‘Bubishi’ literally means military (bu) preparation (bi) record (shi), or a manual for martial ready intention or spirit’. In the context of karate it represents the patriarchal source of knowledge, providing disciples with the ancient masters’ secrets. For generations the Bubishi preserved the original precepts upon which the civil fighting traditions rest. Disclosing the original means and methods of Chinese gong fu, the Bubishi conclusively imparts both the practical and ethical values of the civil fighting traditions, and in doing so it reveals the magnitude of karate-do and identifies that which lies beyond the immediate results of physical training. Although the Bubishi is a document peculiar to Monk Fist and White Crane gong fu, it achieves an impact of more encompassing proportions. It was referred to as the 'the bible of karate' by the founder of Goju Ryu. Miyagi Chojun.
The Bubishi was a secret reference text and Master rank and certification passed on from Grand Master to the most senior and 'anointed' student originally in China and later Okinawa. It is noteworthy that all the main masters of karate have studied the Bubishi and applied its teachings. It was originally created by Karma and awarded to Master Miyagi after his study of karate in China during 1916-1917. It is thought that Master Miyagi created Tensho kata and named his style Goju Ryu after his study of the Bubishi. Master Miyagi also started to pass on the knowledge of the Bubishi to his most senior disciples to signify that they too had attained Master level and to continue the lineage of Goju Ryu. Recipients of the Bubishi Grand Master rank are regarded as experienced enough to establish their own style while maintaining the highest standard of underlying Bubishi teachings, knowledge, principles and spirit.
An authoritative Japanese translation of the Bubishi was undertaken by the late Ohtsuka Tadahiko Sensei (Master Instructor to the Head Instructors of Goju Yonshin Kai Karate do) in 1998. Ohtsuka Sensei’s original Bubishi is a copy of Higa Yuchoku’s Bubishi. Higa Sensei revered his copy of the Bubishi and studied it deeply, a tradition impressed on Ohtsuka Sensei by both Higa Sensei, and Ichikawa Sensei (Goju Ryu). Ohtsuka Sensei is a fourth generation generation recipient of the Bubishi Grand Master degree rank. The Head Instructors of Goju Yonshin Kai Karate Do have received the rare honour of being awarded the Bubishi Grand Master rank and associated honorific certifications directly from Ohtsuka Sensei in Japan in 2007.
We are dedicated to the teachings of the Bubishi. We have spent many hours and days studying the principles and techniques contained in the Bubishi directly with Ohtsuka Sensei in in Japan. Training included a study of the practical applications represented in the Bubishi and in-depth analysis of the ethics and philosophy. Ohtsuka Sensei passed on information regarding the historical development and significance of not only the contents of the Bubishi, but of the Bubishi itself. Obviously, with the immense scope of the Bubishi, we continue to devote considerable time to develop our continued appreciation of the Bubishi and traditional Goju Ryu. Review our lineage.