All belted students at Midwest Martial Arts have memorized at least the first item of the Student Creed and the first few basic exercises. Our highest-ranking black belts train with all eighteen empty-hand kata, some two dozen weapons forms, nearly forty self-defense tricks, as well as all the basics.
No matter what degree we hold, we are all bound by the first and last rule in the use of force: politeness. Every class, every exercise, every sparring match begins and ends with a bow. The bow gains meaning as the years of training mount up. But it can be summarized in a single thought: Be nice.
The inscription at left states that same governing principle as it pertains to oneself. It reads: “”Mazu Sono Kokoro Wo Tadase.” In English, “First purify your mind.” You purify your mind the same way you straighten your kitchen or living room– by taking control. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools for taking control of your mind. You can access guided meditations on this site and play them through your phone, tablet, computer, or mp3 player.
The inscription at right states another governing principle of our school. It reads, “Karate Ni Sente Nashi.” In English, “There is no first attack in Karate.” It simply means that karate is a defensive art. No student of wisdom will initiate the use of force. Once threatened, a person may use karate defensively.
Dedicated students of our school own a copy of the book you see at left. This book was written by the founder of Matsubayashi-ryu, Osensei Shoshin Nagamine. This book is still in print and is available online. You can order the book by clicking on the image of the book or by clicking this link.
Nagamine Sensei’s book is written with the discipline and style of a true scholar. The sentence below, in bold type, is an example of Nagamine’s thorough treatment of an idea in his compact style. All students would do well to memorize this sentence:
“The essence of karate lies in the process by which individuals make the utmost effort in an attempt to create limitless power by the utilization of true wisdom.”