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Shotokan (松濤館 Shōtōkan)

Its a style of karate developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) and his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi (1906–1945). Gichin was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing “karate do” through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of university karate clubs, including those at Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi (Shodai), Takushoku, Chuo, Gakushuin, and Hosei.

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Funakoshi had many students at the university clubs and outside dojos, who continued to teach karate after his death in 1957. However, internal disagreements (in particular the notion that competition is contrary to the essence of karate) led to the creation of different organisations—including an initial split between the Japan Karate Association (headed by Masatoshi Nakayama) and the Shotokai (headed by Motonobu Hironishi and Shigeru Egami), followed by many others—so that today there is no single “Shotokan school”, although they all bear Funakoshi’s influence.

As the most widely practiced style, Shotokan is considered a traditional and influential form of karate-do.

History of Shotokan Karate

Image of Master Gichin FunakoshiGichin Funakoshi is widely considered as the “father” of modern day karate. He was born in the Shuri prefecture in Okinawa in 1868 and at the age of 11 began to study Karate under two of Okinawa’s top masters.

In time, he became a master in his own right and in 1922 he was invited to demonstrate karate to the Japanese public for the very first time. The demonstration was such a success he was invited to stay in Japan and teach, which he did with great success.

Funakoshi’s (Shotokan) Principals

  • Never forget: Karate begins and ends with rei. Rei has the meaning of respect.
  • There is no “first hand” in Karate. (Meaning there is no first attack, karate is about self-defense)
  • Karate supports righteousness.
  • First understand yourself, then understand others.
  • The art of mind is more important than the art of technique.
  • The mind needs to be freed.
  • Trouble is born of negligence.
  • Do not think that Karate is only in the dojo.
  • The training of Karate requires a lifetime.
  • Transform everything into Karate; therein lies the exquisiteness.
  • Genuine Karate is like hot water; it cools down if you do not keep heating it.
  • Do not have an idea of winning, while the idea of losing is not necessary.
  • Transform yourself according to the opponent.
  • The outcome of the fight all depends on the maneuver.
  • Imagine one’s arms and legs as swords.
  • Once you leave the shelter of home there are a million enemies.
  • Postures are for the beginner, later they are natural positions.
  • Do the kata correctly, the real fight is a different matter.
  • Do not forget the dynamics of power, the elasticity of the body, and the speed of technique.
  • Always be good at the application of everything you have learned.
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