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Bushi: Karate Gentlemen

Okinawa's Bushi: Karate Gentlemen

By Charles C. Goodin

This article appears at the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai website.

Recently, I was conducting a search of Yoen Jiho Sha /1 issues when I came across an article entitled A Small Talk on Karate - Kinjo, a Benefactor of Karate-Do in Hawaii, by Sosen Toyohira. November 16, 1961. /2 One section of the article in particular caught my attention:

"In Okinawa, an expert of Karate was called a "Bushi," which meant a true gentleman or a noble character. In feudal times in Japan, in contrast, "Bushi" referred to "warriors" or "samurai." Karate is a defensive art only - it is never used for offense. It is a self-defense art that should be mastered to conquer oneself and learn to behave modestly. For that reason, a well trained Karateman was looked upon as a "Bushi" - a noble Karateman."

* * * *

As it turns out, different types of "Bushi" are recognized in Okinawa.

A "Kakure Bushi" is a "hidden Bushi", one who never tries to let himself be known as a Karate practitioner. Occasionally we hear about Karate hermits, experts who live in caves, tombs, or the mountains, and have completely withdrawn from society.

On the other extreme is a "Tijikun Bushi" or "knuckle or fist Bushi."

* * * *

For the remainder of this article, please see: http://seinenkai.com/art-bushi.html


Charles C. Goodin