Thursday, 22 February 2024


(Spiritual Development of the Individuality in Mind and Body)

In essence, Karatedo is a set of techniques and mental attitude systematized and codified in  a martial art which, through  a rigorous and systematic training of the mind and the body, strive to achieve knowledge of oneself and others to ultimately create a state of complete harmony between oneself and the universe .  It is a discipline which advocates the development of a strong body and the awakening of the mind by a constant search for self-perfection both physically and spiritually, in order to fully realize oneself .

Thus, Karatedo is an all-encompassing way of life which, far from being a violent method of fighting, teaches humility   with confidence and courage, and self-defense with respect for life and restraint .

To reach these goals, the mind and body are trained and developed through use of the punching, kicking, striking, throwing, strangling, and arm-lock techniques , which constitute " Karate-ho " (the empty-hand techniques), and through the use of long and short weapons as an extension of the hands to thrust, throw, sweep, and strike " buki-ho " (the weapon techniques) .

Karate-ho and buki-ho together constitute Karatedo .

The meaning of Karatedo : 

The word " karatedo " is composed of three ideograms :
KARA (       ), TE (    ) , and DO (      ) .

"Kara" (in Japanese) refers to one of the most brilliant periods in Chinese history when the T'ang dynasty ruled China (A.D.618-907) and has come to represent China itself for the Japanese .

"TE" means "hand" or "technique". "DO" signifies "philosophical way" or "principle" with which to realize oneself.
Thus Karatedo literally means "the way to self-perfection through the practice of techniques originating during the T'ang period " .

The word "Karate" was first introduced in Okinawa to designate "Chinese fighting techniques" , which included both bare-hand and armed techniques (karate-ho and buki-ho) .
But, as is often the case in the Japanese use of Chinese ideograms, "Kara" can also be written (      ), pronounced (ku or sora), meaning "empty", "free like the air" , or "infinite like the sky" .

Thus, another sense of Karatedo is "the way to self-perfection through the practice of techniques of emptiness",  emptiness being understood both physically (without weapons) , and mentally (with an empty or free mind) .

It is unfortunate that when karate was introduced to Japan, the rising nationalism and antagonism against China at the time of the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895) led some karate instructors to deny karate its first meaning, retaining only the sense of "empty-hand fighting" .  By doing so , they excluded from karatedo one of its important components , buki-ho (the weapon techniques) .

The Value of Karatedo:

Karatedo is essentially a martial art (budo) and as such it is also a means of reaching the "Way" (DO) by the "practice of weapons" (BU) .  As in any other martial art, karatedo is , and requires, a solid discipline .  The body must go through long and strenuous exercises for many years .  This develops not only a strong body but also great strength of character .
Control is required over not only one's techniques but also emotions such as fear, pain, and hate .  As a fighting art, Karatedo involves the confrontation of two wills, each determined to win .  This develops such qualities as fortitude, but also humility and respect for oneself and others .

Karatedo is also a formidable means of self-defense which does not require any particular weapon .  Weapons are always available when needed .  A considerable advantage of karatedo for self-defense purposes is that the defense can be matched exactly with the aggression , if you use a firearm for self-defense, you can not do anything but shoot your opponent .  With karatedo, you can completely dispose off your opponent without maiming or killing him .  Self-defense attitude help the individual avoid many natural diseases and accidents by developing a more careful approach to everyday life .

The physical value of karatedo is unique.  It is an all-around activity which equally develops every part of the body without having to worry about some muscles being underdeveloped or overdeveloped .  It can be practiced anywhere; there are no particular requirements as to the place of practice .  It can be practiced alone without partner; this being definite advantage over most other sports .  Anyone can practice karatedo and benefit from it .

There is always the possibility of matching your training with your physical conditions or goals .  It has now become a very popular competitive sport and as such can satisfy the need of younger people to discover themselves .

The Origin of Karatedo :

The origin of karatedo are lost in antiquity.  In all times and places in the world, people have learned to defend themselves and fight with bare hands first , and then with weapons .
However, the first fighting techniques were mostly defensive . 

The Sumerians, who had created a brilliant civilization with flourishing arts and philosophy some 3700 years ago , practices a form of combat reminiscent to our modern wrestling and boxing scenes of hand-to-hand fighting .

Similar depictions are found on the base relief of Egyptian tombs 3000 years old .

Status of Buddha's  guardians in fighting stances are found at the doors of Indian temples also several thousand years old .

Before the advent of Buddhism in India, medicine had already discovered and codified the vital points of the human body .

The father of modern Karate is Gichin Funakoshi from the island of Okinawa, who, then introduced this art to Japan in 1916, and officially adopted and developed in the 1930's by Gichin Funakoshi .
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