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"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

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What is the Ken-po Goku-i?

I would begin this post by saying that it is NOT any particular theme, it is not something that will be anecdotal and it will not be stories on how I attained my "insights" into the Isshinryu system. There is no definitive topic to the gokui (will use this to represent ken-po goku-i for brevity) but my posts on the subject are my personal interpretations.

I would also stress emphatically that the recent publication with this title is not what I perceive is the meaning and function of the gokui. This is not about ego, pride, self-esteem or commercialized stories to promote and put my self on any type of pedestal. It is not about self-absorption, self-promotion or self-driven ego building see how great I am stuff.

Phew, now that I have that out of the way I want to present a short description of what the Isshinkai tells us the gokui is.

First a statement from me personally:

(Authors Note: The "gokui" is fluid. There is not right or wrong, good or bad, and yet their is duality and the one. Take the gokui in all its forms and translate it into a meaningful translation for your life and practice of karate-do. Let it remain fluid so as you grow it grows. The meaning today may lead to another more profound meaning tomorrow. - C. E. James)

Now the statement from the Isshinkai:

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 themind, 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. - Advincula, A.J. Sensei, Isshinkai Moderator.

I have come to firmly believe that this description is only the beginning. It is a wonderful beginning for a fledgling academic studying the ancient Chinese Classics. You will notice in this explanation that the definition is not really the element of the gokui but rather a way to clinically define it as a starting point for the new person entering this philosophical keystone to martial systems.

The essentials, the philosophical principles, of a system which can be martial or any other concerted effort into some system of training, practicing and living. It is the "heart" of the wholehearted system I practice and refer to as "Isshinryu." No form or system that speaks to the physical, mental and spiritual of a person is just about kicking, punching and grappling. It is not just about trophies, accolades or validations but rather about the self and what that self's potential has for them. It is unlimited.

Some of the incidentals that also assist us to discover within ourselves the meaning of the gokui is a perceived close correlation between the code, the I Ching, and Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine deals with the cycle of life forces (the blood), time, and the relationship of man with the forces of nature, etc. It seem that the gokui is a road map for behavior, harmony with oneself, harmony in relationships with others, and nature, as well as a roadmap for training/living karate-do.

It must be expressed at this point the fluidity of the gokui. This fluidity is a result of first, its terseness and second, its source or its original. It is meant to transcend things and allow any time, place or peoples to interpret it in a positive way allowing the mind to reach the depths of intuition and inspiration giving back insight and those things that lead to enlightenment.

In addition as I have stated in previous posts, "The work of art (in this case the gokui) is always produced by a certain person in a certain time and place, and it is always related to its author's other works, his contemporaries, his sources and traditions, his intellectual, political, economic, and aesthetic climate. Background materials that can help the modern reader grasp the ideas or catch the flavor of a literary work of the past serve a valid and necessary purpose." - Damon Knight, "Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction."

Both these last two statements should provide the reader the idea, in general and on a fundamental level, what the possibilities are regarding the gokui. This post is an attempt to define, explain and inform one as to its basics and to inspire more through practice, training and studying.

As nature permeates all things with the Tao, the gokui permeates all activity of a person injecting an energy, a custom, a symbol and the inspiration necessary to live it - the Ken-po Goku-i (for my system it is referred to as the "Isshinryu no gokui.")

My rendition of the ken-po goku-i:

A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.

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