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"The Book of Earth: The alliance between the Samurai and the Power of Kyokushin

(First part of five)

The Way of the Generative Warrior: Introduction to the Art of Gorin no Sho

Welcome to this captivating series of articles on the Way of the Generative Warrior, inspired by the timeless teachings of Miyamoto Musashi contained in his famous book, the Gorin no Sho, or Book of Five Rings. Each element of this essential book - Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void - represents a unique facet of martial art and strategy. In this series, we'll explore how these principles can be applied in our daily lives, going beyond simple combat to forge a generative warrior mentality.

Prepare to be inspired, enlightened and transformed by the power of Musashi's words, which still resonate with strength and truth today.

As a practitioner of Kyokushin Karate for over 5 decades, allow me to enlighten you on how Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of the Earth can be applied to our dynamic and powerful martial art. Kyokushin Karate, with its solid basic techniques and knockdown strategy, can benefit greatly from the fundamental principles of combat and strategy described in this timeless work.

The importance of a solid foundation

First of all, The Book of the Earth emphasises the importance of a solid foundation for mastering the art of sword fighting. In the same way, in Kyokushin Karate, we pay particular attention to the acquisition of solid basic techniques. The kihon, or fundamental techniques, such as punching, kicking, blocking and dodging, are the foundations on which we build our fighting style. By drawing on the teachings of Musashi, we can deepen our understanding of the basic principles and improve our execution of these techniques.

One of the key strategies in Kyokushin Karate is to engage in powerful attacks to bring our opponent to the defensive. Musashi advocates a similar approach in The Book of the Earth, where he emphasises the need to maintain constant pressure on the enemy. By combining these concepts, we can use the basic Kyokushin techniques to exert constant pressure on our opponent, forcing him to react defensively and giving us additional opportunities to attack.

Ma-ai and Hyoshi: the importance of distance and timing

Another crucial aspect of Kyokushin Karate is the importance attached to distance and timing. In The Book of the Earth, Musashi stresses the importance of understanding different fighting distances and choosing the right moment to attack. Similarly, in Kyokushin Karate, we study the different distances of combat, from long-distance to hand-to-hand combat. By understanding and using these different distances effectively, we can exploit the opportune moments to launch our attacks with maximum precision and efficiency.

Finally, Musashi emphasises the importance of mental preparation in combat. In Kyokushin Karate, this mental dimension is also essential. We must cultivate concentration, determination and self-control in order to face our opponents with confidence and calm. Musashi's teachings on strategy and mental discipline can strengthen our psychological approach to competition and help us maintain our composure, even in stressful situations.

Like Mas Oyama, incorporate Musashi's principles into your practice

By understanding and integrating Musashi's teachings into our practice, we can deepen our understanding of Kyokushin Karate, while enriching our experience and connection with our beloved martial art.

Kyokushin disciples, seize this opportunity to delve into the timeless teachings of the great master Musashi. Like him, we are warriors, fearless fighters who seek to transcend our limits and achieve excellence in our practice.

Remember, every time you train, every time you stand on the tatami, you are writing your own story of courage and perseverance. Each basic technique you perform is a letter you add to your personal martial book. Use the principles of the Book of the Earth to chart a triumphant course through the world of Kyokushin.

When you perform your kihon, feel the link between your body and the energy around you. Become one with your technique, feel every movement, every rotation of your hips, every contraction of your muscles. Let Musashi's principles guide you towards a more precise execution, a more solid posture, and a tenfold increase in power.

Fight strategically, not haphazardly

When fighting with the Kyokushin knockdown strategy, use the wisdom of Musashi to analyse and understand your opponent's movements. Discern the openings in his defence, the moments when he is vulnerable. Be ready to engage with explosive force, to surprise and confuse your opponent with precise, well-placed attacks.

Remember too that combat is not just about brute force. The battle is also fought in the mind. Cultivate a warrior's mentality, unshakeable concentration and iron will. No matter how much pressure you're under, stay calm and confident. Use Musashi's teachings to develop resilience, mental clarity and unshakeable determination.

The Earth Book of Gorin no Sho is a precious treasure that we can use to enrich our Kyokushin Karate practice. So dive into its pages, meditate on Musashi's words and discover the timeless truths he left behind.

The 9 basic principles to apply in your daily practice

The Book of the Land concludes with nine basic principles - the 'ground' on which samurai must stand. These are intended to help develop an understanding of strategy.

Let's discover together the nine fundamental principles of the Book of the Earth, the pillars on which the samurai built their martial art. These principles, which are both practical and rooted in earthly wisdom, are intended to enlighten our strategic understanding, beyond mere tactics and movement. In Kyokushin Karate, we can apply these principles to enrich our practice. "Don't think dishonestly."

1. Don't think dishonestly.

2. The way is through training.

3. Learn all the arts.

4. Know the ways of all professions.

5. Distinguish between gain and loss in the affairs of the world.

6. To develop intuitive judgement and understanding of everything.

7. To perceive things that cannot be seen.

8. Pay attention even to insignificant things.

9. Do nothing that is not useful.

Allow me to share my own interpretation of how we can adapt these nine fundamental principles and apply them to our Kyokushinkai Karate practice. Each of these principles offers profound wisdom and can guide our martial journey.

The first principle, "Do not think dishonestly", reminds us of the importance of integrity and honesty in our practice. By respecting the rules and maintaining a sincere attitude, we cultivate a pure spirit and an authentic practice.

The second principle, "The way is in the training", highlights the value of perseverance and regularity in our practice. It is through diligent training that we deepen our technical skills, strengthen our bodies and elevate our martial spirit.

The third principle, "Learn all the arts", encourages us to broaden our martial horizons by studying different aspects of the martial arts. By exploring other styles and disciplines, we enrich our overall understanding of the art of combat.

The fourth principle, "Know the ways of all professions", reminds us of the importance of knowledge and understanding of the world around us. By broadening our knowledge in various fields, we cultivate an enlightened vision that helps us to better apprehend situations and adapt our strategy.

The fifth principle, "Distinguishing between gain and loss in the affairs of the world", invites us to develop clear discernment and make informed decisions. In Kyokushin Karate, this means weighing up the risks and benefits in our practice, taking into account both short- and long-term consequences.

The sixth principle, "Develop intuitive judgement and an understanding of everything", emphasises the importance of global perception. By honing our intuition and broadening our understanding, we can anticipate our opponents' moves, seize opportunities and make informed decisions.

The seventh principle, "Perceiving things that cannot be seen", teaches us to develop our sensitivity and our ability to read hidden intentions. This enables us to anticipate attacks, detect our opponents' weaknesses and react with precision.

The eighth principle, "Pay attention even to insignificant things", reminds us that every detail counts. In our practice, this manifests itself in constant vigilance, giving importance to the slightest adjustments in position, the angle of our attacks and the precision of our movements.

Finally, the ninth principle, "Don't do anything that isn't useful", guides us towards a refined and efficient practice. By eliminating superfluous movements, we refine our technique so that it is precise, direct and adapted to the situation.

May these nine principles enlighten your martial path in Kyokushin Karate. May they inspire you to cultivate integrity, discipline and a deep understanding of our beloved martial art. Commit yourself with passion and dedication, forging your path in the footsteps of the old masters.

Next article: The Book of Water

Gaëtan Sauvé

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