There are two important mottos that we repeat during each class:
Begin with Courtesy and End with Courtesy
Karate Ni Sente Nashi: There is No First Attack in Karate

Precepts For Mastering Karate-Do by Shoshin Nagamine (from The Essense of Okinawan Karatedo)

  1. He is human and so am I.
  2. I cannot develop my own potentialities when in the trap of self-limitations.
  3. I must discard this self-limitation. If he practices 3 times, I must practice 6 times.
  4. “Do not depend upon others for your improvement.” Musashi Miyamoto, Japan’s greatest swordsman, once said, “Pay your respects to the Gods and Buddha’s, but never rely on them.”
  5. Earnestly cultivate your mind as well as your body and believe in yourself.
  6. Karate-do may be referred to as the conflict within yourself, or a life-long marathon which can be won only through self-discipline, hard training and your own creative efforts.

Attitudes to be Kept for Karate Training By Shoshin Nagamine (from The Essense of Okinawan Karatedo)

  1. Karate begins with courtesy and ends with it. Therefore, we must be courteous to seniors, juniors, friends and even foes. We must first purify our minds and always be mentally and physically sound.
  2. We must sweep from our minds all egocentric and preoccupying thoughts during practice, concentrating on all the movements with maxim vigor. When this is done, karate ultimately produces in the individual a vital concentration of energy that expands to heroic proportions in times of crisis.
  3. Karate requires harmony between breath and action. Therefore, we must learn to adjust our breathing until we reach the point where each breath coincides with each of the movements during practice.
  4. Karate requires a perfect finish at the end of each kata performance. Therefore, we must complete each kata practice with full mind and maximum power.
  5. Karate practice must be finished by observing the essential idea that karate begins and ends with courtesy. Therefore, we must end practice by bowing with decorum.

Recommendations for Study by Shoshin Nagamine (from The Essense of Okinawan Karatedo)

The following are important recommendations and mottos under which Karate-do should be learned and Practiced.

  1. Develop karate-do on the basis of its history and traditions.
  2. Study and practice kata strictly and correctly (in order to focus all possible strength into each movement of the kata. Constant repetition is required. The body must be thoroughly trained, and this takes many years. Even after many years, kata practice is never finished, for there is always something new to be learned about executing a movement.)
  3. Study and practice kumite (formalized and free-fighting) not primarily for tournament purposes, but to acquire ma-ai. To develop the martial art sense of reading the opponent’s movements and to develop kiai and stamina which cannot be fully attained through the practice of kata alone.
  4. Fully utilize such methods as rope skipping, exercise with bar bells, dumbbells, chishi (an ancient form of dumbbell), sashi (iron hand grip) to develop the muscles and physical power.
  5. Study the use of Makiwara from every possible angle in order to develop atemi (concentrated destructive power). This force is manifested in such demonstrations as breaking boards, tiles or bricks with the hands or feet.
  6. Include zazen (Zen training in a sitting position) in karate practice for further mind training and understanding of the essence of Karate-do and Zen as one.

The Ethics of the Dojo by Shoshin Nagamine (from The Essense of Okinawan Karatedo)

  1. First, purify your mind.
  2. Cultivate the power of perseverance by strengthening your body and overcoming the difficulties that arise during training.
  3. The dojo is a place where courage is fostered and superior human nature is bred through the ecstasy of sweating in hard work. It is a sacred place where the human spirit is polished.

Seniors and black belts are well aware of these facts. Therefore, beginners are requested to help make the dojo a sacred place by keeping in the mind the above precepts and observing the following:

  1. Always keep the karate-gi (uniform) clean
  2. Help clean the changing rooms, shower, reception room and rest room
  3. Be well versed in the Precepts for Mastering Karate-Do
  4. Be sure to place training equipment where it belongs after use