The Origins of Karate

The fascinating art of Karate, as it is known today, originated more than 1000 years ago from the Far East. The first forms of Karate we practice today were believed to have been practised by monks of the ancient monasteries and later given to lower classes as an unarmed method of self defence, to guard against the many outlaws of that time. These fighting skills travelled from China to the island of Okinawa with the Chinese seafarers.During the 17th Century, this crude defence system became a highly developed art form. Our style of Karate Shotokan was introduced to mainland Japan in 1922 by the great Gichin Funakoshi, known as ‘The Father of Modern Day Karate’. .He was not only an avid follower of the teachings of Karate but also a renown poet. The name ‘Shotokan’ derives from his pen name ‘Shoto’ which means ‘Pine Waves’ and ‘Kan’ meaning hall or training place.
Our Logo (see top of page) depicts a sprig of pine needles and the rising sun of Japan as a tribute to Gichin Funakoshi’s memory. The Karate we practice today owes much to this man as he developed the methods of training we follow today and established Shotokan as the most widely practised style of Karate throughout the World
Its full title, Karate-Do, literally means ‘Way of the Empty Hand’, symbolising that its practitioners (Karateka) are unarmed but trained to use their hands, feet and other parts of the body as fighting weapons. Shotokan emphasises a balanced development of speed, skill, strength and range of technique taught within a system which instils self-confidence and self-discipline.
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