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The Principles of Karate #6

(Adapted from Gichin Funakoshi’s Book, The Guiding Principles of Karate)

6.) The mind must be set free.

The Chinese philosopher, Shao Yung, said, “It is essential to lose the mind in order to set it free!” His belief regarding the human mind was that the mind needs to become lost.

He further states, “If one ties down the mind, like a cat on a leash, it will lose its freedom of movement. Use the mind well, letting it go free wherever it will, neither becoming attached to nor restrained by things.”

As a student of Karate, it is important that we keep an open mind in our training. The idea of a “free mind” is to not be encumbered by preconceived notions of how things are. We only slow down our growth by remaining rigid and attached to our own ideas.

Until you gain the wisdom that comes with years of dedicated effort, you do not have the understanding or capacity for mastery of the art. The beginner often remains too rigid in their thoughts and efforts.

Rather it is best to keep humble and prepare yourself to learn by maintaining a mind that is set free. Be willing to listen to your instructor. Sensei means the one who has gone before you. Learn from them with an open mind.

In so doing, you will overcome your mistakes, grow your skill and knowledge and better enjoy the journey to Black Belt mastery.

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