Old School Karate
What is Old School Karate?
Old School Karate (OSK) differs from most modern day Karate schools by emphasizing the values and traditions that are currently considered "Old School" and not really taught at most Dojo (Karate schools). OSK emphasizes courtesy, effort, patience, truth, and self-control. These ideals were handed down by Karate masters of old in the form of Dojo Kun. Dojo Kun literally means "training hall rules". These rules are recited in every class and are not only for use in class training, but in life. It is our code of honor. The original Dojo Kun went something like this:
- 手 You must respect others and the rules of etiquette (courtesy)
- 手 You must endeavor (fostering the spirit of effort)
- 手 You must perfect a mind of patience
- 手 You must be faithful and follow the way of truth
- 手 You must refrain from violent behavior (self control)
In teaching children, I find it easy to break down each rule into one word, then use that one word each week in homework assignments for outside of the dojo to re-enforce the meaning and lesson to be learned.
As a martial art, Karate originally had the focus of combat and self-defense as the primary goal, and the benefits of physical fitness, confidence, self-discipline, concentration, and stress relief were all secondary goals. Over time, this switched to be the other way around. This is not a bad thing, but as a result Karate also became sports oriented and lost many of its original teachings both in self-defense and philosophy.
After spending over 40 years studying both traditional and modern martial arts, I've come to the conclusion that the old ways, and I do mean the truly old ways, are the best.
“The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
Gichin Funakoshi - founder of Shotokan Karate