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On Ko Chi Shin

‘On Ko Chi Shin’ is a famous saying from Sensei Gichin Funakoshi.

'On Ko Chi Shin' written by Tetsuhiro Hokama

It has been talked about in seminars and blogs many many times over.

'On Ko Chi Shin', roughly translated means "learn from the old to better understand the new" and can be used not only in karate but in every day life.

“Learn from the old, to better understand the new”

As my first blog, I thought it appropriate to start with this famous saying... bear with me on this.

Life as an adult can be stressful (I’m sure we’d all agree). No doubt about it, unless you’ve won the lottery and have assistants on hand, you have family, life admin, work and socialising all to fit in – and I haven’t even got round to training. Then you have social pressures: what you should be wearing, how you should you behave, when should you get married? Bla bla bla...

You may have children or you may not. Either way, at some point you will have seen little kids running around. Why? They don’t run to keep fit. They don’t worry about how many calories they’ve burnt, checking their Fitbits (other watches are available). They run…because they think it’s fun. They don’t stress about tomorrow. They are completely in the here and now.

When karate-ka talk about ‘On Ko Chi Shin’, we think about lessons learnt from the old masters – Funakoshi, Itosu, Chojun and the like – or learning from our own instructors.

What's to say that we can’t learn from our own past, like when we were children?

When was the last time you ran around, just for the sake of running around? When was the last time you were truly mindful in a single moment, just like you when you were a kid?

6 year old me with my dad

In karate, it’s truly important to be in the moment. It's essential to be completely mindful of what is happening at any given moment, otherwise you could end up kicking someone in the head!

So next time you go for a run, don’t worry about how far you're going or how many calories you're burning. Next time you train, try to be in the moment, enjoying every single second, like the 6 year old you would.

After all, the past has already happened, the future isn't yet written. All we have is now.

Enjoy the moment!


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Beautifully written. Thank you for the reminder. Especially hit home as my son is the same age as you in the photo with your Dad!

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