True karate-do: humility and justice

I worked diligently on a post for today, and after extensive drafts, I threw it out in toto. I threw out not just the particular drafts, but the entire concept I had contemplated and researched.

I learned quite a bit through the study, but in the context of the subject at hand here, it just didn’t fit. And maybe some of the material I was working with was a little shaky; maybe some of my motivations weren’t quite in the right place, either. It all just didn’t feel right, wouldn’t come together.

I’m glad for the experience: it’s refreshing to be wrong and have that be okay. It’s a special kind of freedom, to be able to say, “Well, that didn’t work. Let’s try something else.”

In the end, this state of affairs is a surprisingly good segue to the ideas I hope to explore now, anyway. I’m headed next into the second Hidden Word, which introduces a fascinating perspective on the ancient topic of justice. The verse goes like this:

“O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”

Next, I would like to share a quote in which Gichin Funakoshi Sensei (the founder of Shotokan karate, one of aikido’s sister arts) explained the centrality of justice to the practice of karate. (There are probably many more quotes like this, from many different arts, that I don’t have at my fingertips just now.)

“True karate-do is this: That in daily life, one’s mind and body be trained and developed in a spirit of humility; and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly to the cause of justice.” (Funakoshi, 1973, p. 3).

So, how do we manifest justice in our purposes and practice in aikido? What can we see, when we explore the implications of justice in light of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and Ueshiba Sensei?

I plan to embark into these questions in the next set of posts. Stay tuned, and please help me study!


Bahá’u’lláh. (1932/1990). The hidden words (Shoghi Effendi, Trans.). Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.

Funakoshi, G. (1973). Karate Do Kyohan. New York: Kodansha. Cited in Rosenbaum, M. (2002). The fighting arts: Their evolution from secret societies to modern times. Boston: YMAA Publication Center.


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