Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do, made it a central part of his philosophy that karate-do is to be defensive in nature. He adopted a saying from Gichin Funakoshi, “Karate Ni Sente Nashi”, which is translated to “There is no first attack in Karate.” There are many martial arts systems practiced globally, and many focus almost exclusively on striking techniques, with little or no regard to the character development and peaceful philosophy of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do. As an art form, Matsubayashi-ryu kata (forms) start off with a defensive action, indicating that we are not initiating a hostile move, but are responding to it.
Matsubayashi-ryu Karate-do is quite effective against attacks, and when used properly is a comprehensive system with kihon (basics) in blocking, striking, kicking, grappling, joint manipulation, pressure point targeting, and controlling techniques. Through consistent training, a Karate-do practitioner will develop over time into a capable fighter. This focus is secondary to developing into a respectful person and member of society. O-Sensei Nagamine’s vision was that world peace would be a possibility if the principals of “Karate Ni Sente Nashi” were embraced, which he said is the “Essence of Okinawan Karate-do.”
Karate-do means the way of karate. It goes beyond the mere punching and kicking of karate and encompasses the mind, body and spirit. It is a way of forging the entirety of one's mind, body and spirit into a cohesive whole with the strength of tempered steel. It brings the focus, self-discipline and perseverance of karate into the development of a tightly focused mind, a physically fit body and an indomitable spirit. Karate-do is a way of life.