person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth.
blood circulating is similar to the Moon and Sun.
manor of drinking is either hard or soft.
person’s unbalanced is the same as weight.
body should be able to change direction at anytime.
time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.
eye must see all directions.
must hear all sides.
are the eight precepts “rules” of the code of Isshin Ryu.
Each precept expresses a key idea in the study of martial arts.
Each is applicable to real life situations inside and outside of
the dojo “training center”.
Tatsuo Shimabuku found these ideas to be critical to Isshinryu karate.
were passed along to students as key concepts to think upon during their
martial art careers. Each
student may come to understand these precepts in different ways, but
there are some basic interpretations described below.
person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth:
Mankind is just one element of nature, one species that lives in the
environment and interacts with everything around him.
A person may interact with nature in a good way or a bad
way; the wise person knows that it is better to interact in a good
way and therefore be in harmony and at peace with the world.
Master Tutsuo Shimabuku related this story: An
old Chinese man was traveling the countryside when a terrible storm
broke loose. Upon
seeking shelter in a nearby cave, the man found himself face to face
with a tiger that had also taken refuge in the cave from the rain.
The old man made no motion towards the tiger, and so the tiger,
which bore no malice towards the human, was not threatened by the
man’s presence. In this way, the two shared the cave until the
storm passed. They
both had a common interest, and therefore the old man and the tiger
were in harmony. If a
man’s heart is the same as Heaven and the Earth, he has no need to
blood circulating is similar to the Moon and Sun:
The Moon and Sun create day and night, light and dark, heat
and cold. It is this
alternating process that is necessary for life itself; without these
complementary forces, plants wouldn’t grow, animals dependent on
plant life wouldn’t grow, seasons wouldn’t change, and energy
would stagnate. Living
things must move, grow and change or they will die.
So all things, all life, are constantly in motion.
Like the Moon and Sun, they are constantly in motion across
the sky. The blood
moving within our bodies keeps us alive and growing; therefore we
are part of nature, similar to the Moon and Sun.
manor of drinking is either hard or soft:
The principle of
yin-yang, or complementary opposites, is prevalent in Eastern
thinking. There is
always more than one way to accomplish something.
One can either sip water or one can gulp it quickly.
Both are just different ways of achieving the same results.
In karate, one can meet an attack head-on, force against
force, or one can parry or redirect and attack gently, almost
effortlessly. Each has a
purpose, and a good student will learn both the hard and soft way to
do something or a technique.
person’s unbalanced is the same as weight:
If you are
unbalanced, then it only takes a minimum of effort for an opponent
to upset you, and the more unbalanced a person is, the harder they
will fall! This precept
is applicable to many situations.
If someone has weak qualifications for their job, then they
will be unbalanced. That
is, they will perform their job poorly, and may be upset by a task
beyond their capability. The
will fail eventually and thus “fall down” on the job.
The martial arts teach students to be balanced, not only in
terms of the physical aspect during training drills, but also in the
mental and emotional aspect of life as well.
body should be able to change direction at any time:
This needs little
explanation, from a karate student’s viewpoint; a student must
learn to shift their weight, change their stance, and move in any
direction needed to avoid a strike from an opponent, or deliver a
strike to their opponent themselves.
Similarly, in life one must always be ready to “go with the
flow”, to react to any situation they find themselves in at a
moment’s notice. Adaptability
in order to handle problems of any nature coming from any direction
is a valuable talent for anyone to learn and cultivate.
time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself:
In karate training, this of course means that the time to hit
your opponent is the moment when your opponent is most exposed or
vulnerable. It does
little good to attack someone with a flurry of techniques, if the
target is well protected and easily defending themselves.
It also makes little sense to wait until someone has
their hands tightly around your neck before you start to defend
yourself from a choking attack! It
is better to choose the most advantageous time to strike or act, and
do so with clarity and certainty.
In life, the same rationale holds true: the
time to accomplish something is when the best opportunity presents
itself to you.
eye must see all sides:
a student must know what’s going on around him at all times.
Recognizing a possible danger before it becomes a threat is
the best method of defeating that danger.
On a deeper level, students are taught to remain slightly
unfocused at all times, using their
peripheral vision, not allowing their attention to become so
monopolized by one thing that they are unaware of the other
situations happening around them.
From a mental perspective, a person must strive to understand
situations from other people’s viewpoints as well.
See the situation the way someone else sees it, and you will
understand that person better.
ear must hear all directions:
Tied directly with precept “rule” seven, this is
developing an awareness of sounds all about you, knowing what’s
happening outside your visual range.
Your ears may detect things your eyes do not, alerting you to
dangers or situations that you might otherwise walk blindly into.
It also means learning to put aside your own opinions and
listen objectively to someone else, even if you don’t originally
agree with them. It may
be that by listening to their side more closely, you better
understand where they’re coming from, and can better see the
situation as they see it.