Contributors offers insight into the non-physical side of the Martial Arts, often ignored when discussing self-defense.

Moderator: gmattson


Postby gmattson » Thu May 05, 2005 2:11 pm

as interpreted for College and for Business

Many of us have read or studied the Twenty Precepts of Karate-Do, written by Funakoshi Gichin, who is considered by many to be the founder of modern karate. Funakoshi was not the physically strongest practitioner. However, he was a teacher, and his greatest strength was found in his ability to inspire and encourage others to greatness. The Precepts are short in the original Japanese script, which was likely intended to leave room for interpretation. Like kata, they can serve as a blueprint or starting point for further analyses.

Here we add some interpretations and considerations of each precept as it can apply to college studies and/or business. I hope these provoke further thoughts of your own. Please let me know, and they may be included here.

1. Karate begins with courtesy and ends with courtesy.

Start a meeting with warm greetings, and close with a sincere thank-you. When engaged in business discussions, or after listening to a seminar, try and give a compliment before you criticize something. For example, state that you found the introduction, or a certain result very interesting or promising, then follow with your concern or disagreement on another portion of the presentation.

2. There is no first attack in karate.

In business dealings, remain silent, and let the other side make the first offer. If the offer is inadequate, remain silent a bit longer, perhaps politely declining the offer, if the circumstances force a reply. Often, you will force the negotiator (opponent) to offer more than he or she otherwise would have.

3. Karate is an aid to justice.

Respect your juniors as well as your seniors. Be honest in your dealings and promises. The approach will bring trust and admiration from others, and will aid in your own future success.

4. First control yourself before attempting to control others.

Know your own limitations and habits. Improve where you can, but always make reasonable promises within your own limitations, then stick to them, and you will build a reputation of one who can be trusted and counted upon for success. And to know others, mentally put yourself in their shoesä to understand a lion, think like a lion.

5. Spirit first, technique second. Spirit is more important than technique.

Maintain an enthusiasm for knowledge! Remind yourself, even if tired from studies, that this is a precious time, unlike any other in life. If you do this, facts (techniques) will be more readily absorbed by your mind!

6. Always be ready to release your mind.

Be willing to listen, and to incorporate the advice of others into your plans. Sudden shifts in business may be necessary. Remain flexible.

7. Accidents arise from negligence.

Do your homework! Be prepared for every detail and possible discussion for an upcoming meeting.

8. Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.

Every business meeting, even every chance encounter, is training, and will be an opportunity for success and advancement, depending how you use it.

9. It will take your entire life to learn karate, there is no limit.

Training, studying, analysis, improvement never ends. Certainly not with your diploma, or your first contract. No matter how successful you are, you can always learn and accomplish more.

10. Put your everyday living into karate and you will find Myo (subtle secrets).

Pay close attention to the experiences of those who have gone before you. Study both their successes and failures. Re-think their strategies, and apply your own thoughts. Every Master was once a novice, and you are a future Master.

11. Karate is like boiling water. If you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.

Build and maintain study habits. Keep your mind sharp. If you break away from studying over several days, you will have trouble heating up again. A senior of mine notes that water stops boiling the very second he removes it from heat.

12. Do not think that you have to win, think rather that you do not have to lose.

No one in the classroom, or the company, is any better, nor any worse, than you. Push to your limits, and you can do as well as anyone else, if not better.

13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.

Pick your spot wisely in an argument or competition. Fight only the fights that you can win with a competitor in business. Go around, like water, when you encounter a rock.

14. The battle is according to how you move guarded and unguarded (move according to your opponent).

Like the preceding point, be willing to adjust your strategy according to the surroundings. Surroundings include different companies and different levels of negotiation. Blending in with your surroundings (acting in accord with local or customs, or following tradition) can put your adversary more at ease and get you one step up in negotiations.

15. Think of your hands and feet as swords.

It is easy to make excuses. However, you donpt need anything other than what you have in order to succeed. Make do, and win, with your own resources and effort.

16. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you. It is your behavior that invites trouble from them.

In the classroom, or in the boardroom, look to the left and right. These are your competitors (opponents). Conduct yourself in a friendly and cordial manner, but maintain enough poise so that you are never considered an easy target.

17. Beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body positions are for the advanced.

Play by the rules at first. Develop your own style and approach as time goes on.

18. Practicing a kata is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another.

Your studies are to prepare you for life. The classroom and internships are just training ground, and the real stuff will come after.

19. Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body and slowness and speed of techniques.

It is true that he who hesitates is lost, but it is also true that fools rush in where wise men fear to tread. There are times for each approach, and if you remain observant, you will learn which to use and when.

20. Always think and devise ways to live the precepts every day.

Review how things have gone. Keep a notebook of your thoughts, and look for ways to handle things better next time. Turn any failure into a future success.

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