The Chibana Project

A blog where I post my research on a certain Okinawan named Chibana Choshin.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Karatedo no Kokoro e

In his latter years, as he took more and more to calligraphy, Chibana Choshin began giving away some of his work to friends and students. Jokingly, when he gave a copy of "butoku" to Mr. Masahiro Nakamoto, he commented, "I want you to have this. It is not worth much now, but when I die it might have some value."

To my sensei and three others, Chibana gave a document he penned in shoudo entitled "Karatedo no Kokoro e." A rough translation is "To the Heart of Karate" or "To the Essence of Karate." It was first translated into English by Mr. Sam Kitamura, an American linguist who worked for the United States-Ryukyu Relations before the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972. It is Chibana's five precepts of karate. All begin with hitotsu, indicating that all five carry equal importance. It is brief, and all precepts are terse fragments, some just single words.

Karatedo no Kokoro e


--Through physical training one can cultivate the mind

--Maximum effort

--Avoid unnecessary fights; martial arts are to defend against unexpected calamities


Monday, May 01, 2006


I feel incredibly embarrassed. Visiting the E-budo message forums, I happened upon what I thought was karate historian Mr. Patrick McCarthy's e-mail address. Figuring that it wouldn't hurt to ask (the worst that could happen would be that he completely ignores me), I sent him an e-mail asking if he had any information on Chibana Choshin or if there were certain print sources he recommend I look up. I included a link to this blog.

In preparation to compose a "sorry-I-haven't-posted-anything-in-a-long time-but-I'm-really-busy-preparing-for-final-exams" post, I discovered I had roughly 100 unique hits today. I usually average 10. Excited, (I am a little bit of a geek) I was curious as to what could have possibly happened for me to have attracted so many visitors - I don't really advertise the site, but I've noticed if you Google "Chibana Choshin" this shows up as one of the first few selections (second from the bottom of the first page).

As it turns out, I appear to have sent my inquery to Mr. McCarthy over an entire e-mail listserve - all the referrals to my blog today originate from e-mail addresses. If you were one of the unintended recipients and have followed the link here, I apologize for polluting your inbox with my nonsense. I feel so sheepish that's it not even funny. I would send another e-mail apologizing to everyone on the listserve, but I don't want to fill their inboxes with my nonsense again.

For those of you who do frequent here, I'm still working the Okinawa Times translation. I should have part of it presentable later in the week. Please understand that my final exam (I only have one!) takes priority.

Again, if you have any comments, feedback, or references you can point me to, please leave a comment for me. Thank you!