'Spirit First, Technique Second'


What Did Grandmaster Funakoshi Mean With This Powerful Martial Quote?

Martial arts are not restricted to certain rules and neither is it about showing your might while fighting an opponent. Time and again, the fact that martial arts are more a way of life has been emphasized. However, people fail to see the bigger picture and make mistakes which prevent them from reaching their true potential. Grandmaster Funakoshi went as far as to claim martial arts are more or less about ‘Spirit first, technique second’. But what did he actually mean with this powerful martial quote?

If you too are unable to reach a proper conclusion, the following insight provided by Shihan Essence’s Facebook friends should help clarify all misunderstandings you have about martial arts:

Training Is the Least of Your Concerns

Peter E. stated people train as though there is no tomorrow. What they don’t realize is training is the least of your concerns when practicing martial arts. Instead of going at it like a bull at a gate, students should focus on the important aspects. This means they have to focus on remaining determined and vigorous, without which they can never correct their form. He also explained martial arts are no different from a horse cart, where the horse comes first and the cart second. It simply means the first element is not more important than the second.

There is no doubt correcting your technique is not easy. It is tricky and difficult and requires you to maintain unusual and extremely uncomfortable postures all the while practicing muscle movements. However, as a student, if your spirit is strong, you will keep working towards perfecting your form without giving into your weaknesses in the long run. This, instead of training all the time, is what will enable you to master the art of martial arts.

Mind Over Body

Regardless of what our friend Peter stated, there are a few followers who believe the quote is not as complicated. Paul M. states the quote is self-explanatory in nature. He thoroughly believes a martial artist will reach new heights only if he/she cultivates internal energy and the mind for better control over the body. He also clarifies that with the correct mindset, learning techniques become easier and you can reach a new level of mastery. For this to work the individual has to be patient and be open to new ideas. It is only a matter of time before the martial artist will realize there is no real enemy except for the one inside you.

Perfecting Your Technique Is Not the Only Thing That Matters

Enough emphasis cannot be placed on the fact that perfecting your technique is not the only thing that matters when it comes to practicing martial arts. You still need to embrace the warrior within you, as Cheito V. claims. To be more precise, without the spirit of a warrior, it is unlikely you will be able to perfect or master the techniques.

On the other hand, there are followers like Fearless Martial Arts who believe the problem is quite simple. If you are going to cry every time you get hit, your perfected techniques can do nothing for you. It is all about embracing yourself and your abilities and channeling your willingness and determination into your actions. Once this has been accomplished, learning martial arts becomes easier, as it will in fact come to you naturally.

Keeping the aforementioned factors in mind, you should now have a better understanding of this Martial Quote and what it offers for martial artists who are looking for more than a means to defend themselves.