The 10 Lessons of Grandmaster Itosu: Revisiting Karate’s Most Valuable Historical Essay

People keep e-mailing me on how to learn more about the history of Karate.

They’re lost.

And I totally understand them.

The vastness of historical Karate information online is baffling to say the least. To the uninitiated, finding valuable Karate info on the interwebz could be likened to finding the metaphorical needle in the haystack. You need to literally wade through tons of forums, message boards and questionable Wikipedia articles to find one ounce of new, verifiable, historical Karate knowledge that can take you further in your quest for becoming the best Karate-ka you can be.

It’s a jungle out there.

So of course people will e-mail me.

Because they know I like to keep it simple.

See, when it comes to understanding the history of Karate, I have a theory:

I believe it’s always in your best interest to just find a few good historical hotspots, milestones, events or people – and then simply use those as a starting point in your own “research”. By gradually identifying, learning about, understanding, and hopefully even connecting these historical high points then, you’ll eventually have a stronger grasp and clearer picture of the complete history of Karate than people who waste their time reading unreliable online articles, blogs, forums or books on the “Complete History of Karate from A to Z”.

Know what I mean?

So, with that being said, there’s a dude I think you need to learn about today. A guy who is as historically important to Karate as French fries are to hamburgers – if not even more.

His name?



That’s right.

Itosu Anko sensei.

The “grandfather” of modern Karate – largely responsible for the fact that you and I are training Karate today (whether your sensei admits/knows it or not).

The man responsible for bringing the once obscure art of Karate out of its secretive darkness into the light of modernization.

Ever heard his name?

Of course you have. I mention his name several times throughout my articles. And so do many other people, he’s a Karate legend. But still… you don’t really know that much about him… do you?

Here’s the only picture (discovered quite recently) of Itosu sensei:

The only known photo of Itosu Anko (second row), 1909.

So who is this man, Itosu Anko, (some Japanese people also incorrectly pronounce his name Yasutsune) really then?

Well, that’s what I thought we could try to figure out today, by revisiting and analyzing his epic historical essay on the “Ten Lessons of Karate”, an important document Itosu sensei wrote in 1908 which ended up providing the very infrastructure upon which the modern tradition of Karate unfolded.

Sounds cool?

That’s what I thought.

But first things first:

You see, Itosu Anko, who was born in 1831 as an allegedly shy and introverted child, was active in the Okinawan Karate community during a very special time: A time when the Japanese army seriously considered officially importing Karate to mainland Japan (because they were so impressed by the physical conditioning of several Okinawan conscripts during their medical examinations in 1891), but ultimately ended up losing interest in it because of its outdated training methods, poor organization, lack of standardization and the great length of time it took to gain proficiency in the art. In other words, old-school Karate training could not adequately serve the needs of the six- to eight-week boot camp training which the Japanese military demanded.

However, that was not until a unique campaign surfaced, spearheaded by none other than a certain Itosu Anko sensei, with the aim of modernizing Karate’s practice and purpose to spread its popularity.

A bold move, which would forever put this locally respected Okinawan Karate teacher in the annals of Karate’s history.

The beginning of modern Karate – Shuri Castle, Okinawa.

Strongly believing in the greater value of Karate for youth development, in 1901 Itosu sensei had begun teaching old-school Karate at the Shuri Jinjo Elementary School, and then in 1905 at the First Junior Prefectural High School and at the Okinawa’s Teachers College.

In other words, he was the first sensei trying to actively open up the previously secretive art of Karate to larger groups, and in the process ended up discovering that the old ways of teaching did not always appeal to the youth. So, in turn, he set out to improve Karate; for instance by developing the Pinan/Heian kata (to coordinate the previously sporadic introduction of Karate techniques for beginners), as well as reorganizing, simplifying and dividing many of the older kata (like Naihanchin, Kusanku, Gojushiho, Passai etc.) of Okinawan Karate.

In other words, by linking the past to the present, Itosu’s crusade to modernize Karate resulted in fundamentally altering its practise.

For good and bad.

With master Itosu removing much of what was then considered too “dangerous” or “inappropriate” for schoolchildren to learn (hey, would you want your kids to learn groin kicks, eye gouges or headbutts in school?), the emphasis of Karate radically shifted; from a sophisticated art of self-defense to a new model of physical fitness – heavily emphasizing things like the value of group kata practise (but at the same time neglecting its original purpose of bunkai) and kihon techniques.

In this way, ignoring the spiritual foundation upon which Karate once rested, and no longer advocating its original self-protective principles (to immobilize or maim an opponent), the old discipline of Karate became obscured and a new tradition evolved. Things like kata – once believed to hold the deeper essence of Karate – virtually became reduced to exercises for health, fitness and recreation.

This radical transition period, headed by Itosu sensei, ended up representing the ultimate termination of a previously secret self-defense art and the birth of a modern Karate phenomenon.

And what a ride it was.

As history then tells us, the movement was ultimately culminated in Karate becoming a part of the official physical education curriculum of Okinawa’s school system at the turn of the century, eventually making its way to mainland Japan (giving rise to school/university clubs, tournaments, mass teaching methods, rankings/belts, instructor courses etc.) and later the rest of the world.

But… how did he do it?

I mean, how did one man set in motion this huge machine of global Karate development?

Original scannings of the text.

(Of course there were other influential people taking part in this process too, but Itosu sensei was the principal progenitor.)

Well, if you ask me, one of the main reasons for the success of Itosu’s campaign for spreading Karate was his 1908 address to the Ministry or War and Ministry of Education, an essay nowadays referred to as the “Ten Lessons of Itosu”, where Karate’s true aims and objectives are succinctly laid out by master Itosu himself in order to convince the leaders of Japan to introduce Karate to the educational system.

This letter, which fortunately enough survived the WWII bombings of Okinawa, still exists to this day – and has given a lot of researchers epiphanies when trying to better grasp the totality of Itosu’s masterplan through analyzing his preserved manuscript on the essence of Karate.

And if I know you right, you’re dying to read it by now (right?)!

So, to help you better understand the history of what you practise today (and why!); today I have the exclusive permission and pleasure of re-publishing an original translation of Itosu Anko’s essay in question, skillfully translated by Patrick McCarthy sensei, the Western world’s foremost researcher and author on Karate’s history and culture.

Because, like I mentioned in the beginning, let’s face it: Although it would be cool for you to read tons of Karate history books, I believe it is way more practical for you to just get a grip on a few noteworthy historical points in the timeline of Karate (my job is to expose you to that) – with this document being one such milestone.

Also, and I hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty of chopping up the essay to sprinkle it with my own commentary.

Hopefully it will prove a valuable addition to the original translation.

(If not, sue me.)

Now, enjoy:

“Ten Lessons of Karate”


“Karate did not descend from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the olden days two schools of Karate, namely the Shorin and Shorei style, were introduced from China. Both support sound principles, and it is vital that they be preserved and not altered. Therefore, I will now mention here what one must know about Karate.

Right off the bat, Itosu makes it very clear that Karate has no religious foundation (although some present-day “masters” undeniably seek to give Karate pseudo-Buddhism/Confucianism undertones). It is a martial art, period. He then goes on to state that two distinct Chinese styles of martial arts influenced Karate historically (which researchers suggest could be the ‘northern/southern’ kung-fu styles, Shuri-te/Naha-te, or the so called ‘internal/external’ (hard/soft) kung-fu), but that they both rely on the same basic principles, which he then outlines in his ten following precepts.

1. Karate does not only endeavor to discipline one’s physique; if and when necessity arises whereby one has to fight, Karate provides the fortitude in which to risk one’s own life in support of that effort. Karate is not meant to be employed against an adversary, but rather as a means to avoid the use of one’s hands and feet in the event of a potentially dangerous encounter.

As his first point, Itosu basically states that although Karate will get you in great shape and make you physically stronger, it will also give you the self-confidence and mental strength you need in order to successfully avoid a possible encounter – and if that doesn’t work it will give you the courage to even sacrifice your own health for the greater cause.

In essence, Itosu defines Karate as a defensive martial art used as last resort.

2. Karate’s primary purpose is to strengthen the human muscles, thus making the physique as strong as iron and as hard as stone. One may then use the hands and feet as weapons – such as the spear and halberd. In doing so, Karate training cultivates bravery and valor in children and should, therefore, be encouraged within our elementary schools. Do not forget what the Duke of Wellington said after having defeated Emperor Napoleon: “Today’s victory was first achieved from the discipline attained within the playgrounds of our elementary schools.”

Now, Itosu seems to get a bit more political with his message (which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the original purpose of writing this text was to convince the authorities of Japan to make Karate mandatory for schoolchildren, after all).

He boldly states that the primary purpose of Karate is to strengthen the various muscles, and make your hands and feet sharp as spears; implying that if all schoolchildren of the nation were to practise Karate, the country would even eventually be so powerful that it could have kicked Napoleon’s ass! In this last statement, the highly educated Itosu reveals his knowledge of Western culture and military history by attributing a quote to the Duke of Wellington, further improving his case.

3. Karate cannot be adequately learned in a short time. Like a torpid bull, regardless of how slowly it moves, it will eventually cover 1,000 miles; and so it is for the one who resolves to study diligently two or three hours each day. After three or four years of unremitting effort, one’s body will undergo a great transformation, thus revealing Karate’s very essence.

Not wanting Karate to look like a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme, Itosu now proceeds to tell us that Karate is a serious endeavor and will take time to adequately learn. Karate is not a fad, it requires great resolve and diligence. But when it has been deeply studied, for a few hours each day over a few years, it will have radically transformed you. In other words, it might take time – but it will totally be worth it.

4. One of the most important issues within Karate is the training of the hands and feet. Therefore, one must always use the makiwara [traditional Okinawan punching board] in order to develop them thoroughly. To do this effectively; lower your shoulders, open your lungs, and focus your energy. Grip the ground firmly in order to root your posture and sink your ki – commonly referred to as one’s life force or intrinsic force – into your tanden (spot just below the navel). Following this procedure, perform 100-200 tsuki (thrusts) each day with each hand.

Itosu now slowly starts sailing more and more into the combative aspects of the art. In this fourth precept he goes into detail on how to properly prepare for, and use, the makiwara. Since the makiwara was the #1 impact training tool at the time, this would translate in today’s terms to using a punching bag, focus pads, kick shields or similar. Although many Karate-ka these days would consider these implements pretty “non-traditional” for Karate, using gear like these clearly seem to be pretty much in line with what Itosu sensei was encouraging: Heavy impact training used in an intelligent way for developing your technique.

And still we’re punching in the air…

5. One must maintain an upright position withing Karate’s training postures. The back should be straight, loins pointing upward with the shoulders pulling downward, and a springiness should be maintained in the legs. Relax, and bring together the upper and lower parts of your body with the ki force focused in your tanden.

Here Itosu goes more into the postures and stances of Karate, if only on a very basic (yet highly important!) level. As a sidenote, it’s pretty surprising to me that so many people have such a hard time with these basic points of Karate’s combative posture, but I guess it’s just a matter of practise.

(Why the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of War in Japan would be interested to read these points are not really clear to me, but I have a feeling Itosu is slowly losing track of his political agenda and is now undoubtedly revealing some of of his true Karate Nerd™ nature. I recognize the situation!)

6. Handed down by word of mouth, Karate comprises a myriad of techniques and corresponding meanings. Resolve to independently explore the context of these techniques, observing the principles of torite (grappling/joint locks) with the corresponding theory of usage – and the practical applications will be more easily understood.

Stabbing right at the heart of many modern-day “kata bunkai experts”, Itosu here clearly states that there never were any real written records on the meaning of Karate’s numerous movements – so you will therefore need to independently explore the various techniques of Karate yourself; including grappling, joint locks, takedowns and escapes (collectively referred to as torite in old-school Karate) in order to truly understand the various possible applications of Karate’s techniques in general, and kata in particular.

As he also states, the context of these techniques is highly important too: When studying kata – which is, after all, a record of the original Karate Itosu is trying to describe here – we need to ensure that we understand that kata were created to record methods for civilian self-defense, and not mano-a-mano fighting (à la MMA or dojo sparring).

It is when people view kata from an eye-to-eye/fistfight perspective that they misunderstand the nature of its applications (bunkai) and subsequently come to incorrect conclusions about how effective kata applications should look. Things like fancy footwork, different guards and openings, cool feints, various tactics, combinations and rhythms are great to practise for a consensual fight but are irrelevant for civilian self-defense; which is why such methods never appear in kata.

Sure, you can force a square peg into a round hole, but it won’t look right.

Itosu tries to tell us this.

7. In Karate training, one must determine whether a specific application is suitable for defense or for cultivating the body.

Now, at this point, something tells me Itosu had the same problem back in his days as I have now: People keep asking if this or that technique would work in the notorious ‘street’. However, instead of slapping his students silly, Itosu simply writes an acknowledgement in this precept that that yes, there are in fact some moves in Karate which are not suited for self-defense (but rather designed for “cultivating the body”) and a distinction must be made between these, lest one wishes to end up with a big hospital bill. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

This holds especially true for the more modern types of Karate, where unnaturally deep stances, unrealistic 1-2-3 step sparring and flashy kicks seem to be more predominant. Your mileage may vary.

8. Intensity is an important issue for Karate training. To visualize that one is actually engaged upon the battlefield during training does much to enhance progression. Therefore, the eyes should dispatch fierceness while the shoulders must be kept low; contract the body whenever lowering the shoulders, and contract the body when blocking a strike or delivering a blow. Training in this spirit prepares one for actual combat.

Echoing the words of legendary samurai warrior Musashi, here Itosu goes even further into the combative aspect of Karate; advising us to keep the same mindset in the dojo as in the pub. In other words, you are what you eat. Practise what you preach. The more you sweat in the dojo, the less you will bleed in the unforgiving street.

By regulting your intensity in practise (trying to match it with your expectations of reality) you will be better prepared when/if the time comes for you to actually use your Karate in “actual combat” (jissen). For most of us that time is never, but hopefully the mindset will carry over to other aspects of your life.

9. The amount of training must be in proportion to one’s reservoir of strength and condition. Excessive practise is harmful to one’s body, and can be recognized when the face and eyes become red.

Now, with the previous precept just being written (on the intensity of practise), Itosu suddenly seems to remember that not everybody need to kick themselves in the ass as hard. Karate is a way of life, and as such should promote the health of its practitioners. Adapt the intensity and volume of training to your own capabilities (making sure not to get stuck in any comfort zone though!) in order to have a long and prosperous Karate career.

10. Karate practitioners usually enjoy a long and healthy life thanks to the benefits of unremitting training. Practice strengthens muscle and bone, improves the digestive organs and regulates blood circulation. Therefore, if the study of Karate were introduced into our curricula from elementary school, and practised extensively, we could more easily produce men of immeasurable defense capabilities.

With these teachings in mind, it is my conviction that if the students at the Okinawa’s Teachers College practise Karate they could, after graduation, introduce Karate at the local levels; namely in the elementary schools. In this way, Karate could be disseminated throughout the entire nation and not only benefit people in general but also serve as an enormous asset to our military forces.

Itosu Anko,

October 1908 (Meiji 41, Year of the Monkey).”

Finally, ending his essay by going back on track with his original mission (getting Karate accepted for school), Itosu hints at the possible benefits for the country as whole – both in the military, educational and health sectors – if Karate were to be accepted by the authorities.

And, as you and I are living proof of, he succeeded.

Although the subsequent popularization of Karate produced numerous “offsprings” of various quality and quantity (and new ones pop up every day) the historical significance of Itosu’s original movement, as embodied in his above essay, remains vital and shouldn’t be forgotten.

At least that’s what I think.

And yes, the history of Karate is messy. But those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Therefore, I encourage you to share this article with your peers.

I just opened the door.

You decide if you’re going to enter.


  • Patrick McCarthy
    Hi Jesse san, As always, nicely done my friend ... I'm so proud of you. BTW, congratulations on making the team selection to represent Sweden in the forthcoming WKF World Karate Championships in Paris. Also, congrats to Oliver on his recent fight victory and my best to Silja, too. Keep up the great work.
  • Josep
    Yes, he got what he wanted.
  • I've always thought (even though he was the creator of "modern" karate) that Itosu Tanmei's "ten lessons" provide an excellent window into an older approach to the art. I enjoyed your commentary too. thanks.
    Hello Sensei Jesse tha's rigth, this paper of ten lessons of soke ITOSU GIVES YOU THE GUIDE OF THE ESSENCIAL WAY how to learn more deep about the history and evolution of karate but not only that one and the other martial arts please keep spraying your excellent research of the essential of it,thanks a lot of for doing your nice work,,os
  • Diego Romero
    i approve!
  • SnowWhite
    I promise I'll go back and read the rest, but I got hung up on this: (some Japanese people also incorrectly pronounce his name Yasutsune) Why do you say that Yasutsune is an incorrect pronunciation? I have read that Anko is an incorrect translation. Can you elaborate? thanks! dawn
    • Hey Dawn-san: The kanji (Sino-Japanese characters) for writing Anko can be read in two ways (commonly referred to as "on-yomi" and "kun-yomi"): Anko(u) and Yasutsune. The Okinawans have always used the "Anko" reading, but as more and more written knowledge on Karate began spreading throughout Japan, some influential people on the mainland who never had heard the name being pronounced IRL naturally assumed the reading would be "Yasutsune", (which sounds more like a samurai or warlord!). However, visit Okinawa and talk to any historian/researcher or author on Karate, and they'll only use "Anko" (just as many old Okinawans still call pioneers like Motobu Choki "Saaru" and Kyan Chotoku "Miigwa" etc). At least in my experience.
      • james
        Not exactly! I would go back and re look at that answer from a different angle and not assume so much. The article is good, but has to much guess work and misses a few key points.
  • Hi Jesse, Thank you for taking the time to source, discuss and dissect such a valuable essay. You're right; a lot of the info out there on Karate is a bit shaky, and it is easy for young/inexperienced karate-ka to be misled by bad writing and poor research. Essays like this are invaluable, and I hope to find a way to turn it into a clever studying document for when my black belt rolls around. Your work is much appreciated! Regards, Zoe
    • Thanks for your comment Zoe-san, appreciate it!
  • Rui Paulo Sanguinheira Diogo
    I think you can put the "buddhism/ confucianism" thing in a better historical context: Itosu wrote this letter still in the Meiji period, even being in the later Meiji period. Of course karate is a martial art and not a religious practice (I wouldn't call confucianism a religion either...), but the reason he emphasizes this right in the beginning, lies in the past. The japanese feudal system especially the samurai caste had strong ties with buddhism and confucianism. There did even exist buddhist military clans which were very similar to the christian military orders of the middle ages, while the social order was based on confucian theory. The japanese koryu martial arts were founded and practiced by the samurai caste that was abolished. The ryukyuan society was also strictly confucian and karate was the martial art of the ryukyuan aristocracy. So if you wanted karate being adopted by the new japanese state that wanted to abolish all the antiquated customs of the outdated feudal societies then it shouldn't have any connections to buddhism and confucianism! Japan was supposed to become a modern empire and the traditional ways were considered wrong and decayed! In addition buddhism and confucianism didn't have their origins in Japan. They were not japanese! They originated on the asian mainland continent, coming from the indian subcontinent and China. This is also the reason why a new Shinto religion was imposed, banning buddhist worship from temples and shrines that were used by both religions and devoting all Shinto shrines to the Tenno – actually making them shrines for the newly created state! This is an important side note, because of course Karate was based on confucian philosophy ( also daoist metaphysics and it could be traced to some buddhist origins, too): The teaching and practice method with formalized sequences, relying heavily on symbolism is very, very confucian. So is the idea of self-cultivation, the idea of "do" or the humanist ideals that were proclaimed by the early karate teachers. You can find similar things in other japanese or chinese arts. So karate was very confucian and Itosu was twisting the truth a little bit to get karate out of the dusty fug of the unwanted, feudal past. But at the same time Itosu didn't lie: It didn't have its origin in confucianism and it's not an integral part of it! Furthermore, I have another theory regarding the point with the applications (if this is in fact a valid translation of Itosu's letter, of course): Itosu does state that there are no *written* records of applications, yes, but at the same time he states that there was a great amount of applications which were passed on verbally in addition to the forms! Also, he did not write that you'd need to explore the *techniques*, but that you need to explore the *context* and the principles of the *theory* which has been taught (accompanying the kata). This means that someone teaches you the applications and priciples in theory, but you still will have to practice that all on your own in order to fully understand it. It does not mean that you had been taught the forms and have got to – or even can – "explore" the vast amount of technique on your own! No, according to Itosu your instructor teaches them to you! (Just imagine if you only learn the physical procedures of calligraphy without further explanation and teachings. If you couldn't read and write before then you can't learn it by painting symbols of which you don't know the meaning! At least not without doing a lot of comparative research – which however is something different!) There were teachings that today appear to be lost! Actually common sense and nothing more than "Karate consists out of kata and kumite". On the technical context of karate which you have described: I can only agree. I can't see any of the modern karate ideas in the kata either, they don't belong into self-defense and were not part of the original karate.
    • Thanks buddy, appreciate your comment and analysis! ;)
      • Rui Paulo Sanguinheira Diogo
        . o O (Once more "very creative handling of semantics"...)
  • Szilard
    A monk asked the Zen master: Did karate not descend from Buddhism? The Zen master said: `I should groinkick you, and then hit your chin with my elbow, and lastly backfist your nose; but today I forgive you.' The next day the monk bowed to the Zen master and asked: `Yesterday you forgave me three blows. I do not know why you thought me wrong.' The Zen master, rebuking the monk's spiritless responses, said: `You are good for nothing. You simply wander from one dojo to another.' Before the Zen master's words were ended the monk was enlightened.
    • SPOT ON! :)
    • Rui Paulo Sanguinheira Diogo
  • Gerry
    Jesse, have you read this article? It's about Osamu Ozawa who was a student of Gichin Funakoshi. The impression I get is that the "student karate" of his day was far more brutal then we may have imagined, so the "dumbing down" of the kata for school students may not be accurate.
    • Cool, will check it out! Thanks Gerry-san.
  • Narges
    A very interesting and enlightening post Jesse-san. You had me completely hooked there. I couldn't take my eyes off the monitor.
  • Isaac
    Thanks, great job always right on
  • Alex
    I have to comment on your interpretation of number 5, in which Itosu Sensei describes the basics of Karate stances in detail. It does not make sense that the rest of his letter is so focused and calculated (including the quote from Duke Wellington, for example) to achieve his ends, yet he fell to rambling during the middle. I instead believe that he was using a sort of metaphor here. When he says "bring together the upper and lower parts of your body," he very well may be directly addressing the Ministries, telling them to bring together their own high authority and Karate's more secretive, deep understanding. He was using a subtle technique in order to convince his audience on a different level. I'm sure that other points he makes could be similarly interpreted. I don't think it would be "reading too much into it" to say that Itosu Sensei had a strong purpose for every word in that letter.
    • Interesting idea, Alex-san!
  • Dave In Minnesota
    Nice article, Jesse. :)
  • David Wilkening
    Great Article!
  • Matthew
    I always feel like training after reading your articles. Osu!!!!!
  • Barbara Hesselschwerdt
    What a great 'summary' of karate and it's benefits. I will be rereading this many times. It gives me much to ponder. Thanks for the great article.
  • Lukas
    Great! This is all so interessting! For the first time i begin to understand WHY history has its place in our world;)
  • Lesego
    Very interesting read. Also interesting how many different levels van be applied to this essay. Nicely done Jesse-san. Keep up the great work (got to it 2 years after you posted it, but better late than never right?) Definitely sharing Osu!
  • A
    Darn, he was just a puppet of the Japanese Imperialists and militarists so hip at the time, promising to breed valor and shit into elementary school children for a good post in return. :P
  • David
    When you say that the Okinawan karate that existed at the time did not meet the requirements of the Japanese military's needs for a compressed program, you're referring to the same military that went on to an unprovoked attack on the US and the resultant deaths of thousands of American servicemen and tens of thousands of civilians ( including Okinawans)? When you talk about the noble virtues of the bushi/samurai you're referring to the same philosophy that resulted in machine-gunning POW's, raping female occupants of conquered lands, performing "medical"experiments on prisoners and civilians, torture, etc., correct? The same divinely inspired warrior culture that was completely and utterly defeated by the strength, tenacity and technological capabilities of the US and our armed forces, correct? The reality is that almost all of the advancements in the fighting arts in the past 50 years have been attributable to the west, especially the USA. The role of scientific training, strength and conditioning, modern protective equipment, professional schools, MMA, combatives self defense, scenario based training, cross training,..even this internet I'm typing on now had very little to do with ancient Okinawa, Shaolin monks, ninjas or samurais. Be careful about who you choose to put on those pedestals. Peace.
    • Rick Brown
      Wow, David, are you are racist or just a troll? Either way, you are a moron.
  • Rick
    Interesting In the Intro it say “karate did not descend from Buddhism” then it goes on to say that one of the two olden days Karate methods was named Shorin. At least it hint that one of the methods had some link to the Shaolin temple, a Buddhist temple....But of course that doesn’t necessarily mean karate came out of religious ideas and scriptures...And then immediately in the first precept the ultimate goal of karate practice is avoid fighting, could be interpreted as a Buddhist value?
  • Mario
    Sensei Anko Itosu: Jesus Christ of Karare.
  • When Itosu sensei wrote in his Ten Precepts (Tode Jukun) of Karate publiched in 1908, "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..." he was actually refering to Chinese masters, Waishinzan (Shorin-ryu), Ason (Shorei-ryu) and Iwa (Shorei-ryu) (Note: These names are Okinawan pronounciations of their original Chinese names), who immegrated to Okinawa and taught kung fu in Okinawa known as "Tode (China hands)." However, Okinawan martial arts have existed long before their arrival in the 1800's. The question we should ask is why there is "To (China)" in front of "de (or "te" meaning "hand" or "method"). The answer is simple, "te" refering to Okinawan martial arts were already there when the Chinese method (kung fu) was introduced, so they distinguished it as "Chinese way" versus traditional "Okinawan way." These Chinese masters influenced karate but they were not the sources. In my opinion, the real origin of the Okinawan martial arts tradition goes back to 1185 (over 600 years prior to the beginning of Shorei and Shorin) when the Heian Period ended and the Ryukyu kingdom received many Hei-ke (Taira Family) warrior refugees as immigrants. Unfortunately, there is no record left because these refugees were hiding their family descents and kept their martial art traditions within thier own families. That is the main reason that Okinawan karate was an hidden martial art until the 1800's when Okinawa, as well as the rest of Japan, ended its isolationism and started opening up the country.

Leave a comment