"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Providing a first step on a path to self-reflection." - C. E. James

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

Kenpo Gokui

The lines of the ken-po goku-i are set from an atomistic aspect simply because it is the manner in which the brain learns. Its nature is completely holistic and like the I Ching must be in a form that promotes learning and understanding so a person can see, hear and grasp the nature of a holistic system. The gokui is a method to teach us how to be holistic. Its terseness is the best that can be done to convey its holistic meaning.

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.

A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.

Master Zeng said, "Am I preaching what I have not practiced myself?"

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Dojo Kun, Ken-po Goku-i and Isshinryu

First, go to Michael Clarke Sensei blog and read his post on the "Dojo Kun." Then return here to read my thoughts on the subject.

The dojo kun for Isshinryu seems to have received the interpretation of a code of conduct for the dojo. When I consider the content of this dojo kun I begin to question its authenticity as to being inherited from the systems founder Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei. I say this for a few reasons.

First, references in the kun (short for dojo kun; brevity purposes) to budo, God and Faith, smoking and drinking tend to convey a more American and/or Military perspective. As far as I can determine Tatsuo Sensei was not a Christian or other religious affiliation that would teach about God. I can see where this might be perceived when he talked of such things as the gokui but wonder a bit about this point.

Second, it would appear that like many urban legends the composing of the dojo kun is or has a rhythm and feel of an American and/or Military influence. I know that Tatsuo Sensei actually composed copies, in Kanji, of the ken-po goku-i but as to the dojo kun in the honbu dojo I suspect that it was created and posted by the leadership of the deshi or senior military attendees.

The kanji provided at the top of one source of the below copy of the Isshinryu Dojo Kun if translated, working on this, may just be a title for the dojo kun or it may be similar to the terse kanji of the gokui (brevity again for ken-po goku-i).

Another source gives us a picture of kanji that is believed to be the dojo code of conduct, dojo kun. It is translated into English but since the snapshot of the kanji is difficult to actually read it is not easily verified as accurate. I also found the kanji for the gokui to lack accurate translation to English where a good deal of latitude was taken in its translation which I also question since those who filled in the holes are and were not so immersed in the culture of Okinawa, etc. that they could do so with any impunity.  In this source they go so far as to add a signature in typeface only of Tatsuo Sensei.

Please understand, I am questioning things for the sake of study. It is not meant to say that either source or anyone in Isshinryu is either right or wrong regarding either the dojo kun or the gokui, it is a matter of study and personal philosophies and perceptions only. Meant to inspire comment and thought.
The closest I have come to any kind of translation of "code of conduct" into Japanese is actually "kodo kihan" which translates into "code of conduct." This does not say that dojo kun is not actually coduct but the word kun does not show in the two translator programs I use.

Dojo of course refers to a martial arts training hall. I cannot extrapolate code or honor or conduct that translates from either word, dojo or kun or both together. When I run into this type of disparity I tend to doubt the validity but do so with a bit of caution and allowance for the greater disparity toward an ability to understand Japanese or Okinawan dialect, customs and meanings. Often kanji literally loses its original intent and meaning when absorbed by such disciplines and budo or martial arts or any art form. I have discovered this when I ask the Japanese business person I frequent to translate a word for me or a phrase.

This is why I felt something when I read Mr. Clarke's understanding as to the meaning of the dojo kun. I suspect his assumptions as to meaning being one that is not set in stone, rules, but rather open and fluid information conveyed from Sensei to his Deshi, if you will allow me those terms. Much like the gokui it is a primer, a key, a cornerstone that is associated with the dojo and with the dojo's master. If it inspires and leads then it has done its job. If it ends up as dogmatic doctrine, rules, specifics that control and stifle the dojo then it needs to be visited and studied many more times.

Could this also be the answer to the question, "why are there so many definitions of the kun and gokui?" As I travel this path I am of the understanding, for me, that this is true and in lieu of wondering simply study the one you possess and let it smolder in the unconscious. The unconscious will speak to you and let you find your philosophy of both the kun and the gokui.

The more I learn, the more I study, the more I investigate the more I see that Clarke Sensei hits the nail on the head. The differences as seen in the snapshot on this post indicate that it is truly a personal thing most often provided by the dojo, system, Sensei.

Click to see full version - it was a larger graphic created by C.E. James ;-)

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