Tag Archives: Gichin Funakoshi

_____ is Like Boiling Water

IMG_0003Learning through practice is like pushing a cart up a hill: if you slack off, it will slip backwards. – a Japanese proverb.

Back in June, I wrote a post (The Difference Between Men and Animals) on the first principle of Gichin Funakoshi’s Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate. Today, I wanted to discuss the eleventh principle, which pertains to everyone, not just martial artists.

Karate is like boiling water: without heat, it returns to its tepid state.

The book explains that continuous study, concentration and diligence is the hallmark of success. Random practice is not sufficient.

This is true of any life pursuit. Go ahead and fill the blank in for yourself.  _______ is like boiling water: without heat, it returns to its tepid state.

banner300x300In the event you filled in the blank with the word WRITING, then perhaps you’d like to know of another opportunity for you to continue your writing training: the Liberty States Fiction Writer’s Conference in Woodbridge, NJ on Saturday March 16, 2013. This conference is for writers AND readers. Not only did I find my agent through this conference, but I also received a publishing offer (I ultimately signed with a different house, but still…magical things do happen in NJ!) There are plenty of workshops to continue craft and a book signing too.

No matter what you filled in the blank with, make sure you keep practicing it. Since this is the time of year to reflect on 2012 and prepare for 2013, this is a good time to think about how you will continue your practice.

What did you fill in the blank with?  What are you planning to do to continue practicing it? I love hearing from you! Please leave a comment below.

~K.M. Fawcett

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The Difference Between Men And Animals

“Do not forget that karate begins and ends with rei.”

This is the first of twenty principles passed down from the father of modern day karate, Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi brought his Okinawan martial art of self-defense to mainland Japan, which contributed to its introduction to the rest of the world.

If you’re wondering what karate has to do with the difference between men and animals, stick with me. You’ll soon understand, Grasshopper.

Rei means respect. Respect for others and respect for ourselves.

We demonstrate this respect in karate class every time we bow…onto the dojo floor, to our sensei (teacher), or to our workout partner. The bow is a sign of esteem, respect and courtesy. The bow signifies our willingness to learn and our appreciation for being taught. It assures our partner of our desire to work together to advance both our training; we are not facing off in combat.

Though anyone can go through the motions and bow when they are supposed to and at all the correct times, if they do not have a sincere heart, they do not possess true rei. As it states in The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate by Gichin Funakoshi, “True rei is the outward appearance of a respectful heart.”

In this book, Funakoshi guides us in the spiritual aspects of martial arts. Yes, contrary to what most American’s think, karate is much more than striking, punching, and kicking. Karate-do is a way of life. A philosophy. And these philosophies are not only meaningful in martial arts, but in our everyday lives. These principles encourage us to take a deeper look at ourselves, at how we live and how we treat those around us.

By now I’m sure you’ve made the connection between the title and the blog post.  Only man can show respect and courtesy. Funakoshi’s book states, “The difference between men and animals lies in Rei. Combat methods that lack rei are not martial arts but merely contemptible violence. Physical power without rei is no more than brute strength, and for human beings it is without value.

All martial arts begin and end with rei. Unless they are practiced with a feeling of reverence and respect, they are simply forms of violence. For this reason martial arts must maintain rei from beginning to end.”

I believe everything must maintain rei from beginning to end, whether its school, career, religion, relationships or time for fun. If we treated everyone and everything with reverence, respect, and courtesy, the world would be a much nicer and safer place to interact.

Are you living your life with true rei? Do you treat yourself and others with courtesy, esteem and respect? Do your characters? What changes can you make right now to demonstrate the rei in your heart? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

FOR FUN: What Spider-man quote relates this statement from The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate by Gichin Funakoshi? “The difference between men and animals lies in Rei.”

~K.M. Fawcett