Gichin Funakoshi's - "Twenty Principles"

船 越 義 珍 - 二 十 訓

Gichin Funakoshi (1868 - 1957) was the creator of Shotokan karate, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is attributed as being the "father of modern karate". Following the teachings of Anko Itosu and Anko Azato, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1922. He taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association upon its establishment in 1949. Funakoshi published several books on karate including his autobiography, Karate-Do: My Way of Life. His legacy, however, rests in a document containing his philosophies of karate training now referred to as the niju kun, or "twenty principles". These rules are the premise of training for all Shotokan practitioners and are published in a work titled The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate. Within this book, Funakoshi lays out 20 rules by which students of karate are urged to abide in an effort to "become better human beings".

Karate-do begins and ends with courtesy
空手に先手なしThere is no attacking first in Karate
空手は義の補けKarate stands on the side of justice.
先づ自己を知れ而して他を知れFirst know yourself, then know others.
技術より心術Mentality over technique.
心は放たん事を要すThe heart must be set free.
禍は懈怠に生ずCalamity springs from carelessness.
道場のみの空手と思ふなKarate goes beyond the dojo.
空手の修業は一生であるKarate is a lifelong pursuit.

Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty.


Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state.


Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not   losing.

敵に因って轉化せよMake adjustments according to your opponent.

The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength).

人の手足を剣と思へThink of hands and feet as swords.

When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.


Formal stances are for beginners; later, one stands naturally.


Perform prescribed sets of techniques exactly; actual combat is another matter.


Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.


Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way.