History of Karate

 

Gichin Funakoshi (船越 義珍, Funakoshi Gichin, November 10, 1868 – April 26, 1957) is the founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is attributed as being the "father of modern karate". Following the teachings of Anko Itosu, he was one of the Okinawan Karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1922.

 

Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu. Shotokan is named after Funakoshi's pen name, Shoto, which means "waving pines". In addition to being a karate master, Funakoshi was an avid poet and philosopher who would reportedly go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry.

 

Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts: kihon (basics), Kata (forms or patterns of moves), and Kumite (sparring). Techniques in kihon and kata are characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs.

 

Shotokan is regarded as a dynamic martial art as it develops anaerobic, powerful techniques as well as developing speed. Initially strength and power are demonstrated instead of slower, more flowing motions. Those who progress to brown and black belt level develop a much more fluid style that incorporates grappling and some aikido-like techniques, which can be found in the black belt kata. Kumite (fighting) techniques are practised in the kihon and kata and developed from basic to advanced levels with an opponent.

“Karate is like boiling water: without heat, it returns to it's tepid state” - Gichin Funakoshi"