Niju Kun #1 – Do not forget that karate begins and ends with a bow
This is the first of 20 precepts of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the Father of Modern-Day Karate. Master
Funakoshi is known by millions of people all around the world and is considered to be one of the three
most important martial art masters of the 20th century.
A bow is a true representation of respect. It is a way to show someone that you see them and properly
accept them. But it is not enough to see someone, you must also show that you accept them properly. A
bow does this. It shows the person that you see them and accept them for who they are.
A bow is commonly used in eastern cultures but it is not the only way to show respect. In western
cultures respect is shown by greeting someone politely and offering to shake their hand. This lets them
know that you see them and acknowledge their significance. It also tells them that you’re coming in
friendship and that you trust them.
Showing respect to another person can have a huge impact on their lives. It might seem small to you, but
it might be very big for them. Imagine if you shook hands with the President of the United States. You
probably won’t forget it.
Before you can truly respect others, you must respect yourself, otherwise you risk coming across as
insincere. How you look, act, think and speak will indicate how much you respect yourself. If your clothes
are torn and dirty, if you act like you don’t care, if you speak in a crude manner all these things will signal
to the other person that you don’t have a lot of respect for yourself and as a consequence you don’t
We share emotions with other people. When someone respects us, we feel good. So, when we respect
ourselves, we feel good. When we respect another person, they feel good. When they feel good, they
respect themselves more.
Life is hard, the more we do to respect ourselves and others the easier life will be for all of us.
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