KARATE PRINCIPLES AS LAID DOWN BY MASTER GIMA ON HIS ‘BEIJU’ 88TH BIRTHDAY
Saiko Shihan Makoto Gimai, on the occasion of his 88th birthday – records his teaching of the pursuit of excellence, revealing to his disciples the depth of karate.
|HEART, TECHNIQUE, BODY||Through hard training, karate seeks to foster a spirit that strives for truth and respect for others. It aspires to a complete and rounded character. In Okinawa, the Karate expert is called Bushi, namely a person of character, pure and noble, who has mastered the mysteries of the true art.|
|GOOD HEART, RIGHT ACTION||Right actions comes from a good heart. With hard work and diligent training, one may achieve a certain level of skill, however, one might struggle for his entire life without being able to attain a certain spiritual level. Since everything comes from the heart; if the heart is in the right place, so will be the form. If the heart is warped, so will be the form.|
|THERE ARE NO OFFENSIVE TECHNIQUES||It is a grave mistake to use karate simply to win quarrels. This is often what the beginner does – acting violently to win contests of strength. Karate is not supposed to provide courage for reckless adventures. There is the story of Matsumura, an old man who had mastered Ryukyu (Okinawa) Karate. He was a man of strong character and great physical strength. One day, he was challenged to a fight by a man. They met in Shuri Castle, in a contest. Matsumura, his eyes flashing, defeated his opponent without even harming him, wearing his opponent down with a defence that gave no opening. We must think of anger as an enemy. Striking out with hands or feet in anger is the mark of a man who cannot control himself. The meaning of ‘bu’ is stopping a spear. In other words, to put an end to fighting or to soothe angry feelings. Right from the beginning, the karateka receives a philosophy of peace, learning not to throw the first punch, which teaches him patience, self-confidence and self-control.|
|UNION OF ZEN AND TRAINING||Y. Yamashima, 10th Dan in Judo, would have 10,000 practices a year. The founder of Goju Karate style, a master named Chojun Miyagi, would get out of bed at five every morning, practice his kata, run an eight-kilometre marathon, practice more kata. Then, he would refresh himself by pouring water over himself and would put a in a full day’s work. At night, he would train again. In other words, poor techniques, techniques that have not been practiced sufficiently, can hold no interest. All skilled people were once beginners. The source of skill is nothing else but the patient piling-up of many hours of practices, in the same way as Zen, one’s time is not spent in meditation.|
|CHARACTER OF NEGATION||Kara in karate means zero or emptiness. Contrary to what one would expect, the state of emptiness is the place where all things come together. This is the special characteristic of Kara. By rejecting the world, retreating to a place cut off from everything, the grandeur and beauty of life is revealed to one. This is ‘kara’.|
|CONTINUITY BECOMES STRENGTH||This means not to give up just because of weakness. By persevering one discovers strengths previously unknown – a priceless gem. From the moment we realize the existence of this priceless jewel within ourselves, we understand the marvellous abilities each of us was born with.|
|THINKING OF ANCIENT TIMES AND TRAINING||The old experts knew that kata could not be neglected. It was the result of hard training and they would practice a single form thousands of times. Practice a wide variety of techniques for a variety of applications – quantityPractice technique – by learning thoroughly the techniques one at a time – qualityWatch, even when on the side-line, instructors and more advanced students to learn from their great experience One learns through imitation and being corrected; learning is enhanced with humility and enthusiasm. Avoid conceit.Avoid complacencyBoasting destroys art.|
|KARATE, LIFETIME||Three years for the peach and chestnut to ripen|
Eight years for the persimmon to ripen
A lifetime for karate. Having begun karate, one continues for his entire life.
|DETERMINATION||With will power, and a refusal to give up, it is possible to steal a jewel from the dragon’s gills.|