The Twenty Precepts of Karate

Before he established the JKA, Master Funakoshi Gichin laid out the Twenty Precepts of Karate, which form the foundations of the art. Within these twenty principles, based heavily on Bushido and Zen, lies the philosophy of the JKA.

1. Never forget: karate begins with rei and ends with rei (Rei means courtesy or respect, and is represented in karate by bowing)

2. There is no first attack in karate

3. Karate supports righteousness

4. First understand yourself, then understand others

5. The art of developing the mind is more important than the art of applying technique

6. The mind needs to be freed

7. Trouble is born of negligence

8. Do not think karate belongs only in the dojo

9. Karate training requires a lifetime

10. Transform everything into karate; therein lies its exquisiteness

11. Genuine karate is like hot water; it cools down if you do not keep on heating it

12. Do not think of winning; you must think of not losing

13. Transform yourself according to the opponent

14. The outcome of the fight depends on one's control

15. Imagine one's arms and legs as swords

16. Once you leave the shelter of home, there are a million enemies

17. Postures are for the beginner; later they are natural positions

18. Do the kata correctly; the real fight is a different matter

19. Do not forget control of the dynamics of power, the elasticity of the body and the speed of the technique

20. Always be good at the application of everything that you have learned.