The Maxims of Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do By Shoshin Nagamine
Courtesy: Karate begins with courtesy and ends with it. No one is qualified to be a karate man without courtesy even if he excels others in his technique. Courtesy means always asking yourself whether you are pursuing karate-do for the purpose of seeking peace and showing your deep respect for others. That is why the practice or demonstration of Kata begins and ends with a bow. The bow represents one’s recognition of the true meaning of courtesy.When we pursue karate-do, we try to learn the theory and its application from our predecessors and senior karate men with respect and courtesy. On their part, they teach us with due regard and consideration, yet with strictness. We must respect this sort of mutualism in which an open-minded relationship between senior and junior karate-men is observed. This too is what we call courtesy.
Cleanliness: A karate-man must always try to keep his body and mind clean and right. Once he loses his righteous and pure mind, it is no longer possible for him to concentrate on karate practice. In this connection he should learn something important from the following proverb: “There is no reformation of yourself without keeping yourself clean, and no cleanliness without keeping your mind right.”
Diligence: Steady and hard effort can produce miracles as we can see in the example of Japan’s miraculous economic restoration from the ashes of the war. Traditionally, the Japanese are a hard-working race. This national trait enabled them to achieve the prosperity that Japan now enjoys.As a diligence is firmly rooted in the spirit of bushido (way of the martial arts), so we must bestow it on our younger generation so they may overcome the difficult situations they encounter.