About Karate

Brief history of Modern day karate

The first public demonstration of karate in Japan was in 1917 by Gichin Funakoshi, at the Butoku-den in Kyoto Hassell 1984. This, and subsequent demonstrations, greatly impressed many Japanese, including the Crown-Prince Hirohito, who was very enthusiastic about the Okinawan art. In 1922, Dr. Jano Kino, founder of the Japanese art of Judo, invited Funakoshi to demonstrate at the famous Kadoka Dojo and to remain in Japan to teach karate. This sponsorship was instrumental in establishing a base for karate in Japan. As an Okinawan "peasant art," karate would have been scorned by the Japanese without the backing of so formidable a martial arts master Maliszewski, 1892.Today there are four main styles of karate-do in Japan: Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, Shotokan, and Wado-ryu: Goju-ryu developed out of Naha-te, its popularity primarily due to the success of Kanryo Higaonna 1853-1915. Higaonna opened a dojo in Naha using eight forms brought from China. His best student, Chojun Miyagi 1888-1953 later founded Goju-ryu, 'hard soft way' in 1930.(pictured below)

In Goju-ryu much emphasis is placed on combining soft circular blocking techniques with quick strong counter attacks delivered in rapid succession.

Shito-ryu was founded by Kenwa Mauna 1889-1952 in 1928 and was influenced directly by both Naha-te and Sheri-te. The name Shinto is constructively derived from the combination of the Japanese characters of Mauna’s teachers' names - Ankh Its and Kanryo Higaonna.Shito-ryu schools use a large number of Kata, about fifty, and is characterized by an emphasis on power in the execution of techniques.

Shotokan was founded by Gichin Funakoshi 1868-1957 in Tokyo in 1938. Funakoshi is considered to be the founder of modern karate. Born in Okinawa, he began to study karate with Yasutsune Azato, one of Okinawa's greatest experts in the art. In 1921 Funakoshi first introduced Karate to Tokyo. In 1936, at nearly 70 years of age, he opened his own training hall. The dojo was called Shotokan after the pen name used by Funakoshi to sign poems written in his youth. Shotokan Karate is characterized by powerful linear techniques and deep strong stances.

Wado-ryu, 'way of harmony', founded in 1939 is a system of karate developed from jujitsu and karate by Hienori Otsuka as taught by one of his instructors, Gichin Funakoshi. This style of karate combines basic movements of jujitsu with techniques of evasion, putting a strong emphasis on softness and the way of harmony or spiritual discipline.

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