Gouki and Gouken : Character Development, Mu vs Ten
This piece has been a long time coming. Many years
I was initially worried that many people wouldnt like to read walls of text
But then I realized, if they were really curious, and were truly in search of the truth, walls of text would be no barrier to information.
Also, some people cannot get the concept that behind every seemingly simple trait a game character has, theres probably a whole chunk of history or culture waiting to make you realize that that trait alone is enough to give you a deep understanding of that said character. Unfortunately not everyone has the necessary knowledge to appreciate the traits, so misunderstanding / non-understanding occurs. This happens to anybody, native speaker or not to the game, because it is not only language dependant, but knowledge dependant.
Be warned, this text is necessarily long for a few reasons.
Ive found out that it is because people wanted short precise translations but that is not usually enough (needs detailed interpretation).
Because the simple little things you are used to have their own major significance in the characters development. Some of it has been, unfortunately lost in translation and interpretation by the unaccustomed mind, and were either simplified further (losing its significance) or totally misinterpreted (changing its significance, and causing further ripples of misinterpretations that affect even other characters in a major way), and then read by a similar minded person, gets misunderstood.
Examples of this are the symbols behind Gouki (Ten) and Goukens back (Mu) which can be casually looked upon as simple symbols by some, but are, in fact, totally representative of their character and how it relates to what they say and do.
And so here it is. Incomplete, but Revised and updated (Pre SF4 quotes)for the readers (wherever you find this piece.)
Theres still a lot of misunderstanding going around about Gouki. Most of all that he is evil and that he is out for the kill.
IS HE EVIL?
All we know now from canon sources is that since his tutelage from Goutetsu, that hes always been striving to move ahead and get stronger by whatever means he can get. The most important point in his young adult phase was that whereas Gouken chose not to Embrace Satsui no hado, Gouki did, because it was to him, a natural path to getting stronger. (Goukens wanting to have a non SnH version of the Shoryuken, Hadouken and Tatsumakisenpuukyaku to be passed on, is linked to the Mu representing him. To be discussed later.)
Losing to his master at first, he left to strengthen himself. He eventually came back after learning Shun Goku Satsu (from which we have no canon sources where he got, the move itself, will also be discussed later), and used it to defeat (kill) his master while catching him in a middle of a move (A version of the hadoken).
With that, he left. Only to return much later to defeat Gouken and grab his beads to use for himself.
He has his own code of honor and ignores various cultural concepts of good and evil when applied to himself. However aside from his understanding of the martial arts, he has also been canonically shown to be a very spiritual person, and is somewhat following Ashura no Michi (Path of the Ashura). His speech patterns show that hes at least basically versed in our equivalent of Buddhism and its mythos. (His character model is by itself based on Buddhist figures, from AAC.)
He has been shown to have in a few occasions, killed people (or tried to but failed).
Gouken (Which seems to have failed, shown in SF4, because he has attained Mu)
An unknown fighter that was in a tournament Adon was in. (Of which I have not the canon texts)
Gen Who blocked it all.
Yes, it seems that in the recent years there has been a misunderstanding by small communities that Gen got hit by the Shun Goku Satsu and survived it. In game, hes shown to have blocked it, Just like Gouki Blocked the reciprocal attack. In canon texts like All About Capcom (Which is unfortunately, not free from misinterpretation but also to be discussed later), it is also plainly stated, that Gen Guarded against it. The Japanese Guard is the English SF equivalent of Block By the way.
This is not open to interpretation, Gen Blocked it. There are some who would like it to be different to suit their own theories about the story, but Gen Blocked it. Clear and Simple as day. Those of you who always thought he got hit, go and watch the actual intro of their fight.
Also, some of you have seen Gill get hit by the Shun Goku Satsu, only to revive himself. Depending on whether you like to believe that everything that happens in game is canon or not, its either canon or not. Dont read too much into it.
The people that he has killed were either people who were prepared to fight to the death, or people he deemed unworthy to live.
Evil? To many cultures, yes, you take a life like that youre evil.
But he has saved a boys life before (SFZero3 Side Story).
Good? Yes to some people yes. Plus he did get rid of Vega. Hahaa.
And he hasnt ever been shown to kill an innocent.
So, hes Evil? Hes Good?
Excellent, From the various descriptions of him and his speeches ingame, by now some readers already know hes following the Path of the Shura (Ashura).
For those who dont know, an Ashura, the same one hes trying to attain the status of or just follow the path of, are gods/demi gods who are very violent and who are always fighting. They are Partly Good and Partly Evil (as the general descriptions go) just like humans.
His Symbol is Ten. Generally seen as a symbol to Link him to heaven. Granted to him (probably) by an Ashura if what has been mentioned to me before was correct (AASFZ3). I was told it was by an Onigami but he most probably meant Kishin.
Side Note : Those who know more about the mythos may think that Ten is a contradictory term to use as Ten represents the enemies of the Ashura , the Tenbu (Devas). Dont worry, you dont have to link it that far. Theres another simple meaning behind this that you can understand only after you take into consideration Goukens Symbol is Mu.
Ten links him to heaven, but as seen in the whole, it links him to the gods. With his current actions and Path, he will be stuck in the six paths and cannot go beyond that. In other words, he may be pursuing the path of the Shuras, but that is not the true path of enlightenment. The Human form is actually the most ideal to attain True Enlightenment, even a Deva or a Shura, beings immensely more powerful than humans, cannot gain true enlightenment the way humans can.
In very simple words, Gouki and his Ten symbol as a whole show him as a misguided character, in contrast to Gouken.
An Edit for 2014 , years after I wrote this : I have been reading up and understanding more on What Mu is, and what it really means in Buddhism. I now understand a (more accurate) but slightly different interpretation of this, though it’s still not off course, do read YagamiFire’s expanded explanation of SGS in the forums where I have tried to contribute to his explanations.