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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 7 December 2003
Gichin Funakoshi is known as the father of modern karate, and in this book he explores the mental side of karate, as opposed to the techniques. 'The Twenty Guiding Principles' are explored, more discussed than explained. Master Funakoshi did not plan to tell people what the twenty guiding principles meant, in black and white, but wrote the book to guide people, and let them decide for themselves.
It is a book that makes you think, as a person, whether you practise shotokan, or another martial art, or not, about your principles and what you do. I recommend it.
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on 19 January 2005
For practitioners of Shotokan, this book should be essential reading. Spirituality is a major component of martial arts. Some say that Western world martial arts instruction sorely lacks in teaching of spirituality. However, isn't the point of self-discovery that it's an internal journey? This book provides an essential starting point for said journey and should be read at some point of their training by all karateka. Hopefully the reader will agree with the 20 guiding principles and may already follow them. Discovering principles that the reader is unaware of will provide the basis for further growth.
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on 14 February 2007
Again, every Shotokan Karate-ka (in fact any martial artist) ought to have one of these and read it often to learn the proper meaning of what karate is all about.

It's [karate] not just all kicking, punching, grunting and stuff. Some of the 20 "guiding principles" or "precepts" in the book have actually been acquired from earlier great martial art [Budo] masters (Matsumura e.g.)

That's not to say that Master Funakoshi copied them, and even if he did, it was a very wise decision to have them listed all in one place.

A short book that can easily be devoured in a day, it's full of "worldly" wisdom, no matter what martial art you study. It's best read a few times to digest the intention behind each precept.

Even if you're not martial artist, there are many great principles here that when applied to everyday living will enhance your life and help you to be more successful, kinder and a happier person, regardless of your religion. Each short one sentence precept is then interpreted over the next page or two in simple but meaningful way.

I incorpoarte all of these principles in my lessons (one at a time of course!) and try to have my students learn them & understand their true meaning. I'm certain it goes a long way to improving my students character, especially with junior students.

Again, this is another one of those books, that, if I were able to afford it, I would give my students for FREE when they joined my club.

For more information and in depth interpretations of the Niju Kun, please also consider 1) The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi: And Other Essays on the Philosophy of Karate Do and 2) Perfection of Character: Guiding Principles for the Martial Arts & Everyday Life.
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on 24 August 2013
It's a small booklet explaining the 20 principles.
In all honesty though, don't expect any revelation. Most are things you've likely been told by your sensei already. But it's a nice little addition if you have a martial arts book collection.
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on 13 September 2009
This book is everything I had hoped for. You dont have to be a practitioner of the way. Apply these principles to life in general and you will become a better person.
I would strongly recommend this book...
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on 26 September 2011
Timeless guiding principles that can be applied to all areas of your life; not just your karate practice. I was also pleasantly surprised at the quality of the book design (there is even a bound ribbon bookmark inside the book) and superb calligraphy. Highly recommended.
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on 5 April 2010
I have always wanted reading material that can help someone who has no real understanding of Karate's values to appreciate it, and this book provides a greater insight to what lies behind the notion of it being all about self defence. Karate is more than that in that it is a great character building tool.
Once I received the book, I started reading one principle per day with my child. It's written in a way that a young child can understand also, so it's been a combined growth period for us.
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on 3 January 2011
The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate by Gichin Funakoshi is an excellent guide to the thoughts and motivations behind the purely physical action involved in karate.
Each principle can be used as a guide to furthering your training but can also be extrapolated to wider life.
Useful for karateka beginners but probably more relevant to karateka with more experience; it shows a new way of thinking for exploring The Way.
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on 14 May 2010
The best book for any true student of Shotokan Karate or the martial arts in general. If more people lived with what is written in this book, then the world would be a better place.
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on 17 September 2012
If you practise Karate you should own this book. I have bought a small number of them to give to my students when they excel in something. It is a nice gift to recieve.
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