Shotokan Karate History
Shotokan karate history dates back to the mid-1800s and combines a variety of martial art styles. It is meant to build lower body strength and allow the performer to hold moves for long periods of time and use powerful techniques when sparring with an opponent. Those interested in learning Shotokan karate should learn Shotokan karate history to understand the core principles behind this style of martial art and to deepen their understanding of what Shotokan karate is truly about.
Invention At the age of eleven, Gichin Funahoski began to study karate in Okinawa, located in Japan. He mastered the major martial art styles of the time and soon combined them into what is often thought of as today's modern karate. His public demonstrations of Shotokan karate and his work helping universities develop Shotokan karate classes led to its rise in popularity.
Branching Off After Master Funahoski's death in 1957, disagreements arose about the principles of Shotokan karate. Different schools of thought formed and today no specific Shotokan karate form exists. Instead, it has branched out to the modern day karate styles which carry strong Shotokan influences and may all refer to themselves as Shotokan karate.
Principles Shotokan training focuses on three areas: basics, techniques and moves, and sparring or fighting. In the beginning, performers learn how to hold out positions which engage the legs and build strong muscles. These positions also encourage stability. Once the person has mastered this balance and strength, he moves on the the techniques and moves that make up Shotokan karate. From there he engages others in sparring to improve his moves.
Ranks The forms of Shotokan karate use the commonly-known belt system, with the black belt holding the highest rank. Color ranking may vary by school, but the black belt is widely known as the highest level, though some schools add on different stripes to the black belt to indicate higher rankings.