Niju Kun

Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate, created 20 rules for his students to follow whilst studying the art of Shotokan karate. An excellent source of information regarding these rules is the 24 Fighting Chickens website belonging to Rob Redmond. Rob has spent time himself translating the Niju Kun without poetic license. Each rule is shown below in its original Japanese, along with Rob's English translation. To avoid appearing to take credit for Rob's hard work in any way at all, the additional detail and explanations for each rule Rob has researched are not included. A more complete explanation of each one can be found by visiting Rob's site via the link shown above.

However, our interpretation of Rob's conclusion is that you should take into account that change is inevitable and cultures differ, so these rules that appear quite sensible to one culture in a set period of time may be totally alien to another culture in another time period, so rules such as the Dojo Kun and Niju Kun should be looked at objectively in relation to ones own culture, and should not be used to threaten or chastise anyone.

Read from top to bottom, right to left

The first three characters on the right say Nijukun = "Twenty Teachings/Precepts"

1. Karatedo wa rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru koto wo wasuru na.

"Do not forget that the karate way begins with a bow and ends with a bow."

2. Karate ni sente nashi.

"In Karate the initiative does not exist."

3. Karate wa gi no tasuke.

"Karate is a helper of justice."

4. Mazu jiko wo shire, shikashite ta wo shire.

"First of all, know yourself, then know others."

5. Gijutsu yori shinjutsu.

"Spirituality more than technology."

6. Kokoro wa hanata n koto wo yosu.

"The heart/mind requires that you let go."

7. Wazawai wa ketai ni shozu.

"Misfortune is brought about by negligence."

8. Dojo nomi no karate to omou na.

"Do not think 'dojo-only-karate.'"

9. Karate no jugyo wa issho de aru.

"Karate training is a lifetime."

10. Arayuru mono wo karate kaseyo, soko ni myomi ari.

"Change everything into karate, that is where exquisite beauty is."

11. Karate wa yu no gotoshi taezu netsudo wo ataezareba moto no mizu ni kaeru.

"Karate, like hot water, will return to the original cool water if you don't continually give it a degree of enthusiasm."

12. Katsu kangae wa motsu na makenu kangae wa hitsuyo.

"Do not have thoughts of winning. Thoughts of not losing are necessary."

13. Teki ni yotte tenka seyo.

"Change depending upon your opponent."

14. Tatakai wa kyojutsu no soju ikan ni ari.

"Fighting is in how well you control trying every strategy."

15. Hito no teashi wo ken to omou.

"Think of people's arms and legs as swords."

16. Danshi mon wo shuzureba hyakuman no teki aru.

"If men go out a door, there are one million enemies [out there]."

17. Kamae wa shoshinsha ni ato wa shizentai.

"Stance is for novices, later [use a] natural body."

18. Kata wa tadashiku jissen wa betsu mono.

"Correctly [doing] kata [is one thing], real combat is something else."

19. Chikara no kyojaku, tai no shinshuku, waza no kankyu wo wasaruna.

"Do not forget about relative strength of power, flexibility of the body, and the relative speed of techniques."

20. Tsune ni shinen kufu seyo.

"At all times devise."

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