Friday, June 23, 2006

The Kempo Hakku

If you buy a gi from Shureido, they usually include a large tri-folded cardboard insert that has a funky picture of Bodhidharma along with a bunch of text written in Japanese. I never knew what the Japanese text said, until today. I was visiting the Shureido store in Naha (picking up a bunch of stuff!) and when the saleswoman was packing up the items, I noticed she included an extra piece of paper with the tri-fold cardboard insert. I was hoping it might be a translation of the text and when I opened my bag of goodies I was happy to see it was indeed an English translation! Here's a picture of the text (with my numbered annotations), along with the English translation (click on the image for a larger view):

Title: The Kempo Hakku (The eight laws of the fist)
1. The mind is one with heaven and earth.
2. The circulatory rythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon.
3. The way of inhaling and exhaling is both hardness and softness.
4. Act in accordance with time and change.
5. Techniques will occur in the absense of conscious thought.
6. The feet must advance and retreat separate and meet.
7. The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.
8. The ears listen well in all directions.

I've been told I really need to work on number 5. I tend to think too much with my karate.

There's a pretty good web site here that has a less stylized kanji version of this. If you visit that site, you can move your mouse over each line and a pronunciation along with an English translation will appear for that line.


Shiloh said...

Ditto on #5!!!

DB said...

Hi Brian!
The Kenpo Hakko is from the Bubishi. Have you read it? There are several interpretaions in English.(I might have one in the dojo.)
The kenpo hakko is used as a Dojo Kun by Tatsuo Shimabuku (my first teachers brother) for Isshin-ryu karate. I'm sure that Angie will recognize the kanji in the third line as the the name of Goju-ryu karate. This specific line in the kenpo hakko is where Chojun Miyagi stated he got the name of his system of karate.
As far as #5 goes- you first must correctly develop the techniques (give yourself some time, 10 years or so, and then "abandon concious thought". Most beginners problems stem from an inability to think precisely enough and quickly enough. In martial arts technique, mindfulness must be developed to the highest degree before one indulges in spontenaity. This is why too much sparring in the early years of training can be detrimental.
Keep doing what you are doing! You are on the right Path!
As far as myself- I am working at embracing #4!
Have fun!

DB said...

One more thing Brian, Master Odo's most frequent direction to us all was "THINK". We were always scolded or warned about practicing technique without thinking!