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The Principles of Karate #13

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

13.) Make Adjustments According to Your Opponent.

The famous strategist Sun Tzu wrote the following regarding “Fullness and Emptiness” in his work, The Art of War…

“The form of an army should imitate water. Water avoids the high and seeks the low; soldiers should avoid the enemy’s fullness (strength) and attack his hollows (weakness).

Water regulates its flow depending on the shape of the terrain; and army achieves victory by responding to the enemy.

Thus it can be said that there is no standard military operation, just as there is no normal shape to water.

He who gains victory by skillfully adapting to the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses is called exalted.”

This principle deals with one’s mental attitude in battle, as well as in life. Most of us don’t regularly face a military opponent in battle though. For most of us, our day-to-day stresses and life challenges are our opponent.

By the way, if you don’t have any challenges in your life, stay tuned. They’re coming.

As our Karate training teaches us to be flexible and adapt to our sparring partner, we must also stay fluid and adapt to life’s circumstances. We figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Failure is a great teacher. We will get knocked down but we learn. Make mistakes…make wrong turns…but learn from them and make adjustments as needed.

To be successful in meeting life’s challenges and opportunities, we must not be rigid and unbending in our thinking with preconceived notions that are often wrong. Stay fluid and make adjustments as you grow in knowledge and understanding.

Just as you become wiser and find success in your martial training, so will you experience success in life as you learn to adapt.

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