Perfection of Character – Comments by Dan Soller Kancho

Perfection of Character
Guiding Principles for the Martial Arts & Everyday Life
by Teruyuki Okazaki, 9th dan
Chairman & Chief Instructor
International Shotokan Karate Federation
Comments by Dan Soller Kancho
September 2008

The idea of sharing books with Association karateka was an idea that I borrowed from the President of Mount St. Mary’s University, Tom Powell (honorary 2008 black belt).  Tom shares a number of books throughout the year with the administration and I found it a wonderful way to enjoy the written word and learn new ideas.  With our Legacy Celebration year I thought book sharing would be inspirational and another way to highlight our continuing path of bettering ourselves.

I chose Perfection of Character for its simple messages, insightful context, universal themes and optimistic view of karate and society.
Also, Master Okazaki was well known to me and certainly a noted “old student” in the karate world.  When I first read the book I thought it was “pretty good”.  When I read it again, I thought it was outstanding!  I have since read it twice more.  I am impressed more and more with its contents, and humbled, as a karateka, that I have so much more to learn and understand about this wonderful and mysterious art of karate that I have so dedicated myself.

I believe the core message of the book is to always respect others through the way of courtesy.  Courtesy is a central aspect that I look for in all individuals, especially Phoenix karateka, in that it is the overt way to reflect our understanding of the value of each and every person, irrelevant of life’s station.  

Master Okazaki reminds us of the constant struggle and joy of training  to join the mind, body and spirit. Karate is meant to develop the whole person and so many of Master Funakoshi’s messages reflect that fact.

The author also reminds that there are winners and losers.  Winners work more often, harder, are reflective and introspective, and strive to improve.  They work at it!

As a last note, I am reminded that while we must develop our inner characters to the utmost, we simply cannot ignore the trained skill.  We must remember that the “essential shield for the spirit is the sword”.  And our sword is the way; the Phoenix Way of Karate.


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