Where Did They Come From and Are They Really Worth Anything?
When I started training in karate, the first rank that our dojo awarded was a black piece of electrical tape attached to the end of our white belts. We worked very hard to earn these first ranks. We were very proud of ourselves for having received our first rank certifications.
"Genuine karate is like hot water; It cools down if you don't continuously keep it over heat."
If you have been practicing karate for any length of time you have undoubtedly heard the 11th of Gichin Funokoshi Sensei’s twenty precepts of karate. “Genuine karate is like hot water; it cools down if you don’t continuously keep it over heat.” It is a precept with an exceptionally profound connotation.
As students of the Way, we have all heard the same precept repeated time and time again by our Sensei the world over, “There is no first strike in Karate,” which is the second of Gichin Funakoshi Sensei’s twenty karate precepts. This is all well and good. However, there seems to be a common misconception about what this statement actually implies. If asked the meaning behind this precept, the vast majority of answers regardless if the karateka level ranges from novice, intermediate, advanced or instructor, will be that it implies that one should never, “throw the first punch.” This interpretation is because we have all been taught that the techniques and tactics learned through karate training are to be used for defense only. Even when observing kata we notice that the first technique executed is usually a blocking technique.
Honshū & Hokkaidō
The two species of wolf native to Japan until their extinction in the early