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Treasure in the Pocket

Mizuho Mutsu, who visited Hawaii in 1934, wrote that a hand is a treasure in the pocket (much like a sword being a treasure in its saya, or sheath).

This saying may not have originated with Mutsu. But it is interesting that it was repeated by James Mitose, who taught Kenpo in Hawaii in the 1940s. The saying was passed down in Kenpo schools. I remember hearing it in high school. I believe that Mitose had a copy of Mutsu's 1933 book (Karate Kenpo), because two photographs from the book appear in Mitose's 1947 book (What is Self-Defense).

"A hand is a treasure in the pocket" means that in Karate we are to avoid the destructive use of the hand. Once the hand is used, it becomes a terrible thing. A Karate man fears his own hand, meaning he fears the consequences of using his art destructively, even if for self-defense.

The secret of Karate is to avoid its use, except as a last resort.


Charles C. Goodin