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DO - THE WAY

The proper name for Karate is "KARATE-DO", "the way of the empty hand". The names of most Japanese martial arts are suffixed "-DO", e.g. "KENDO", "JUDO", "KYUDO", "JODO", "AIKIDO".

"DO", "the way" or "path", is meant to convey the idea of a long journey or undertaking in a sense similar to a pilgrimage, a long-term commitment with spiritual implications. To follow the way is a constant test of personal qualities, but can provide many rewards in terms of physical and mental well-being.

So the suffix "-DO" serves to emphasize that the aim of practicing a martial art is mental and spiritual as well as technical and physical.

The martial arts are unique in that harmony of mind and body is actively promoted; is, in fact, essential to development in karate-do. A human being is one complete entity; he has both mind and body, which are a complexity of strengths and weaknesses. To develop the full potential of his existence, he should not neglect a weakness to concentrate on the strengths, but try to develop all senses and abilities.

As far as karate-do is concerned, to make progress one has to learn correct techniques, with the right attitude. One cannot expect instant results. Learning the correct movements is not the goal but the beginning. From then on one has to practice day after day for a long period of time. Only by practice can one gradually develop one´s inner feelings for, and deepen one´s understanding of, the art of karate-do.

This long process, then, is "DO", "the way": the path to gaining high mental and spiritual achievement as well as to attaining the most economical and effective techniques and excellent health.

The famous Samurai swordsman Miyamoto Mushashi wrote in his "Book of Five Rings": "Sennichi no keiko o tan to shi: mannichi no keiko o ren to su" - To be adequate one has to train for one thousand days: to become proficient one has to practice for ten thousand days".

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