"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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Goju Ryu Goku-i

In my recent reading of the book titled, “Okinawa Den Goju Ryu Karate-Do,” by Fiichi Miyazato he writes:

Eight Poems of Martial Arts

The mind is one with heaven and earth.
The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and moon.
The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness.
Act in accordance with time and change.
Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought.
The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet.
The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.
The ears listen well in all directions.

I find this particular rendition a bit more forthcoming as to what one might expect in the system of Goju. Note here that I am not an expert on the Goju Ryu system except that it has influence on how the Isshinryu system was created by Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei. I also had the newer edition as released in electronic format, i.e. an eBook. 

Here is the ken-po goku-i from the Isshinryu system:

A person's heart if the same as heaven and earth.
The blood circulating is similar to the sun and moon.
The manner drinking (inhaling) and spitting (exhaling is either hard or soft.
A person's unbalance is the same as a weight.
The body should be able to change directions at any time.
The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.
The eyes must see all sides.
The ears must listen in all directions.

Compare the two, what is your perspective and perception as to meaning along with differences? 

IR: A person's heart if the same as heaven and earth.
GR: The mind is one with heaven and earth.

Note: if you have studied the I Ching as well as defined the actual characters involved you will find that mind and heart come from the same character for “shin [].” In addition you will find it defined as spirit, vitality and inner strength - all attributes one would gain from the practice, training and study of karate-do or any martial system for that matter. Another definition also alludes to the connections with the more philosophical study, i.e. it means also Chinese heart constellation (one of the 28 mansions). Last is a definition of “friend.” 

IR: The blood circulating is similar to the sun and moon.
GR: The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and moon.

Note: apparently both lean toward the Chinese inter-connectedness of the human body toward the universe. All things tend toward the various cycles you see in nature as well as the universe, i.e. the movement, spiral like, of the path our solar system travels along with the cycles and pathways the planets spiral around as we travel through the universe including how the sun and moon interact with Earth. It is also notable that in the I Ching as studied and applied by Tatsuo-san the hexagram can be divided into three parts where the upper is inferred to heaven, the middle to man and the bottom to earth. 

IR: The manner drinking (inhaling) and spitting (exhaling is either hard or soft.
GR: The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness.

Note: in this both seem to be saying the same things. Both infer the immutable fact that there is truly a yin-yang model in all that there is of the myriad of things that are the universe whereby the smallest but most significant and important to us is man or humans, the earth and the sun/moon whom have the greatest influences on all of us. Some tend to forget that with the spectrum of extreme hard at one end with soft at the other there are many gradients in between where in the middle there is achieved true balance in nature, the universe and when applied properly or mastered the martial arts. 

IR: A person's unbalance is the same as a weight.
GR: Act in accordance with time and change.

Note: there seems a vast difference when reading this line of the gokui. We see Tatsuo-san’s inference to balance and how it becomes a weight dragging us down when that balance is disturbed. This is not the only perspective one can take from Tatsuo-san’s line but when you look to the GR line it can actually make a specific reference toward how one addresses both the time or moment each moment we encounter along with the changes that will and do occur in each of those very moments. This is worth considerable contemplation to come to a conclusion - a conclusion that must remain fluid so that when a moment arrives with a change the person is open to the changes simply because nothing is written in stone. 

IR: The body should be able to change directions at any time.
GR: Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought.

Note: like the last, a possible vast difference. Again the same view, perception and perspective should be sought out to gain more benefit from this line, both IR and GR. GR is pretty specific tho by inferring that practice, training and its application must come from the persons instinct, referred to by some professionals as the lizard brain, so that one’s vulcan/thinking mind does not result in a momentary delay causing a freeze, etc. etc.

IR: The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.
GR: The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet.

Note: IR’s version, Tatsuo-san, leans heavily toward what we would look to in using karate, Isshinryu, for self-defense. In the SD world striking first can be perceived as aggressive fighting thus resulting in the proponent being charged with a crime. It can also lead to what one needs to know before, during and after applying all aspects of SD while using the physical of karate, i.e. knowing about force application in SD, etc. Although advance, retreat, separate and meet have a meaning according to the time in which it was created, the cultural societal legal belief systems, etc. may not apply directly in modern times. Tatsuo-san’s interpretation and presentation tends to lean heavily toward both the ancient times and modern simply because of its koan like form. 

IR: The eyes must see all sides.
GR: The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.

Note: both tend to lean in a more direct meaning toward an ability one must find and implement that provides the practitioner with situational and environmental awareness. It does not stop there because to have these two means leaning about other such things so that a broader meaning can be applied to any given situation accordingly. Many stop at the more direct meaning derived and/or taught, the eyes seeing an adversary, how they are fighting, and so on. 

IR: The ears must listen in all directions.
GR: The ears listen well in all directions.

Note: the same as the last applies as well here too. It is not just about listening in a conflict, it is also about how active you are as you listen. It is about what you hear when applying situational and environmental awareness. It is also about listening to yourself, are you being hijacked by your emotions? Are you falling pray to the monkey brain? Listening is not just about what noise reaches your ear, it is about your perceptions, your perspectives, your culture and your belief systems as they are applied to any given situation. 

The first question I asked myself was, “Why are their apparently differences between these two?” I am theorizing that since Tatsuo-san studied Goju Ryu that he had been exposed to the GR version of the gokui. Then I thought to myself, since Tatsuo-san studied the more spiritual learnings of the Chinese through things like the I Ching along with his calling as a sumuchi or fortune teller that maybe his redact or rendition was to add in the more spiritual or philosophical. 

Tatsuo-san’s version or interpretation may have been changes he contemplated along with the various aspects of both Goju and Shorin that ended up becoming the Isshinryu system. I suspect and believe that Tatsuo-san wanted to truly blend and inter-connect the yin and yang of martial systems meaning that the philosophical, theoretical, physiokinetical and technique of martial systems. 


I also personally believe that his goku-i (shortened for brevity from ken-po goku-i) also wanted to convey the importance of the last paragraph that leads one to fulfill his wishes to learn more about the culture and beliefs of the Okinawan peoples. In this, with some Isshinryu practitioners as well as other karate systems, he has succeeded because many do contemplate the koan like meaning of the goku-i he presented. I have written an eBook on the goku-i as it applies to me so, at least, Tatsuo-san succeeded in my study and practice of Okinawan Ti, Isshinryu. 

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