"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
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"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
What is the Ken-po Goku-i?
The "Kenpo Gokui"(Secrets of the Fist Way), taken from the Bubishi's "8 Poems of the Fist." Shimabuku Sensei reportedly received his Ken-po Goku-i from his Goju-ryu teacher, Miyagi Chojun. This document was very important in the development of Isshinryu. Shimabuku Tatsuo would give copies of the ken-po goku-i to his early students.
Advincula Sensei relates information on this as follows:
Isshinryu's Kenpo Gokui is from White Crane. The Kenpo Gokui is the yin while "Kihonteki, kata and kumite" (practiced until they become "one") is the yang of Isshinryu. Tatsuo used the I Ching which influenced his creation and practice of Isshinryu. We can see this in the Kenpo Gokui.
Kenpo gokui is a code which is often called the Pome of kenpo (Karate). The word kenpo is made from two kanji or Chinese characters; ken means "fist" and po means "law". Kenpo means "fist method" or "Law of the fist."
A code is a systematic statement of a body of law. A law is a system of principles or rules that also include a moral code. A moral code is a state of mind that dictates moral practices or teachings, modes of conduct, and ethics. Conduct is the act, manner, or process of carrying on in different situations be it mental or physical. A code is also a system of symbols letters or numbers used to represent assigned (and often secret) meaning(s).
The Kenpo gokui has eight precepts (as does article 13 of Bubishi). Precepts are principles intended as a general rule of action. Action is a function of the mind, body, and/or one of its parts, and can also be the manner or method of performing something. This can be brought about by altering or modifying each precept (much like the I-Ching) to suit a certain situation. Each situation can be dealt with by physical force or with (civility) reasoning. Reasoning means using the mind and drawing inferences or conclusions through the use of reason and or argument. Argument demands reasonable thinking and thought.
The Kenpo gokui is a micro I Ching (Book of changes/wisdom) in the form of a very terse, forty word pome (a pome of wisdom). The very reason it is called essential. The Kenpo goku puts the "Do" in karate for it is the very essence of karate.
The gokui are the "Essential principles of a system". To Tatsuo Sensei these precepts of the Kenpo Gokui were so important that he gave his students a copy written in kanji on silk.
The Kenpo gokui is rich in history and knowing it brings more value to Isshinryu as an art. Karate is not just punching, striking, and kicking; it is about life and harmony. Harmony of Mind, body, and spirit. Harmony of cultures.
This is a set of thoughts as taught in the Isshinkai, a group dedicated to the preservation of traditionally taught Isshinryu by Tatsuo Sensei.
You find many variations from system to system even in the splinter groups of the Isshinryu system. Not many actually have any understanding as to its purpose in karate but those who wish to go beyond the mere physical manifestations, to even find more of the physical, can discover many things by the research, investigation, study of the silk certificates.
A couple of notes one should consider when in receipt of the English translation. It was written by someone other than Tatsuo Sensei who provided the kanji versions. It should be understood that the English versions don't connect exactly to the characters for those are more subjective in relation to the times, customs, and beliefs of the person who wrote it, it was written long, long ago by Chinese who passed it down within the system of ken-po or way of the fist.
I found that it can and does provide more than just its minor connection to karate or any other martial system that has it in their teachings. I see that it has connections to the I Ching or book of changes, the tao-te-ching, and other older translated Chinese classics.
I see it as a key that can and does open many doorways revealing many paths with a variety of signposts that when followed lead to more answers and more questions that result in a never ending endeavor to learn, understand and practice both karate and all of life's encounters, etc.
I hope this short and vague answer inspires the reader to seek out, investigate, analyze and understand it and its implications for there is not right answer, only the unique answers for each individual.
I have a blog that posts on this and older, unpublished web pages, that expand on my studies from the beginning to today. Anyone who wishes to read what I have compiled can ask via email and I will try to create a pdf to send to you.
Think of the ken-po goku-i as a seed. You plant it, cultivate and feed it, you let it grow not knowing it it will be a beautiful flower or just another weed. Don't pull it until it presents its true self, you never know. Most gardens are filled with the beauty of nature in flowers, shrubs, and bushes while the weeds are few due to the gardeners constant tending of the garden of knowledge.
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