"The World Budo Conference" On October 13, 2016 in Poland

Published paper, English Ver.

Karatedo as Budo and Morality


Japan Karatedo Federation Wado-kai, Shitan-juku, Representative

World Traditional Karatedo Federation, Adviser

Japan Health Project Promotion Society, a non-profit organization, Chief Director

1. Human beings have "Empathy Brain" and "Moral Brain"

Human beings are engaged in social life by communicating with others. Prefrontal area which is on the tip of the cerebral cortex plays an important role in this process. This is said to be "Social Brain*1". There is "Empathy Brain*2" in the center of "Social Brain". This part observes the people and produces propriety and compassion.

Propriety arises from the heart to admit and respect each other, and "禮法(Reihou)" is that show it as a form. Losing propriety express that dysfunction of empathy brain and undeveloped social brain by own self. And it is disgraceful.

"Compassion" means that parental affection for children, selfless sympathy, and understanding the feelings of the others deeply. Helping the weak. Protecting children. Devoting to parents. Taking care of the mentally and physically damaged person. Helping the drowning person without thinking own danger. It is not nous and it is feelings as the person who is deeply rooted in the heart. In Japan, we call it "仁 (Jin) = benevolence, humanity". It is selfless love.

"Propriety" and "Compassion" are the cerebral skills that forms a highly developed brain as a person. The person who cannot embody them is equivalent with wild brutes.

It is said that there is range activated by feeling of "fear, awe, respect" to the others in the lateral region of abdomen of a social brain. Its function restrains the animal behavior which is rooted in the instinct of human beings through to be created the concept of "morality (the justice)" as " what you must not do must not do". Discharge of moral fiber is the underlying of the feelings of "awe" "shame" to the others rather than based on reason*3.

"The commandment of the Aizu samurai (Jyu no okite)*4" that handed down to Aizu-han (Aizu feudal clan) in the Edo era, at the end of the rule says, "I should obey my own moral sense". The reason is unnecessary there. "Do not do any wrongdoing even if you have any reason (You must not do that you must not do it as a person without any reasons)". It is a really shameful thing to do what you must not do.

On the other hand, it means, "Even if I do not want to do, I may have to do." Even if it is to become disadvantageous to oneself, I will fight for the justice, to rinse out for shame. It is true "justice".

It is the way of the person to fix "智 (Chi) = wisdom, acquaintance" with these "仁 (Jin) = selfless love", "義 (Gi) = justice" "禮 (Rei) = propriety". Four of these "Jin, Gi, Rei and Chi" are the beginning of ethics of the person. This is "四端 (Shitan) = four beginnings*5".

Thus, how do you train it to own or young people carrying the next era with these four beginnings?

2. Serotonin controls "Empathy Brain" and "Moral Brain"

2.1 Working memory

Serotonin*6 is secreted into the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex as moral brain. "Moral Brain" falls a malfunction in the state lacking in serotonin in brain. In other words, even if we recognize that crime should not be committed by rationally, because "Moral brain" cannot work to compensate for rational in dysfunction state, lose resistance to commit a crime. They do not hesitate to pull the trigger of the gun.

On the contrary, people do not to harm others if serotonin is secreted normally*7. The secretion of serotonin leads mental stability. The development of "Moral brain" and "Empathy brain" based on mental stability encourage growth of people with dignity and pride. Then, stable and mature brain brings that the development of society in general, the promotion of international exchange, and building of the harmonious world.

The human who is primates is the species that showed the distinguished development in the capacity of the brain. Development of the brain (frontal association area) can be the three stages as an indicator.

The stage which act with IQ (Intelligence Quotient). →The stage which play active part with IQ and EQ (Emotional Quotient). →The HQ (Hyper Quotient) stage which is harmonized as person with adding experience to IQ and EQ. Aims to acquire the harmony of 心 (Sin) = mental, 技 (Gi) = technique, life, and 体 (Tai) = physical through these stages to have enrich life.

"HQ" is that the intelligence as human which is in prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex, which combines comprehensive intelligent bundling all intelligence, the social intelligence, and the emotional intelligence plays a very important role in to engage in the social life. This brain region takes a role as the cognitive function called working memory. The working memory is the function of "maintaining temporarily" and "operating" for necessary information and it is the basis of calculation, judgment, reasoning and thought, such as higher-order cognitive activities.

Personal practice such as Kata Keiko (form practice) in Karate stimulates a working memory and develop the prefrontal cortex with the higher-order function of the presence of a person as a person.

2.2 四戒 ; Shikai

These four 驚 (Kyou), 懼 (Ku), 疑 (Gi), 惑 (Waku) are called "Shikai (Four Commandments or Four Warnings)*8", these show a way of having the spirit which is very important, being the top of the place to aim at Budo.

The 1st Kai "Kyou" is surprise, astonishment, or wonder. It means that an unanticipated thing is taking place suddenly, and your mind becomes upset. If surprised at the thing, by losing real intention, it is not possible to do handling of the adaptation to circumstances. It is important not to lose normal state of mind to whatever scene it encounters. Sudden "surprise" stimulates sympathetic nerve and releases the epinephrine which is a hormone of the strain norepinephrine. It obstructs secretion of serotonin stabilizing mind and body.

The 2nd Kai "Ku" is fear or anxiety. It means to fear the confronted opponent. When fearing too much, both the mind and the body are too much tense and do not get any movements. As for this, in the moment to have been seized with the fear, the sympathetic nerve of the escape and the fight is stimulated and then epinephrine, norepinephrine are secreted at once. Because, the secretion of the serotonin which balanced mind and body to it has stopped instantly.

The 3rd Kai "Gi" is Doubt, distrust, or suspicion. In Budo, this must not be most captured. Gi is in a situation that feelings are not decided even if it sees a partner and that there is not decision in mind. Rather while doubting an opponent, if getting to doubt oneself, it perishes naturally at last. The suspicion fear has put a switch in the sympathetic nerve especially from itself and firms the mind and body. Working out spirit, technique and body which react instantly and can work innocently by daily Keiko.

The 4th Kai "Waku" is to lose one's way, to hesitate, or to go astray. As for this, the consciousness be confused and a quick judgement and light operation not be made. It is impossible to embody by the contents of Keiko. By doubting thing it of being surprised, accomplishing fear to the the opponents and doubting a person unexpectedly, the mind goes this way and cannot do a proper judgement. The mind cannot make a fair decision when you are surprised at the unexpected thing and frightened by the opponents, also doubting a person and its mind. When it keeps being perplexed, it tenders the opponents its life from itself at last.

These "Shikai" obstructs the direction of our life and the development of own.

In Japan, there are way of saying, "to set up its Hara" "to decide its Hara". "Hara (腹)" is the lower abdomen, called the median point (正中点= Seichuten) or the center of the abdominal region (臍下丹田= Seikatanden). It is thought that there is a place giving off the root of the energy of the person there. Speaking in terms of Western medicine, 90% of the serotonin which makes for mental stability and posture maintenance of a skeletal muscle is secreted by intestines, furthermore, the body is not stable when the deep layers of muscles group including the psoas major muscle is not trained.

The sympathetic nerve gets active and tenses excessively if the brain tenses and the thoracic respiration becomes surplus. The activity of the sympathetic nerve is controlled if conscious of abdominal respiration, and strain reduces. The scene of the strain must breathe being conscious of Hara.

If a directionality is not clear, it is important to decide where to go by "Hara o Kimeru (making up your mind)". Even if the direction is wrong, take responsibility for the results with "Hara o sue".. The last form of the way of taking a responsibility is "Seppuku (Hara Kiri)". It tenders its life and it keeps responsibility and/or honor.

The level up of the balance the trinity of which is "心技体 (Shin-Gi-Tai)" connects with controlling "Shikai". The improvement of the control skill of "Shikai" becomes its own backbone. Its own backbone is "Hara no Kimekata (the way of making up your mind) and "Hara no Suekata (the way of taking your responsibility) in yourself. One of the meaning of Budo practice is also to train "Hara".

Promotion of serotonin secretion by "Keiko (practice)" makes the function of the frontal association area become stable, and it controls "Shikai".

2.3 仁 義 禮 智 ; Jin Gi Rei Chi

As I mentioned, Budo practicing would lead a guide for individuals to live as human being based on "Four Beginnings"仁 (Jin) = humanity, 義 (Gi) = justice, 禮 (Rei) = propriety, and 智 (Chi) = wisdom.

Jin (Humanity) is a mind of fundamental empathy and compassion as the person that cannot help to sympathize and mourn to the others as same human being.

Gi (Justice) is thought to evade disgraceful things and is the way which you should perform as a person essentially.

Rei (Propriety), respect for respectable people and things, also attitude to continue to become a respectable person.

Chi (Wisdom), clarifies the real intention, it is determined to know the truth of things, is the wisdom to continue to improve as a person.

Those conceptual ideas are very similar to the Knight's Code of Chivalry in the western society.

As for the difference, the root of the Bushido is the fact to be it has "to be sensible to shame" or "alive to the feelings of honor" concept. And the Bushido is continuation of ascetic practices to express it. The form of ascetic practices puts the virtue as the person on Bujyutsu in order to embody in them and it is Budo ascetic practices to make the one way.

It is not extravagant and it however takes pride, it aims for itself to be sublimated indifferently every day.

2.4 守 破 離 ; Shu, Ha, Ri (Defend, Break, Depart)

With those of four beginnings, it would further to proceed to "Shu, Ha, Ri (Defend, Break, Depart)*9".

In Japan, Karate practice is so called "稽古 (Keiko)". "稽 (Kei)" can be literally translated as "Think". "古 (Ko)" means an old, and it is ancient. Therefore, "Keiko" can be indicated as "Learning from predecessor and think in deeply". "学ぶ (Manabu) =Learning" is also has the same roots of wording of "真似る (Maneru) = Imitate". "Keiko" is the process by "Learning from predecessor with deep thinking and form it". Then, "道 (Do-u)" means Road in both Karatedo and Budo, it indicates long way for learning.

The 1st step is to "守 (Shu) = Defend". It is to observe the teacher's learning faithfully, follow, and repeat till completely master basic skills.

The 2nd step "破 (Ha) = Break" is to sublimate skills. With own experiences and conducting studies on top of what learnings from the teachers learnings, it is to further to add individual characters to sublimate it to the ideal one and make it most suitable one. It is the stage to break teacher's learning spontaneously to build it up with own characteristics.

The 3rd step is to "離 (Ri) = Depart". As ultimate phase, it is to get rid of stereotype and own preference and reach ultimate goal. "Depart" is as it were, ideal stage where one need to get into "break" from teacher and establish own style. By getting into this stage, now it can be formed as first ranked style.

Within each steps, "Defend, Break, Depart" is existed. For example, within "Defend", three steps existed and same apply for 2nd step, "Break" and 3rd step, "Depart".

This process is not only limited as various "Dou". It is also the path towards completion of one's life.

3. Dopamine system activates Sports brain, Serotonin system does for Budo brain.

Originally, in Budo practice, it would not exist competition and tournament to judge it. Tournament is a sport because it has rules and judgments. Essence of Budo is to continue discipline single-mindedly and practice without demanding others to judge own mental and physical conditions.

Values ​​of sports competition can be understood by dopamine principle.

In order to win the competition, people conduct various training hard. Hard work and limited meals. All for this hardship is to gain rewards such as honor and prizes. Games and gambling are the same. If you play again, you may win. If you play one more time, you may get plenty of money. Expecting for rewards might come up in next. Cheer Leader inspire excitement of the game and expectation of rewards.

The brain will be to expect a reward by dopamine. Seeking the excitement of the moment. Excitement is symbolized by takes guts pose and shout of delight. Only winner is right. Losers have to leave.

On the other hands, sense of values in Budo and Zen are heavily involved with theory of Serotonin. The main purpose is enhancement of own inner and mentally growth. Satisfaction of the mind is the comfort of the survival of life. Losing game because lead to self of death, so it is required to win. But even if the win, "compassion" is required as the consideration and courtesy to the opponent. There, Guts pose and cry is a shameful action. In Budo, cheer leading is not necessary.

Such logic is not nurtured in the Western type training. In Japan, those practice to acquire a body technique including stability of the mind has initiated back in 1600's of the Edo era following after the Sengoku era and deployed when it was peaceful with no warfare. At this time, it was necessary to conduct Bujyutsu discipline to master body control method including maintain mental calm. For example, training of Kyujutsu (Japanese martial arts of Archery) and Kenjutsu (Japanese martial arts of Swordplay) were not required during age with no warfare. Those skills were replaced with firearm. But, Bujyutu has not been perished. Budo has developed by utilize people and self improvement, but not for killing people*10.

Tactics of combat has sublimated to Bujyutu and it has sublimated to Budo which is correspond with way to control body, way of breathing and way of thinking. This method is to train serotonin system and lead the way for individual growth and social maturity.

In addition, power without a justice is violence; a justice without power is vain fact. It is said that "There is no first move or avoid from dangerous situation in Karate", "Karate is not for an attack. If you hit no one, no one hits you, and there is no battle", "The power that oneself has without showing it off outside to prevent a battle", "The person learning Karate must not set a fight from oneself in the scene of the rivalry". In terms of the Kenjutsu is "Saya no uchi*11".

Precisely because it is, we need to resist the desire of the dopamine system which stick for win or lose.

If we continue to train again, we may get further recognition of mental balance ... get better understanding of exquisite taste of holds ... body can be utilize in more on elaborated maneuver.

Budo should be utilized dopamine system for individual growth effectively.

Physiologically, harmony of healthy body and spirit can be maintained by Budo practice. In the form practice, the breathing method, repeated practice and posture control would stimulate secretion of serotonin and make brain stay calm to lead mind stability (Upper Tanden; Tanden is a source of energy of our body). Moreover, improve the skill of entire practice and humanity, mindfulness associated with related various activity would stimulate secretion of dopamine which will be further energy for self-motivation (Middle Tanden). Secretion of Norepinephrine by being aware of moving practice and his/her midline of the body, it will cultivate vigor and courage. (Lower Tanden).

In brain wave, β-wave become superior at the dynamic practice (physical training), α-wave become superior at the static training (mental training) and adjust the balance of sympathetic nervous and parasympathetic nerve.

Practice time which needs unusual body movement and unusual awareness changes usual driving mode of the cerebral neocortex to practice concentration mode. By keep conducting practice, concentration mode would work on Default Network in brain to recover from fatigue of cerebrum.

This makes stress control to prevent from secretion of cortisol.

As shown on J.H. Mill's article, "Freedom discussion*12", "Freedom is not restrict each other, your own freedom is secured by people's freedom, Freedom in each other stand up with suppression of own freedom", it relates the true meaning of Budo practice. This apply for all we live such as human relationship, social atmosphere and environmental security.

This has not been changed and continued seamlessly over two thousand and several hundred years from B.C. like emperor family in Japan; it is the roots of Japanese ethical perspective.

It connect to "Heaven and land came from nature*13" in Shinto (神道= indigenous religion of Japan) and "Pursue benefitting for others by get rid of benefitting of own*14" in Buddhism.

4. Karatedo practice as Budo leads holistic brain formation as person.

An individual Karatedo practice as Kihon keiko (basic practice) and Kata keiko needs to imagine opponents, adjust breathing, control the movement of limb and center of gravity, remove physical tension and have mental harmony. In other words, Karatedo practice can be said Moving Zen. Rhythmic motion by Kata keiko makes to increase in carbon dioxide concentration due to the change in breathing, Intestinal tract stimulation due to the abdominal breathing and tightening of lower abdomen, and enhance the serotonin activity and improve the brain function. In addition, inhibits the activity of excess dopamine and epinephrine.

In grouping practice, "Stimulation brought from social mutual interaction, complex, challenging and pleasing stimulation would make neuron to start special firing (Princeton University, brain neurochemistry, Neuron new life study, 2006 Nature Neuro Science magazine)*15".

In the Ministry of education of Japan "junior high school learning guidance guidelines commentary The health and physical education, Budo" purpose of education of Budo is "Rather than pursue for winning over the game, respect others and pay respective attention rather than Win or Lose, and understand about self-discipline"*16 .

Moreover, morality is "to seek the choice that should be as a person without being selfish, and being seized with an instinctive desire*17".

In youth period with gentle mind and body, education about ethical and morality through Budo would lead growth as human beings, and also link with society connected with people.

Individuals keep growing throughout their lives and they form a society by ethics and morality as a common consciousness in the population. Ethics and morality is common concept and universally trained beyond race, sex and nations. And that ethics and morality is that transcends race, gender or borders as a common understanding of humanity, and I believe that is a universal discipline, and get the discipline.


Karate can also has another meanings such as Kara (空) means empty and Te (手) means hands; as it were it means "unarmed".

Karatedo is what practicing to seek the moral principle with "Toshu-Kuken (Toshu = "Bare hand" and Kuken = "Empty hand")" as the whole duty of men.

Japanese Budo including Karatedo shows the form of ascetic practice is holistic and socially oriented discipline with self-control and self-growth.

Therefore, Budo practicing is the ideal and adequate way to create human beings.

In that idea, there is significant implication to practice "Budo", "Karatedo" as a universal language.

To create human beings and the world by Karatedo education and Budo education is the true meaning of the "Karatedo" and "Budo".

From its implications, I think that it cannot be translated to "Karatedo" "Budo" to "combative sports" "Martial arts".

[ Note ]

✽1 : American physiologist Leslie Brothers used the word Social Brain in 1990. It is regarded as one turning point that amygdaloid body, an eye socket forehead field and a temporal lobe were indicated as an important part in particular in the society recognition ability. In the later damage study and a noninvasive brain function image study found out that the amygdala is important to emotion recognition, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is important to decision making, and the temporal lobe underside is important to atmosphere recognition.

✽2 : It is found by Giacomo Rizzolatti and others in 1996, and it is called a mirror neuron.

✽3 : Kanno Kakumyou (1956 -, a Japanese ethicist, the monk of the Soto Zen Buddhism. Kougaku

-kan professor. Former Tokyo University professor. For the specialty history, Japan ethic thought) "Human beings are ... (omission) ... it is a part of nature, Human beings are under the control of natural rule and natural desire. "Do what I want to do, do not do anything do not want to do" ... (omission) ... However, human beings are existence to perform the act that was against such natural rule and desire really for own will routinely. In that way, how would you like to do, ... which does not do the thing which should not be done. ... (omission) ... it is said that the way peculiar to a human being is "justice".

✽4 : Children of Aizu-han (Aizu feudal clan) from six to nine years old boys who live in the same town made a gathering with about ten people. Aizu-han called this gathering "Jyu (10)", and an elder of those became chairperson. They gathered in either house in turn every day, and chairperson told them "The Story (the thing which should not be done)" to everyone. Then, they reviewed "The Story" whether it was right or not from yesterday to today.

Do not disobey the advice and counsel that the elders say. Respect and bow your head your elders. Do not lie. Do not act the coward. Do not bully the weak. Do not eat outside the home. Do not talk to women outside the home. "Do not do any wrongdoing even if you have any reason."

✽5 : Basic thought of "the view of human nature as fundamentally good" that Mencius (B.C.372 – B.C. 289) who was a Chinese Confucianism person preached.

✽6 : It was found as the substance which controls tension of a blood vessel. It holds over-loaded norepinephrine and dopamine and is able to fix the balance of mind. When it is short, balance of mind collapses, and it becomes violent, and depression develops. Also, it is though that related to the symptom of IBS (hypersensitive gut syndrome) etc., it acts on the gastrointestinal function of bowels. The central nerve in the brain has only 2% of whole, but it has a big influence on mind stability, posture maintenance.

✽7 : References: "Nou o Kasseika suru" P.256 Author: Hideho Arita, Nihon Budokan publication in 2014, Japan.

✽8 : Rreference : "Kendo no Naraikata (How to learn kendo)" Author: Hiromasa Takano. Oizumi publication in 1953, Japan.

✽9 : A step to the art of the highest rank with the ability which was opened by view Kanami, Zeami parent and child to say that made "ability" be complete in the third Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1368 – 1394).

✽10 : Doctor Eugen Herrigel visited from Germany in early 1900's, professor at Japanese college by teaching Philosophy with 5th grade of Kyudo (Japanese budo of archery) stated in his publication "Zen in the Art of Archery (Original title "Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschiessens")". Budo discipline started as tactic of combat and later it has deployed as more sophisticated in mental and body control is based on Zen and so he said "After hundred years passed by, the roots of the sprit has not been changed". Japanese version P.116

✽11 : "Saya no Uchi " means the condition which is without drawing a sword from the sheath. However, it does not only mean the condition not to be pulling out. If the partner finds that the capability is excellent before fighting, that it is more overwhelming than the partner, the partner does not need to fight, therefore, it means that it is not always necessary to draw a sword and fight. The way of winning without making a partner admit and fighting which defeats a partner before using a force is called "the win in the sheath". It is one of the ideal image of Budo, it is made the innermost secret of Iaijutsu and it is supposed to have been most excellent in the way of wining. "The eyes to see through the ability" supported by training is necessary for not only the ability of oneself but also the partner so that "Saya no Uchi" is formed. In Japan, it is often introduced as the anecdote of Bujyutsu, the phenomenon to accept the ability of the each other partner only by both facing each other.

✽12 : John Stuart Mill, British Philosopher, who has influenced Social democracy and Libera-lism thoughts. Authored work as "Freedom discussion" published in 1859.

✽13 : Theory that the principle to regulate entire universe.

✽14 : While make own efforts to improve, consider for others' relieve at the same time.

✽15 : Reference: "SPARK" Japanese version P.329 Author: John J. Ratey. NHK Publication.

✽16 : In "Traditional thinking" of Budo is not just to pursue to "Win" on the contest, but also to understand an idea of traditional moves including "starting with a bow and end with a bow". This makes people to pay their respects to the others no matter of win or lose the contest and start governing themselves.

✽17 : "Discipline is approved by component of society and model of realizing of ethical value. The principle is to adjust the gap of ideal vs. real of eagerness for fame, desire for power, desire for property, desire for justice, truth, love, faith, loyalty, trust, equal, profit for nations, in order to make appropriate decision to qualify to be component for the society." Quoted from Britanica Encyclopedia. 


全日本空手道連盟 和道會 千秋会 "四端塾" のHPにようこそ。 Welcome to Sensyu-kai "SHITAN-JUKU" (Japan Karate-do Federation WADO-KAI)'s HP. 仁義禮智 是 四端 也


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