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Ken Zen Sho: Strength, Spirit, and Beauty

Submitted by Barb Schaefer, Ni-Dan, Ueshiro Okinawan Family Dojo (State College, PA)

Under the Direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione



“Through karate training one can attain the highest ideals of beauty and strength. This beauty and strength is both inner and outer, mental and physical.” - Master Nagamine, The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do, 1976, p. 271

Did you know…

  • Master Ankichi Arikaki was unique as a bujin, one who places very high value on balancing physical training with artistic study, and was skilled across many areas: dance, poetry, calligraphy, Ryukyu music, and sports;

  • Master “Bushi” Matsumura was a master calligrapher;

  • Master Anko Itosu also had a “remarkable aptitude for writing skills”

The idea of ken-zen-sho captures the idea that to fully develop as a human being we need a balance of three things: Ken (“sword” / martial arts), Zen (philosophical / spiritual / mind), Sho (“brush” / art / aesthetics).


Our karate principles of mushin and zanshin and others apply to any endeavor we might undertake in life: our relationships, our work, our hobbies, our activities. Focus your attention, clear your mind, be present, listen carefully, be persistent, practice well, learn from others, and apply yourself with full speed and power.

“The true study of karate must transcend the mere physical – it must become a way of life.” “Earnestly cultivate your mind as well as your body and believe in yourself.”

- Master Nagamine in The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do, 1976, p. 47

Arigato gozaimasu,

Barb Schaefer, Ni-Dan Ueshiro Okinawan Family Karate Club State College, PA barbs819@gmail.com

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