Our hands have no fixed form. They change, as we use them for different tasks. Their form is “empty” of a fixed nature. 

Hand is written “手”and pronounced “te” in Japanese.

Kara “空” means “empty.”

Our hands, as we use them in karate practice, hold nothing. They do not grasp any implement or object or weapon. They are empty.

Our hands are empty with regard to form and to content.

空” is also “sora”, “sky.”  The sky may be clear or cloudy, unobstructed or hidden, but is always present, always vast, always changing. 

This matches the character of our mind, as we practice, as well. Not grasping, without fixed form, always changing and vast.

So we can see some aspects of the significance of the characters 空 手 for “karate.”


Post Copyright © 2021 Jeff Brooks, author of The Good Fight – The Virtues and Values of the Martial Arts.

Photo by Cassandra Nelson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: