The primary concern and aim of the karateka (karate practitioner) should be to become a better human being. Your life will be more complete, fulfilling and productive if you are a good person.
If you develop your character and act ethically, you are contributing to the formation of a better society. If you maintain a good work ethic, the physical skills of karate will follow.
The true hand (ShinShu) of Ryukyu Kempo practitioners is about the physical application of knowledge in life-protection and also about using your knowledge to better yourself and the world around you. The honest practitioner will accomplish more in their study of karate and in their daily life.
The goal of the karateka is not to destroy human life, but to preserve and protect it. This is "ShinShu". It is better to control or nullify a situation, not to destroy the attacker. This is a shift in the perspective of some of the modern-day practitioners of martial arts. The life-protection arts are very serious, because of the situations in which they should be used and because they protect human lives.
One must value human life in order to understand the depth and importance of the classical life-protection arts.
To quote an article on Oyata Seiyu Sensei and Ryukyu Kempo:
" 'Shin Shu' means 'the truthful hands.' Okinawan people put their soul and spirit in their hands, and protect their family, people, and country. The true understanding of this art requires wisdom to use one's hands correctly, as in the life-protection arts, and it should not be used only to inflate one's ego." --Shintaku Shiro, "Classical Okinawan Arts", "Dojo" magazine, Spring 1993.
The Dojo Kun, or "school guidelines", of Ryukyu Kempo are:
1. Strive for good moral character.
2. Keep an honest and sincere way.
3. Cultivate perseverance or a will for striving.
4. Develop a respectful attitude.
5. Restrain your physical ability through spiritual attainment.
These Dojo Kun are not simply for children who start training in karate; I believe that they are just as important for adults. The obligation of moral behavior is not limited to children who are developing as human beings. All of us can strive to become better.
This is "true-hand". This is "ShinShu".
(c) 2006, Matthew Seymour