When we look at an architectural design built somewhere in the fifth century, we know it had to have been built on a strong foundation, in order to be still standing centuries later. For karate, that foundation is its philosophy, with the respect as one of its fundamental building blocks, and the bow as one of respect’s expressions. Without these elements – preserving the spirit of karate, the physical forms are just fragments taken out of context; a shallow structure.
As described in the words of one of our style’s predecessors: “Karate begins with courtesy and ends with it. No one is qualified to be a karateman 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…” our school’s teachings are deeply rooted in this philosophy, because we believe that its applications are greater than the walls of a dojo. As we carefully observe the bow to each other and to the place of learning, we “plant” two important “seeds”: one is that of respect, the other is that of self-discipline. Anyone who masters those two, is on the way of conquering him/herself, and a person who has achieved that, can make a profound difference in a community, our country, the world.
Everything in karate has its purpose; every motion significance. Our goal in sharing the traditional karate is helping others to not only become martial artists, but also to build a personal foundation ready to withstand the challenges of time and all of life’s elements…all beginning with the bow.