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Funakoshi said.. that the perfection of a students character, not the excellence   of his technique defines the true value of Karate. This is my way of thinking 100%....

Master  Funakoshi (1868-1957)
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First Karate Rank Certificate

On April 12, 1924, Gichin Funakoshi, the "Father of Modern Karate," awarded karate's first black belt dan upon seven men. The recipients included Hironori Ohtsuka, founder of wado-ryu karatedo, Shinken Gima, later of gima-ha shoto-ryu, and Ante Tokuda, Gima's cousin) Kasuya, Akiba, Shimizu and Hirose. This beginning was a highly personal, yet formal ceremony in which Funakoshi is said to have handed out lengths of black belting and a hand brushed menjo (diploma) to his pupils. 




                                                                                                  Musashi was born in 1584 in the village of
Miyamoto in Southern Japan. His father Hirata
Munisai was a renowned samurai and considered by
many to be the best swordsmen in Japan at the

Musashi started his warrior career early in life
with a dual against a samurai named Arima Kihei.
The samurai had posted an open challenge for any
takers and Musashi signed up to fight the

Musashi's uncle, hearing that his 13 year old
nephew had volunteered to fight to the death ran
to prevent the fight. Musashi did not want to
back down and entered the ring to fight Kihei
armed only with a bokken -- a wooden training
sword. When the bigger, older, and more
experienced samurai charged, Musashi dodged,
grabbed, and brutally threw the man to the ground
and beat him to death with his stick.

He would go on to win over 60 duals defeating or
killing all that came before him in combat
regardless of weapon. His challengers would use
staffs, swords, and a variety of other weapons
while he would use his katana or bokken. While
many samurai used only their katanas, Musashi
pioneered two-sword combat by using his wakizashi
and katana together.

Eventually he would be honored with the rank of
Kensei or "Sword Saint" because so many believed
his swordsmanship to be perfect. When he later
penned his philosophy of combat in "The Book of
the Five Rings", he would attain literary immortality
as countless martial artists, scholars, and
businessmen would hang on his every word for
generations to come.

Musashi would eventually pass on his valuable
knowledge to his sons and students. A skilled
artist, poet, architect, and businessman, Musashi
felt every day was a day to learn, create, and
live to the fullest. A good strategy for a good life.

Now what's pretty funny about Musashi (and why
little Japanese boys love him), is that he was
about as unconventional a Samurai as you could

The man rarely bathed, shaved, or washed his
clothes. So good a swordsmen was he, that Musashi
eventually completely stopped using a katana and
would just use whatever was on hand to beat his
opponents to death...a tree branch, a rake, even a
boat paddle.

He would use other strange and "dishonorable"
tactics as well...Showing up hours late to a dual
to anger his prim and proper opponent...Showing up
an hour earlier, hiding in the bush, then jumping
out and immediately killing the unsuspecting fool
who agreed to fight him...using horse stirrups as
brass knuckles...and even attacking, running away,
attacking, running away, and attacking again!

Scholars still to this day debate on whether
Musashi did all these "crazy" things to toy with
his opponents, test various strategy, and if
these tactics were the very reason no one could
beat him instead of superior swordplay.

That's all well and good for the bookworms, but
as "men of action" similar to Musashi, we all
know better --

Just like many of the toughest and most dangerous
men of today and throughout history, Musashi
seemed to take himself none-to-seriously while at
home or at the dojo.

But when life and death were on the line, Musashi
simply believed that nothing should be left to
chance. You must do whatever needs to be done
to kill, or be killed yourself.

Please take time to read Musashi "The Book of
the Five Rings" and enjoy a true "Tomoe Warrior" from days gone by..but the also learn how to think and apply one of the greatest warriors of all time.

see me for a copy.

Hanshu  McCall

         Please read also about the Karate Rank Names!