Karate bu sente nashi.
(There is no first attack in Karate)
This phrase, inscribed on a monument in a Zen monastary in Kamakura City, embodies the essence of Okinawan Karate. Karate is a martial art yet it was developed by the Okinawans as a weaponless method of self defense.
The martial arts arose out of the fundamental human instinct of self-preservation. This instinct caused primitive man, living without effective weapons in caves and trees, to defend himself from attack by using his hands, feet, or other parts of his body. The Okinawans developed their own unique art of self-defense, te, which literally means hands. Most of the characteristics of Okinawan Karate-do appear in the use of fists, toes, elbows, and “knife-hands,” although any part of the body can become a vital weapon.
The essence of Okinawan Karate-do lies in the process by which students make the utmost effort in an attempt to create limitless power by utilization of true wisdom. Continuous practice will create a well-balanced person of sound mind and body.