The Principles of Karate #14


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

14.) The Outcome of a Battle Depends on How One Handles Emptiness and Fullness (Weakness and Strength).

As mentioned in Principle #13, Sun Tzu taught, “The form of an army should imitate water.” That idea can be applied to our Karate training as well as our everyday lives.

Like water, we need to adapt to the daily circumstances that we encounter in training and in life.

When it comes to sparring or practicing self-defense with multiple partners, you find that you don’t handle each one quite the same way. You adapt your approach or techniques…you capitalize on their weaknesses, and try to neutralize their strengths.

Life is much like that. Be willing to adapt your approach to what life throws at you.

Circumstances, events, relationships, stresses…good or bad, we face these everyday.

And how we respond…how we think…how we act and react…these largely determine the quality of our life and ultimately the outcome.

We need to be fluid, not rigid, as we capitalize on our strengths and shore up our weaknesses. It is important to maintain one’s resolve, one’s principles, but also to be flexible enough to adjust to the confrontations and challenges of life.

As Master Funakoshi states, “Be flexible rather than fixed and unchanging…move freely and skillfully and adapt.”

This is a key to excellence in our training as well as a well-lived life, knowing that life is a journey with many opportunities to become stronger while we overcome our weaknesses.


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