Goshinjutsu draws much from the traditions of the martial arts that have come before it, with particular influence from Shotokan’s founder, Master Gichin Funakoshi. His humility and pursuit of the perfection of character above the glorification of violence is the cornerstone of all good martial arts. Goshinjutsu combines the honorable ideals of Master Funakoshi with modern Christian values and this is the result:
1. We exist as people among other people. We should seek empathy and concern for others above concern for ourselves.
Takeaway: No man is an island. It takes a network of people to make societies operate, and no one person is more important than any other. Therefore, it’s not about me. It’s about caring for other people. If even a handful of people will purposefully direct their thoughts and actions in this manner, entire communities could change for the better, and subsequently, the world.
2. We are not better than others, nor are we inferior. We should respect others as we hope to be respected, and ourselves enough to earn it in return.
Takeaway: Ego can be a deadly thing in the minds of warriors. One who thinks too highly of himself will often view other people as inferior and is all too often judgmental and antisocial. Likewise, someone with low self-esteem will have the same tendencies stemming from a need for approval. It all relates to the ego. Once we release our inner desire to feel normal or to fit in, we can begin to grow and nourish our true selves, and in turn we will begin to respect ourselves properly and we will attract the respect of likeminded peers.
3. We are more than our physical bodies. We have minds and emotions which are higher than the physical self. This is what should be applied to our dealings with ourselves and others.
Takeaway: People are not just physical. What makes one individual is the soul – his or her mind, will, and emotions – in short, his personality. Just as there are many body types, made up of various physical features (nose, eyes, height, weight, etc.), there are also many personalities that make up the world, and within each one is a painting of that person’s life. There are emotions, experiences, and ideas that make up the whole person. We should not discount a person based on his physical attributes or shortcomings. To do so is selfish and judgmental, and it is another symptom of an enlarged ego. We should take the time to get to know people and see the person inside.
4. We should not return evil for evil. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Takeaway: It can be easy for a person to falsely justify violence against another based on some wrongdoing, sometimes calling it an act of self-defense. However, self-defense does not exist after the fact; once a wrong has been committed, any recourse is vengeance. There is no justice in returning violence with violence or wrongdoing for wrongdoing. There is nothing to gain in seeking revenge on an assailant. As a martial artist, the power of life and death rests in your hands. With that power comes the responsibility to use your skills prudently.
5. The highest calling of a martial artist is that of a protector. We should all strive to protect others.
Gichin Funakoshi said it best: “Karate is an aid to justice.” The only good and true purpose for one to learn a martial art is to protect one’s self or others. Far greater would it be that a victim should rise to become a victor over his or her detractors, and then have the courage to stand up to another’s enemies, than for someone to become the bully.
6. To remain calm in the midst of the storm is the mark of a true martial artist. To be the cause of the storm is the mark of a fool.
Seasoned martial artists learn to be calm amidst life and death conflict. It is that calm that allows the combatant to make rational decisions, to respond with logic instead of reacting out of fear or anger. In order to truly master Goshinjutsu the practitioner must learn to remain calm and decide upon a course of action, following through with the decisiveness and certainty of a martial artist.
Mathena-Ryu Goshinjutsu is not a new style, so much as a new way of teaching. It is the unraveled, unbiased art of protecting oneself using techniques formed by the student, instead of the instructor. Its two core training values are learning broad principles of combat which can be used universally, in contrast to techniques which can only be used in certain situations, and learning and devising techniques based on response to the opponent's action, rather than separating the two. Goshinjutsu is a civilian self-defense oriented martial art, but can easily be adapted for military and law enforcement use.
NOTE: Mathena-Ryu Goshinjutsu is not to be confused with The Goshin Jutsu style of karate founded by Gerard Durant, nor the Kodokan Judo set of kata by the same name.
"Goshin" means Self-Defense and "Protection of the Body" in Japanese, and is a Bujutsu, or comprehensive modern self-defense system. Goshinjutsu has a primary focus on modern day defensive tactics, and less focus on traditional or classical techniques, although elements of the traditional arts can be found in it.