13 Mar

I would like to begin to construct a foundation for the future articles that I have planned for this weblog. This two part submission will provide you with a look at two examples of martial maxims, or percepts. These maxims were originally intended to guide two divergent groups of warriors. In the one instance, Karate-Ka (practitioners of Karate) and in the other instance, American soldiers during World War II. In part one, I will present to you what is known in  Karate circles as the “Twenty Percepts of Sensei Funakoshi”. In part two, I will provide you with the text of a letter written by General George S. Patton to his field commanders  during World War II.

For purposes of this two part article, I will simply present to you these maxims. You may wish to reflect on them and consider how the maxims extend to situations that we encounter in our daily lives, such as sports, business scenarios, familial relationships and the like. In order to guide your reflection of the material that follows, you must, in the words of Sensei Funakoshi: “Kokoro wa hanatan koto wo yosu.”  This phrase is explained in the translation below.

The Twenty Percepts of Sensei Gichen Funakoshi (See Endnote # 1):

Sensei Gichen Funakoshi

1. Karate begins with respect and ends with respect. (Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru koto wo wasuruna).

2. There is no first attack in Karate. (Karate ni sente ashi).

3. Karate is an auxiliary of justice. (Karate wa gi no tasuke).

4. Know thyself, then know another. (Mazu jiko wo shire, shikoshite tao wo shire).

5. Intuition is more than technique. (Gijutsu Yoi shinjutsu).

6. Let your mind go. Free your mind. (Kokoro wa hanatan koto wo yosu).

7. Misfortune always occur in negligence. (Wazawai wa getai ni shozu).

8. Do not think that Karate is only in the Dojo. (Dojo nomino Karate to omou na).

9. Karate practice is lifetime work; there is no limit. (Karate no shugyo wa issho de aru).

10. Put your everyday living into Karate, you will find peace. (Arai-yuru mono wo karate-ka seyo soko ni myo-mi ari).

11. Real Karate is as hot water returning to cold water if energy is not constantly applied. (Karate wa yu no goto shi taezu netsudo wo ataezareba mot no mizu ni kaeru).

12. Do not think of winning, but it is necessary to think of not losing. (Katsu kangae wa motsu na makenu kangae wa hitsuyo).

13. Alternate defense to the enemy. (Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo). (# 13 and # 14 should be read in conjunction).

14. The battle is according to how you maneuver the unguarded and the guarded. (Tattakai was kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari.

15. Think one’s hands and feet as a sword. (Hito no te ashi wo ken to omoe).

16. When you leave your home you have numerous enemies. Your behavior invites trouble. (Danshi mon wo izureba hyakuman no tekki ari).

17. Beginners must master all postures without intellection, after it becomes natural. (Kamae wa shoshinsha ni ato wa shizentai).

18. Kata must be performed correctly without change, real fight is different. If Kata is done correctly and mastered, in real fight the flow is as water and maneuver kyo-jitsu correctly. (Kata wa tadashiku jissen wa betsu mono).

19. Strength is strong and soft body stretch and contract technique slow and fast, do not forget. (Chikara no kyojaku (strong and soft) Karada no shinsuku (stretch and contract) Waza no kankyu wo wasuruna (slow and fast)- all in conjunction).

20. Always think and live the percepts everyday. (Tsune ni shinen kufu seyo).

For purposes of this article, I have presented the above, without my commentary, so that you may read and reflect upon the manner in which the martial observations, dictates and commands of these two warriors can be applied to your daily life. I wish you fulfillment in your consideration. Until part two of this article, I remain, “Tsune ni shinen kufu seyo.” (See Endnote # 2).

Sensei John Szmitkowski, Soke, Jiriki Kata-Do


  1. Sensei Gichen Funakoshi is the founder of a popular style of Karate known as “Shotokan”. The percepts of Funakoski-Sensei may be found in Kim, Richard, The Classical Man, (Masters Publications, 1983).
  2. See Sensei Funakoshi’s percept number 20.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to martial protocol and ideology applied to fly-fishing by clicking the following link: WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

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