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi Sensei

(regarded as the father of modern karate)

1. Karate-do begins with courtesy and ends with rei (respect).
2. There is no first strike in karate.
3. Karate is an aid to justice.
4. First know yourself before attempting to know others.
5. Spirit first, technique second.
6. Always be ready to release your mind.
7. Accidents arise from 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 “Myo” (subtle secrets).
11. Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.
12. Do not think that you have to win, think rather that you do not have to lose.
13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.
14. The out come of the battle depends on how you handle weakness and strength.
15. Think of your opponents hands and feet as swords.
16. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you.
17. Beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body positions are for the advanced.
18. Practicing a kata exactly is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another.
19. Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body, and slowness and speed of techniques.
20. Always think and devise ways to live the precepts of karate-do every day.

The Ten Precepts of Anko Itosu

Anko Itosu (1832-1915) was one of karate’s true innovators; he was the creator of the Pinan kata and was responsible for introducing karate onto the Okinawan school system. To make karate suitable for children, Itosu watered down the karate he taught to them. As part of this, he started teaching kata without their applications so that the children could gain the physical benefits of kata training without irresponsibly giving them knowledge of the violent and brutal methods the kata were created to record.

In 1908, Itosu wrote a letter outlining his views on karate and explained why he felt karate should be introduced on to the Okinawan school system. This letter gives us an insight into karate as it was coming out of the shadows and beginning its journey to becoming an art practised by millions.

Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China . Both of these schools have strong points and I therefore list them below just as they are without embellishment.


  1. Karate is not merely practiced for your own benefit; it can be used to protect one’s family or master. It is not intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding injury by using the hands and feet should one by any chance be confronted by a villain or ruffian.
  2. The purpose of karate is to make the muscles and bones hard as rock and to use the hands and legs as spears. If children were to begin training naturally in military prowess while in elementary school, then they would be well suited for military service. Remember the words attributed to the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon, “Today’s battle was won on the playing fields of our schools”.
  3. Karate cannot be quickly learned. Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand leagues. If one trains diligently for one or two hours every day, then in three or four years one will see a change in physique. Those who train in this fashion will discover the deeper principles of karate.
  4. In karate, training of the hands and feet are important, so you should train thoroughly with a sheaf of straw (#). In order to do this, drop your shoulders, open your lungs, muster your strength, grip the floor with your feet, and concentrate your energy into your lower abdomen. Practice using each arm one to two hundred times each day.
  5. When you practice the stances of karate, be sure to keep your back straight, lower your shoulders, put strength in your legs, stand firmly, and drop your energy into your lower abdomen.
  6. Practice each of the techniques of karate repeatedly. Learn the explanations of every technique well, and decide when and in what manner to apply them when needed. Enter, counter, withdraw is the rule for torite.
  7. You must decide if karate is for your health or to aid your duty.
  8. When you train, do so as if on the battlefield. Your eyes should glare, shoulders drop, and body harden. You should always train with intensity and spirit as if actually facing the enemy, and in this way you will naturally be ready.
  9. If you use up your strength to excess in karate training, this will cause you to lose the energy in your lower abdomen and will be harmful to your body. Your face and eyes will turn red. Be careful to control your training.
  10. In the past, many masters of karate have enjoyed long lives. Karate aids in developing the bones and muscles. It helps the digestion as well as the circulation. If karate should be introduced, beginning in the elementary schools, then we will produce many men each capable of defeating ten assailants.


If the students at teacher training college learn karate in accordance with the above precepts and then, after graduation, disseminate this to elementary schools in all regions, within 10 years karate will spread all over Okinawa and to mainland Japan. Karate will therefore make a great contribution to our military. I hope you will seriously consider what I have written here” – Anko Itosu, October 1908

(#) – Translator was not a martial artist and hence translated the word “Makiwara” to “Sheaf of Straw” when leaving the word un-translated would have been fine.

The Five Reasons Why Gen-Y Should Learn Martial Arts

Martial arts is becoming increasingly popular amongst Generation-Y, especially with the increasingly popularity of MMA and the UFC. Learning a martial art, whether it’s karate, taekwondo, judo or jiu-jitsu is more than just a method of self-defense and kicking butt. There are many psychological, spiritual and physical benefits of getting involved in martial arts. Here are the top five reasons you should consider learning a form of martial arts.

It teaches honor and respect.

Traditional martial arts, such as karate or judo, will teach you the importance of putting your ego aside and respecting your instructor, as well as others in higher positions, such as your parents or elders. Learning martial arts reinforces etiquette, respecting rules and following a code of honor. You’ll learn to show some humility, for some day, you’ll be in a position of power and know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.

It teaches you to use non-violent conflict resolution.

Learning martial arts teaches you to mentally and physically refrain from violence and only use it for self-defense when it’s the last resort. Martial artists will try to refrain from conflict and use non-violent conflict resolution skills, emphasizing the importance of avoiding a physical altercation. In the real world, it’s equivalent to having the mental discipline to refrain from getting into fights with stupid people.

10 Reasons to Learn Martial Arts

In this 21st century, kids and youth all have now been used to modern gadgets and equipment like video games, play stations and specially internet using which they can do anything sitting at home. Still they like to play outside with friends but have you ever thought this passion of playing can be used in making them learn martial arts.

Karate, judo, kick boxing and a lot more are the various options you can use to get yourself perfected in martial arts. Learning martial arts is not only fun but will benefit a lot more than that helping in every aspect of life and will give positive results. People face problems like obesity, violence and many other problems which they are not able to fight off, so getting trained in martial arts will help you to get away from these problems. Be it children, men or woman everybody can take classes of martial arts and develop their own inner self. I am sure many of you must be thinking why only martial arts should be learned. Here are the top 10 reasons why one should learn and train in martial arts:


Getting influenced by positivity makes every individual’s life better. The more you are surrounded by positive influences, the more you interact with people. Joining martial arts sessions will give you the same feeling as you get to interact socially with positive people around you. You will have many people of various age groups from kids to adults who will always have great companionship with everybody and bring out positive influences for you. This will always leave an everlasting impact on you and make you feel more positive towards life.


It is an obvious thing that you try to set a goal and try to achieve it through meaning in your daily life. Just like that martial arts teaches you to set a goal by setting up an end in your mind. This built in system of earning belts helps to focus on the aim of your goal peacefully by letting you do hard work. Once you achieve your desired goal, then it will give you better results which will carry on throughout your life.


Many people are short tempered and lose patience which becomes violent at times. Martial arts training helps you to control your inner self and be at peace. It teaches not only your body but your mind also to be in control. Once you start practicing, you will be able to feel the real calmness in yourself. Before defending yourself you need to defend your inner self by controlling your emotions too.


Being coordinated in life is as important as being in self-control. Martial arts is such a technique to make yourself perfect in co-ordination. But it will only be formulated with growing time as it involves hand, feet, concentration and psychological co-ordination. All these are required at a very high level because it will make you feel complete after its accomplishment. You just need to keep on practicing to make your body co-ordinating with the pace of the training. Martial arts help you to enhance these abilities with every step of learning.


Who dosen’t wants to learn about the basic but essential life skills. Of course every individual wants this, so the best way to gain your life skills is through the activity of martial arts. Giving respect, having focus on something, showing courtesy, setting and achieving goals are some of the most important life skills that you will learn in the training of martial arts. With every phase of the training you will keep on maturing in these skills and even help to share it with others. Concentrate and try to understand the basic meaning of the activity and the message it conveys towards you. If you develop these skills you will go far and achieve success in your life in any field.


Are you a fitness freak? Or are you not concerned about your health? Being healthy and fit is everybody’s concern in today’s time. But there are many people who are not able to look after themselves and either gain weight or lose weight simultaneously. Trying many remedies to get over of all this but still not able to achieve any results, so the best way to be fit is to join any of the martial arts training and start your way towards a healthy life. Apart from fighting or self defense it makes you focus on your physical fitness and improve your flexibility, stability, endurance and strength at a faster rate. You keep on learning martial arts and see a drastic change in your fitness level when your muscular strength increases and makes your body powerful. Since it is just like exercise, it develops and enhances versatility which leads towards a healthier lifestyle for people belonging to any age.


You must have often heard and seen that many traditional sports activities are regarded as team activity and being a sport. But here martial arts unlike others is not about teamwork but about enhancing and improving your individual personality. It pushes you towards a challenge of achieving your best without any distractions and your own hard work. Martial arts training teaches you principles and rules of life that you should instill in your character when it starts getting developed. Day by day you become better by involving yourself in the training which makes you stronger and discover your inner-self.


Being disciplined in and about life is a must for everybody. Although as a fact, martial arts can be harmful for the people trying to attack you but it mainly focuses on teaching you to respect and motivate others who are positive about life. Self-discipline is itself a trait of its own in your soul which not only provides you with the ability to make choices but makes you accountable for your own actions. Just like you develop your skills with a growing pace, you develop a high level of self-discipline.


Many people lack confidence if it comes to regarding anything. So, learning martial arts will help you to gain this lacking confidence with time. As you start getting trained in martial arts your confidence level increases moving up to the ranks. You are not only evaluated against other persons but against your potential too. Although martial arts is based on the many other terms but it basically helps you to achieve success by boosting your confidence. Each time you achieve your success through your dedication and hard work, your confidence level increases within yourself.


So, here comes the most important and crucial part of learning martial arts as well as for life. Have you ever given thought to why people fail to protect themselves at times?  That’s because they are not able to defend themselves. So go for a martial arts class because it most importantly teaches you self-defense which will not only help to protect yourself but save other people’s lives as well. For girls especially, it’s the best way to indulge yourself in any of the martial arts training sessions as it will make you fight against anyone who may try to harm you. Children are especially taught how to avoid confrontations after they recognize a potentially dangerous situation. Martial arts teaches you strategic self defense.