Philosophy, Technique and Fulfillment (1)

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Frankl’s Background

Many styles of karate practiced today incorporate the forms kata originally developed by Funakoshi and his teachers and many different weapons traditionally concealed as farm implements by the peasants of Okinawa. Many karate practitioners also participate in light- and no-contact competitions while some ex. Although Shorinji Kempo was originally introduced in Japan in the late s and s through large scale programmes involving employees of major national organizations e. Japan Railways it subsequently became popular in many other countries. The most simple translation of aiki , as "joining energy", belies its philosophical depth.

Generally, it is the principle of matching your opponent in order to defeat him. It is this concept of "matching", or "joining", or even "harmonizing" all valid interpretations of ai that contains the complexity. One may "match" the opponent in a clash of force, possibly even resulting in a mutual kill. This is not aiki. Aiki is epitomized by the notion of joining physically and mentally with the opponent for the express purpose of avoiding a direct clash of force. In practice, aiki is achieved by first joining with the motion of the opponent the physical aspect as well as the intent the mental portion , then overcoming the will of the opponent, redirecting their motion and intent.

Historically, this principle was used for destructive purposes; to seize an advantage and kill one's opponent. The modern art of aikido is founded upon the principle that the control of the opponent achieved by the successful application of aiki may be used to defeat one's opponent without harming them.


Literally translating as "heart", in context it can also mean "character" or "attitude. It is often said that the art of karate is for self-defense; not injuring one's opponent is the highest expression of the art. Some popularly repeated quotes implicating this concept include:. Literally 'martial way' is the Japanese term for martial art. A code of honor for samurai way of life, in principle similar to chivalry but culturally very different.

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Literally "the way of the warrior", those dedicated to Bushido have exemplary skill with a sword or bow, and can withstand great pain and discomfort. Shigeru Egami : [14]. Words that I have often heard are that "everything begins with rei and ends with rei ". The word itself, however, can be interpreted in several ways; it is the rei of reigi meaning "etiquette, courtesy, politeness" and it is also the rei of keirei , "salutation" or "bow".

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The meaning of rei is sometimes explained in terms of kata or katachi "formal exercises" and "form" or "shape". It is of prime importance not only in karate but in all modern martial arts. For the purpose in modern martial arts, let us understand rei as the ceremonial bow in which courtesy and decorum are manifest. He who would follow the way of karate must be courteous, not only in training but in daily life. While humble and gentle, he should never be servile. His performance of the kata should reflect boldness and confidence. This seemingly paradoxical combination of boldness and gentleness leads ultimately to harmony.

Historical development

It is true, as Master Funakoshi used to say, that the spirit of karate would be lost without courtesy. A term describing 'fighting spirit'. There are two underlying strategic methodologies to the application of force in Japanese martial arts. Implicit in these concepts is their separate but equal and interrelated nature, in keeping with their philosophical relationship to the Chinese principles of yin and yang Jap.

The hard method is characterized by the direct application of counter-force to an opposing force. In practice, this may be a direct attack, consisting of movement directly towards the opponent, coinciding with a strike towards the opponent. A defensive technique where the defender stands their ground to block or parry directly opposing the attack by stopping it or knocking it aside would be an example of a hard method of defense.

Hard method techniques are generally conceptualized as being linear.

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The soft method is characterized by the indirect application of force, which either avoids or redirects the opposing force. For example, receiving an attack by slipping past it, followed by adding force to the attacker's limb for the purpose of unbalancing an attacker is an example of soft method. Soft method techniques are generally conceptualized as being circular. These definitions give rise to the often illusory distinction between "hard-style" and "soft-style" martial arts.

In truth, most styles technically practice both, regardless of their internal nomenclature. Analyzing the difference in accordance with yin and yang principles, philosophers would assert that the absence of either one would render the practitioner's skills unbalanced or deficient, as yin and yang alone are each only half of a whole.

Openings, initiative, and timing are deeply interrelated concepts applicable to self-defense and competitive combat. They each denote different considerations relevant to successfully initiating or countering an attack. Although possible to successfully injure an opponent who is ready to receive an attack, it is obviously preferable to attack when and where one's opponent is open.

Viktor Frankl

What it means to be open may be as blatant as an opponent becoming tired and lowering their guard as in physically lowering their hands , or as subtle as a momentary lapse in concentration. In the classical form of combat between masters, each would stand almost entirely motionless until the slightest opening was spotted; only then would they launch as devastating an attack as they could muster, with the goal of incapacitating their opponent with a single blow.

Each type of initiative complements the other, and has different advantages and weaknesses. Early initiative is the taking advantage of an opening in an opponent's guard or concentration see suki , supra. To fully take the early initiative, the attack launched must be with total commitment and lacking in any hesitation, and virtually ignoring the possibility of a counter-attack by the opponent. Late initiative involves an active attempt to induce an attack by the opponent that will create a weakness in the opponent's defenses, often by faking an opening that is too enticing for the opponent to pass up.

Maai is a complex concept, incorporating not just the distance between opponents, but also the time it will take to cross the distance, and angle and rhythm of attack.

Japanese martial arts - Wikipedia

It is specifically the exact "position" from which one opponent can strike the other, after factoring in the above elements. For example, a faster opponent's maai is farther away than a slower opponent.

It is ideal for one opponent to maintain maai while preventing the other from doing so. The principle of Shuhari describes the three stages of learning. It underlies Japanese interpersonal relationships in many contexts, such as business, school, and sports. It has become part of the teaching process in Japanese martial arts schools. A senior student is senior to all students who either began training after him or her, or who they outrank. The role of the senior student is crucial to the indoctrination of the junior students to etiquette, work ethic, and other virtues important to the school.

The junior student is expected to treat their seniors with respect, and plays an important role in giving the senior students the opportunity to learn leadership skills. Senior students may or may not teach formal classes, but in every respect their role is as a teacher to the junior students, by example and by providing encouragement. There are ultimately two ranking systems in the Japanese martial arts, although some schools have been known to blend these two together. The older system, usual prior to , was based a series of licenses or menkyo.

There were generally very few levels culminating in the license of total transmission menkyo kaiden. It has often been said that forms kata are the backbone of the martial arts. Nevertheless, different schools and styles put a varying amount of emphasis upon their practice. Hall, David A. Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts.

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Kodansha USA, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Further information: History of martial arts , Origins of Asian martial arts , and Modern history of East Asian martial arts. Main article: Sumo.

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Main article: Jujutsu. Main article: Kenjutsu.

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