Hawaii Karate Seinenkai

The following article appears at Morio Higaonna's International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF) website and is reprinted here with his permission. Copyright © Morio Higaonna. All rights reserved.


By Morio Higaonna

Chojun Sensei [Chojun Miyagi] would always speak to his students: People who do karate, they train everyday, build stamina, physical strength and technical skill. Little by little their spirit also grows strong. As his students developed these skills and attributes he would always speak to them about the importance of the quality of humility. He would say "JU (10) no chikara dekitara, GO (5) ni saginasai". What he meant by this is, as your power and technical abilities grow stronger to the level of 10, your confidence will also increase and so you need only to display your abilities to the level of 5. He said that as you develop your karate skills, the quality of humility should be developed as well; and with this feeling of humility and modesty, your training should become even more intense, constantly challenging yourself to go a little harder or a little longer, even when you are tired and want to quit.

You must never lose the feeling of appreciation for your instructor, as well as the appreciation for your family, for their love and support of your efforts. Some karate-ka, when they feel they have achieved a high level of technical ability and/or dojo success, will develop an attitude that their success is due to their efforts alone and develop an ego out of control. They may mouth the words of "thank you" to their instructor or to others, but in their hearts they feel that their achievements are theirs and theirs alone. This is not the case, however, and no karate-ka should ever forget or lose the feeling, no matter how successful they become, that their success is a group effort of all of those around them who have helped them reach the level they have.

For my own feelings, I am so grateful to Miyagi An'ichi Sensei for his teachings, wisdom and guidance; treasures that no amount of money could buy. He has taught me more than just technique, and the knowledge he has passed on to me has made me truly believe that the power and benefits of Goju-Ryu karate are so omnipotent that I feel I must pass these benefits on for the good of human society; for the benefits of Goju-Ryu do not stop with technique, but they are also powerful tools in helping people to become better human beings.

In order to achieve this higher goal, however, karate-ka must truly train with an open mind and heart, and not for power or control. You must allow karate to develop your spirit and not use it to develop your own selfish objectives.

I love karate. When I was twenty I loved practicing kata, and now that I am in my 50's, my passion for kata has become consuming. I also love teaching, for when I see students training their hardest and pushing themselves to their limits, I become inspired by their efforts and it makes me want to try harder and do better.

On occasion it has happened, however, that a student develops ego instead of humility, and I feel that it must be due to my inability to get my message across to that student that this happens and he/she takes a wrong turn. This only inspires me more, and I accept the challenge and focus on the truly dedicated students with me to help them understand the importance of their training and to keep them focused on the true objectives of karate.

The goal is to allow karate to develop harmony of spirit and mind. Everyday I remember Miyagi An'ichi Sensei's words to me: "You must constantly research and develop your technique and character by challenging yourself everyday; pushing yourself harder and harder, with the ultimate goal of humility."

Copyright © Morio Higaonna. All rights reserved.

Hawaii Karate Seinenkai