HISTORY OF SHOTOKAN KARATE-DO
Shotokan Karate is a form of unarmed combat - "Karate" means "empty
hand". However the "karate-ka" also uses their feet, knees and elbows. Karate as a martial art was cultivated in the island
of Okinawa, south of mainland Japan. After many years, the development of Karate as a means of self defence gained tremendous
popularity, as the Japanese government on the island had prohibited the use of weapons. Because of this national policy, the
self defence techniques were developed into a unique Okinawan martial art of "Karate" or "empty hand". In 1922, Master Gichin
Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, introduced Karate to mainland Japan during the first National Athletic Exhibition
held in Tokyo. The demonstration turned out to be a great success due to the inspiring personality of Master Funakoshi. He
taught only one method, a total discipline, which represented a mixture of Okinawan styles. This method became known as Shotokan,
which literally means "Pine waves Hall".
O-SENSEI GICHIN FUNAKOSHI
Master Gichin Funakoshi is widely considered the primary "father" of modern karate
due to his efforts to introduce the Okinawan art to mainland Japan, from where it spread to the rest of the world. Funakoshi
Gichin was also the founder of what is now known as Shotokan karate. His style of karate originated from him having trained
under two famous Okinawan karate masters, Yasatsune Azato and Anko Itosu. After being observed by the Japanese Minister of
Education during a karate demonstration, Funakoshi was asked to bring his karate to Japan for instruction in the universities
there. His introduction of the previously "secret" art of karate allowed the martial arts to grow to previously unheard of
numbers. In 1936, Japanese karate-ka gathered donations to build the first official karate dojo, which they named Shotokan
in honour of Funakoshi Sensei
The word Shotokan is comprised of three Kanji characters in Japanese - Sho
To Kan. The literal translation is Pine Waves Hall, and is synonymous with the tiger symbol and Shotokan Karate today.
Funakoshi's pen name was Shoto, and signs his works of calligraphy with his pen name. He would explain that the cool breezes,
which blew among the pine trees where he lived, made a sound like waves breaking the shore. When viewing the Pine trees blowing
at distance, it looked like a tiger’s tail.
The tiger, which is commonly used as the symbol of Shotokan implies
that the tiger never sleeps, therefore, is the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger.
THE DOJO KUN
Hitotsu. Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutomuro Koto
One. Seek Perfection of Character
Makoto ni Michi wo Mamoru Koto
One. Be Faithful
Hitotsu. Doryoku no Seishin o Yashinau Koto
Reigi o Omonzuru Koto
One. Respect Others
Hitotsu. Kekki no Yu o Imashimuru Koto.
One. Refrain from
As you read the kun you will notice something. Each line begins with the number 1. Why? Why not
1,2,3, etc.? Well, Funakoshi sensei felt that no item of the kun was any more important than another. Therefore, each item
was number 1.
Karate is a life long challenge that is explained by the "Dojo Kun". Every effort in karate teaches you
commitment. Karate is an art of self-defence & the best defence is avoiding trouble