FunakoshiFounder of the traditional Karate Gichin Funakoshi synthesized Karate training and Zen Philosophy in these 20 Precepts to make Karate-do his “Way of Life”. As described in his book, Funakoshi made the Karate training his way of living by absorbing the essence of its philosophy. He was a respectable and honorable man who lived a long and healthy life that made people curious about the secret of his longevity. He had his own “Center Line” about life,  believing in what he was doing and living with moderation.
Doesn’t really matter if you are into Karate or not. The understanding of the 20 Precepts will give you a glimpse of this honorable, respectable and clear minded “Way of Life”.

  1. Karate-do begins and ends with bowing.
    一、空手道は礼に始まり礼に終る事を忘るな
    Hitotsu, karate-do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto o wasaru na
  2. There is no first strike in karate.
    一、空手に先手なし
    Hitotsu, karate ni sente nashi
  3. Karate stands on the side of justice.
    一、空手は義の補け
    Hitotsu, karate wa, gi no tasuke
  4. First know yourself, then know others.
    一、先づ自己を知れ而して他を知れ
    Hitotsu, mazu onore o shire, shikashite ta o shire
  5. Mentality over technique.
    一、技術より心術
    Hitotsu, gijitsu yori shinjitsu
  6. The heart must be set free.
    一、心は放たん事を要す
    Hitotsu, kokoro wa hanatan koto o yosu
  7. Calamity springs from carelessness.
    一、禍は懈怠に生ず
    Hitotsu, wazawai wa ketai ni seizu
  8. Karate goes beyond the dojo.
    一、道場のみの空手と思ふな
    Hitotsu, dojo nomino karate to omou na
  9. Karate is a lifelong pursuit.
    一、空手の修業は一生である
    Hitotsu, karate-do no shugyo wa isssho de aru
  10. Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty.
    一、凡ゆるものを空手化せよ其処に妙味あり
    Hitotsu, ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; sokoni myomi ari
  11. Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state.
    一、空手は湯の如し絶えず熱度を与えざれば元の水に還る
    Hitotsu, karate Wa Yu No Gotoku Taezu Netsu O Atae Zareba Motono Mizuni Kaeru
  12. Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing.
    一、勝つ考は持つな負けぬ考は必要
    Hitotsu, katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo
  13. Make adjustments according to your opponent.
    一、敵に因って轉化せよ
    Hitotsu, tekki ni yotte tenka seyo
  14. The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength).
    一、戦は虚実の操縦如何に在り
    Hitotsu, tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari
  15. Think of hands and feet as swords.
    一、人の手足を剣と思へ
    Hitotsu, hi to no te-ashi wa ken to omoe
  16. When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.
    一、男子門を出づれば百万の敵あり
    Hitotsu, danshi mon o izureba hyakuman no teki ari
  17. Formal stances are for beginners; later, one stands naturally.
    一、構は初心者に後は自然体
    Hitotsu, kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai
  18. Perform prescribed sets of techniques exactly; actual combat is another matter.
    一、形は正しく実戦は別物
    Hitotsu, kata wa tadashiku, jisen wa betsumono
  19. Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.
    一、力の強弱体の伸縮技の緩急を忘るな
    Hitotsu, chikara no kyojaku tai no shinshuku waza no kankyu
  20. Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way
    一、常に思念工夫せよ
    Hitotsu, tsune ni shinen ku fu seyo