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Karate Vocabulary: Niju Kun

clay's picture
Untitled Document
Karate Dojo Kun
Niju Kun
Twenty Rules of Karate
Created by Gichin Funakoshi

Karate Words and Phrases

Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru koto o wasaru na.
Karate-do begins and ends with rei.


Karate ni sente nashi.
There is no first strike in karate.


Karate wa, gi no taske.
Karate stands on the side of justice.


Mazu onore o shire, shikashite ta o shire.
First know yourself, then know others.


Gijitsu yori shinjitsu.
Mentality over technique.


Kokoro wa hanatan koto o yosu.
The mind must be set free.


Wazawai wa ketai ni seizu.
Calamity springs from carelessness.


Dojo nomino karate to omou na.
Karate goes beyond the dojo.


Karate-do no shugyo wa isssho de aru.
Karate is a lifelong pursuit.


Ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; sokoni myomi ari.
Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty.


Karate Wa Yu No Gotoku Taezu Netsu O Atae Zareba Motono Mizuni Kaeru.
Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state.


Katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo.
Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing.


Tekki ni yotte tenka seyo.
Make adjustments according to your opponent.


Tattakai wa kyo-jitsu no soju ikan ni ari.
The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength).


Hi to no te-ashi wa ken to omoe.
Think of hands and feet as swords.


Danshi mon o izureba hyakuman no teki ari.
When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.


Kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai.
Kamae is for beginners; later, one stands in shizentai.


Kata wa tadashiku, jisen wa betsumono.
Perform kata exactly; actual combat is another matter.


Chikara no kyojaku tai no shinshuku waza no kankyu o wasuruna.
Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.


Tsune ni shinen ku fu seyo.
Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way.

(The English was taken from the Niju Kun Wikipedia article--read it for more information)

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HawaiianBoy's picture

typo in the first audio

you put "a" instead of "wo" in the romanization

phreadom's picture

Fixed, thank you. :)

Fixed, thank you. :)


chikara's picture


Shouldn't that be an う and not a ふ? As in 思う.

Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there

clay's picture

It is correct (old way of

It is correct (old way of writing う). I confirmed it with the boss (Yumi) :) But this list came from Wikipedia, so it would be good to triple check.

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chikara's picture

If you google images for niju

If you google images for niju kun there are plenty of images that are supposedly taken from Funakoshi's original. Reading his hand writing is beyond me but Yumi can probably make it out.

Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there

Missing Romaji

The next to the last sentence is missing the "o wasuru na"
But thank you so much for using the kanji whenever possible. These examples are great lessons for authentic language and philosophy.

clay's picture

Thanks! Nice spotting.

Thanks! Nice spotting.

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