Training in karate teaches us not only self-defense but, to respect others as well as ourselves. We train our body to be strong, and our mind and spirit to be patient, in order to become the best human beings we can be. Karate is a spiritual endeavor, a way to develop a person as an individual. Everything we learn in the dojo, or training hall, should be applied to everyday life. Karate training is not always easy. Often times it can be very difficult and demanding. This is also true of life. If we can overcome obstacles in our training, it enables us to have a strong character to do the same in our everyday lives.
The very essence of karate, the main purpose of training – is all about improving ourselves. We must always work hard at this. When we take responsibility to become persons of good character and integrity, we will be doing our part to make the world a better place, which in turn can help to bring peace to the world. This was the legacy of Master Gichin Funakoshi. It is also my personal goal, and the goal of the International Shotokan Karate Federation, to teach not only karate techniques, but moreover, to do my best to guide our members in the understanding of what it means to be a true martial artist. A true martial artist constantly strives to be a good human being.
I have been very fortunate to have been taught by some of the best instructors in the world in Shihan Teruyuki Okazaki, Senseis Frank DiNunno, Hiroyoshi Okazaki, Takamichi Maeshima, Yutaka Yaguchi, Shojiro Koyoma, Cathy Cline and many more, too numerous to list here. I have been guided, and influenced by Shotokan greats of the past such as Master Gichin Funakoshi and Master Masatoshi Nakayama. It is their spiritual inspiration that gives me the determination and resolve to pass on to my students what they have passed on to us in Shotokan karate. Master Nakayama assured Master Funakoshi that he would keep the Dojo Kun and Niju Kun principles front and foremost in our karate training and I in turn will do the same. It is my sincere hope that all of our members do the same and pass on Master Funakoshi’s philosophy for generations to come.
As human beings, we are all the same, and have the same vulnerabilities. This is human nature. We can overcome many things if we first understand and accept this about ourselves. If we accept the good and the bad about ourselves, it is much easier to accept these things in others. And to be a true martial artist, we must accept nature and continually work on perfecting our character. This daily process should be as routine as waking up in the morning. Everyone has within them the power to be good human beings and to bring this out in one another. That is the true power of a good martial artist.