The 10 annotations of Itosu

The 10 Annotations of Itosu  

  1. Karate is not intended solely for physical education. It is intended to develop courageous citizens who value righteousness. In times of grave public crisis they will be prepared to risk their very lives for the nation. It is unacceptable to use Karate to duel with an enemy. Even when wrongdoers are encountered, please avoid physical confrontation and refrain from harming others with your fists or feet.
  2. Karate primarily strengthens muscles and bones and forges a body like iron or stone. With karate, your arms and legs serve as your weapons and you will automatically develop a courageous spirit. If schoolchildren learn karate then if they are required for military service, the karate training will be the foundation for many other military arts. When the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon he said. “This victory was won in the playgrounds of our schools.” These are wise words.
  3. Karate cannot be quickly learned. Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand miles. If one trains diligently everyday, then in three or four years one will come to understand karate. The essence of karate is revealed to those that put in the greater effort.
  4. In karate, training of the hands and feet are important, so one must be thoroughly trained on the makiwara (striking post). In order to do this, drop your shoulders, open your lungs, take hold of your strength, grip the floor with your feet and sink your energy into your lower abdomen. Practice using each arm one to two hundred times each day.
  5. When one practices the stances of Tang Te, be sure to keep your back straight, lower your shoulders, put strength in your legs, stand firmly and drop your energy into your lower abdomen.
  6. Please practise the many kata of karate. When you practise, learn the steps thoroughly, one at a time. You need to clearly understand the purpose of each step and then practise the corresponding techniques. Furthermore, consider the ways- to attack, to receive, to release and to grapple.
  7. You need to clearly discern which techniques are for physical training and which are effective techniques used for duty.
  8. When you train, do so as if on the battlefield. Your eyes should glare, shoulders drop, and body harden. You should always train with intensity and spirit and in this way you will naturally be ready.
  9. One must not overtrain; this will cause you to lose the energy in your lower abdomen and will be harmful to your body. Your face and eyes will turn red. Train wisely.
  10. In the past masters of karate have enjoyed long lives. Karate aids in developing the bones and muscles. It helps the digestion as well as the circulation. If karate should be introduced beginning in the elementary schools, then we will produce many men each capable of defeating ten assailants. I further believe this can be done by having all students at the Okinawa Teachers College practice Karate. In this way after graduation they can teach at the elementary schools that which they have been taught. I believe this will be a great benefit to our nation and our military.

With thanks, courtesy of Bob McMahon

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