Shorin-ryu karate is based on a profound philosophy of life. The Shorin-ryu tradition is an ancient spiritual tradition of peace, loving compassion and reverence for life. It believes that all people are seeking happiness and peace of mind, even though they may not recognize it themselves. They may behave badly, but that bad behavior is an expression of their failure to realize their true nature, which is the divine source of all creation. By living the Shorin-ryu way, which is in harmony with the universe, a person can attain true peace and happiness.
Correction of misbehavior may involve fighting. If the Shorin-ryu person has no alternative, he or she will "fight like a thousand tigers"; Shorin-ryu people are trained to be able to do that with their potentially lethal art. But they are also trained to avoid a fight; that is the central principle of Shorin-ryu karate.
Shorin-ryu tradition aims at self mastery.. It teaches that the literal meaning of karate, "empty hand," is symbolic of a deeper aspect of karate, the "empty self." It believes the ultimate enemy to overcome is our own egos. It emphasizes nonviolent, moral behavior which arises from loving concern for others and a desire to purify one's own character from the defects which give rise to disorder and disharmony. Thus, the person of empty self is a person who has risen above ego; his mind and heart are free of petty self-centeredness. Such a person lives in harmony with all creation and is therefore truly peaceful and genuinely happy.
The philosophy of Shorin-ryu karate can be summed up in six key words-"the six C's" -which express Shorin-ryu karate's ideals for living: Compassion, Character, Courage, Courtesy, Competence and Community.
Why we emphasize Kata and do not compete in tournaments
The more remote a budo form remains from sportive endeavor, the more positively it identifies itself with combat effectiveness and the classical tradition. The bugei (classical martial arts) are not sportive, and thus a budo form interested in attaining or preserving combat efficiency must also avoid sportive endeavors of all kinds.
A true fighting art cannot be practiced without concomitant element of danger, nor can it be brought to a practical conclusion without the spilling of blood. However, in order that it may be practiced at a time when there is a lack of martial applications, training methods must be designed to control it without reducing its combat values. Rules and regulations enabling a fighting art to be a competitive sport tend to reduce its combative effectiveness. With this watering-down process combat values weaken, often disappear, and elements unrelated to real combat creep into the exercise patterns.
The hidden gest of a true fighting art is seen in its training methods. A bugei is a true combat system only if, through the absence of real combat opportunity, it is practiced only in Kata form for the tactics and methods of such a system are such that no conclusion between opponents can be reached without resulting in injury or death.