Karate has history that dates back from China and even beyond,
carried by fishermen to the island of Okinawa where old masters like Itosu and
Azato trained at the shores of the island all of their lives. The founder of
the Shotokan style was called Gichin Funakoshi he was born in 1868 , His best
friend at school was father to the great Azato a master in his own right.
Funakoshi started training under Azato and Azato’s friend Itosu late at night
as karate was frond upon due to the political changes in the east causing it to
After many years the ban subsided and Gichin Funakoshi
decided to share what he had learned. He left Okinawa to live in Japan and
begin the spread of Karate worldwide. He started the campaign of the spread of
Karate and by now his karate had changed and been adapted. Even the kanji of
the written word had been changed from China hand to Empty hand which would
help to spread its popularity.
He began teaching in Japans university’s and Karate was
turned into a “do- “(away of ) selling it as an art to improve character .From
then on Funakoshi, his son and students continued to help with the world wide
spread of the art. The only fault that was beginning to happen was that karate
was now being tried and tested against other karate practitioners, that kind of
caused the karate that is taught to forget its initial beginning as a
self-defence against untrained attackers.
While Funakoshi was
in Japan he met Judo founder Jigoro Kano at a big martial arts demonstration. I
believe he decided with Jigoro Kano to leave a lot of throwing techniques out
of karate and its study of kata. I think it was with judo being very popular at
the time he didn’t want to rock the boat. Funakoshi did however borrow the belt
and ranking system and the training uniform “gi” from judo.
Karate has now made a full circle and has and will be
changing world wide concentrating more on practical self-defence against
untrained attackers and the studied” bunkai” (Kata application) is now tested
in a much more realistic way that works.