Martial Arts is one of the most old and effective skills for self-defense in the world. It has various types and Karate is one of them. We will look forward to the specific type of Karate which is Shotokan Karate.
Shotokan Karate is the modern name that is given to the specific style of Karate that was developed under the Okinawan system. It was first introduced in Japan in the year 1922 by Gichin Funakoshi. Gichin Funakoshi was born in 1868, and he got highly influenced and started to learn and study about Karate from his early childhood. His immense knowledge and efforts in improving Karate and making it a key subject in Japan which later on was taught and studied in universities gave him a well-reputed spot in the History of Shotokan Karate and thus gave him the name of father of modern Karate.
Gichin Funakoshi’s determination and love for the art of Karate led him to Okinawan for teaching. He was invited by Japan’s Ministry of Education to attend an athletic exhibition for which he first arrived in Japan in the year 1922. His exhibition of Karate was a great success and soon was becoming famous in Japan. During the period 1926 to 1930, Shotokan worked hard in improving the position of Karate in Japan. He made a proper subject which was studied in universities.
His son Yoshitaka also joined his father on the verge of improving the position of Karate in Japan. Yoshitaka was the reason behind the acceleration of the development of Shotokan Karate. He was improvised and revised variation of the techniques of Shotokan Karate to make it more effective and powerful. Due to his and his father’s immense efforts Shotokan Karate consolidated its position in Japan. But sadly, in the year 1945, Yoshitaka the son of Gichin Funakoshi died in a bomb blast during world war II. However, after the war, Gichin Funakoshi did not stop on his vision of making Karate a normal for every individual to develop and possess a perfect personality and character. He went back to Tokyo and taught Karate for few more years.
When his father’s Shihan (senior assistant instructor) Takeshi Shimoda died, Gigo assumed his position within the Shotokan organization teaching in various universities. Gichin Funakoshi transformed karate from a purely self-defense fighting technique to a philosophical martial Dō (way of life), or gendai budo, but his son Gigō began to develop a karate technique that definitively separated Japanese karate-do from the local Okinawan arts. Between 1936 and 1945, Gigo gave it a completely different and powerful Japanese flavor based on his study of modern kendo (the way of the japanese sword), and Iaido (the way of drawing the japanese sword) under sensei Nakayama Hakudō. Gigo’s work on japanese Karate development was primarily popularized by masters Shigeru Egami and Genshin Hironishi, who later formed the shotokai karate style.
In the year 1952, Gichin Funakoshi went to America at the age of 84, to undertake a 3-month tour of American airbases. He made sure that with this tour he can spread the vision and true potential of Karate in America so that it can be spread. And there is no doubt that due to his vision, there are hundreds of Karate Schools currently in the United State that teach Shotokan Karate.
Even though with the name of Karate, A person could easily interpret it as a skill and study of self-defense. However, Shotokan Karate is not just a type of martial arts that only teaches you how to fight, possess strength, and exhibit your strength. The main purpose of this sub-type of Karate is way extreme than a person interprets as it is the core training for personal development that leads an individual to train themselves for the perfection of their personality and character.
Even though people tend to think that Karate techniques are very effective, it is a form of fighting that teaches an individual different techniques to develop his body strength and be strong. However, Karate is much more than that and Shotokan Karate is no exception. With Shotokan Karate an individual is prone to learn self-discipline which is prioritized over any other physical skill that they may learn in the future. Self-Discipline is the core for Personal Development that teaches an individual to be self-aware of their vision while maintaining to adaptive, focused, and a good time manager to achieve their ultimate goal in life.
Thus, we can state the fact that Shotokan Karate shares a variety of benefits which are prioritized over any other physical skills which includes benefits like; development of self-discipline, development of self-esteem, having a greater focus, learn to be calm and adaptive, and have an overall positive attitude towards life and goals. But we cannot neglect the fact that it also helps you to gain knowledge about self-defense and surely due to these extraordinary benefits Shotokan Karate is the perfect skill for mental and physical development for perfection.
The word ‘Shotokan’ was first termed and used by one of the Funakoshi’s students to name his first personal dojo (hall for learning Karate). It is derived from the pen name of that student which was, ‘shoot’, which means ‘pine waves’, and ‘kan’, meaning hall. However, this name soon became famous for Funakoshi’s style of karate and today it is the word used for modernized Karate.
Gichin Funakoshi died in the year 1957 but he is still remembered as the father of modern karate or Shotokan Karate due to his immense contribution to make Shotokan Karate popular not only in Japan but worldwide. His memorial bears the words “Karate nisente nashi” which means “There is no first attack in karate”.
To conclude the topic of the History of Shotokan Karate, we can state that Shotokan Karate is not just a physical skill that is taught for self-defense but its main purpose is to make an individual get closer to achieving and posing a perfect character and personality. Shotokan Karate is the form of Karate that was introduced and developed by Gichin Funakoshi. He worked hard to consolidate the position of Shotokan Karate in Japan and also visited America to spread Karate and due to his immense efforts for improving and developing Shotokan Karate, he is known to be the father of modern Karate or Shotokan Karate.
-Sensei Lorenzo Sandoval
Ageless Martial Arts
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