Update 09 December 2019:
Master Hirokazu Kanazawa has passed away. Like no other, Hirokazu Kanazawa coined Shotokan karate in the 20´s century. His mastery and splendid personally will be missed but never forgotten. More info on Shotokantimes
Karate is actually the Japanese word and its inner meaning is Empty hand. As the name symbolizes, it’s an unarmed martial arts practice utilizing kicking, defensive blocking with the help of legs and arms and striking. It mainly concentrates on putting full body capacity on a particular point and expecting instant impact.
It incorporates the hands, lower arm, knee, ball of foot and elbow for striking the opponent. Expert in karate used to broke the pine boards of some thickness by the barefoot or hand. Irrespective of the physical strength for being an expert in karate timing, strategies, and spirit is also mandatory.
Karate developed in East Asia over a time of hundreds of years, getting to be systematized in Okinawa in the seventeenth century, most likely by individuals who hate to carry weapons.
Karate came into existence in Japan during the year 1920. It’s been practised in a few schools and systems and each system used to follow different strategies and techniques.
Similar to other martial arts karate focuses on mental attitude, courtesy and an unpredictable positioning system which is done by the colour of the belt.
Many kinds of karate originated from the “Te” and the Okinawan tode, some have disappeared while others have developed to the present day, becoming styles.
In the nineteenth century, the martial arts of Okinawa were grouped into three main currents: Shuri-te (the current Shōrin-ryū), Naha-te (from which Goju-Ryu, Toon-Ryu, etc.) and Tomari-te were derived.
These systems of struggle differ in technique and in geographical origins, even if their differences are not radical because the root common to all remains Chinese martial art.
Shuri-te, derived from the ancient Ti and northern China, took its name from the then capital Okinawa, Shuri, was practised by the noble class and was characterized by rapid and offensive movements.
The Naha-te, derived from southern China and practised around the large trading city of Naha (today is the capital), presented powerful movements, aimed at defence.
The Tomari-te, named after the region of Tomari (port of Okinawa), was practised by nobles of lower rank, who lived near the port of Tomari.
These spontaneous differences represented the only evolution of martial art until the advent of charismatic masters who knew how to modernize karate, including Sōkon Matsumura, a pupil of Sakugawa.
It is in the twenties that the styles, now well-differentiated, begin to spread in Japan, presented to the public during the martial arts or physical education festivals and were codified with different names by the various masters.
Shorin-Ryu is the oldest coded Karate style and is a martial style focused on self-defence and total combat.
The practice also includes the study of Tuidi (arrest and submission techniques), of Tegumi (typical Okinawans body-to-body combat) and of Kyusho (vital points).
From it derives the Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu and derivative styles.
Style characterized by fluid, rapid and natural movements, derives from the teachings of the guards de re of Shuri (reign of the Ryukyu).
Tode Sakugawa (who lived in 1700), an official of the court of the King of the Ryukyu Kingdom, as well as a master with legendary fame, is the master from whom the style has developed (even if we know of the existence of other masters previously experienced).
The Shorin-Ryu was later inherited and developed by Sokon Matsumura, head of the king’s guards, as well as a bodyguard of three Okinawan kings.
Later it was developed by his pupil Anko Itosu, a court official and a great master of noble families, and by Choshin Chibana heir of Itosu, and considered the last warrior of Shuri.
At Choshin Chibana’s death, several schools were formed, including the Shidokan Shorin-Ryu, a school founded by Katsuya Miyahira (official heir of the Chibana school).
Shōrin-Ryū Shidōkan (小林 流 志 道 館) is one of the main branches of Shōrin-Ryū karate, founded by Katsuya Miyahira in 1948, based on the teachings of the masters Chibana, Motobu and Tokuda.
Shōrin-ryū Shidōkan is Karate most faithful to the teachings of Anko Itosu sensei and is based on self-defence.
Goju Ryu, the only style retained by the origins and unique style of karate to be included among the “ancient martial arts” of Japan; currently practised in Okinawa (Shotokan, Wado-Ryu and Shito-Ryu are not present), in Japan and in the rest of the world.
It was founded by the master Kanryo Higahonna with the name of “Naha-te” (the term Go-ju was taken from the master Chojun Miyagi by a passage of the Kempo Hakku, in a chapter of the Bubishi, which reads: ‘Ho Goju don to’, or ‘the law of the Universe breathes hard and soft’) and is a style closely related to Shorei Ryu.
In Japan, it spread to the Kyōto region, thanks to the work of the master Gogen Yamaguchi who followed the Sensei Chōjun Miyagi.
The muscular contractions, the slow and powerful movements characteristic of this style require great physical vigour; the Goju Ryu preserves many of the peculiarities of the past: among the various styles is the one that has less modernized since the sphere of karate-do is represented by the appearance of a hand and sports competitions are seen as the little finger of it.
This style has in fact rejected the development from a sporting point of view, continuing on a purely traditional and self-defence approach, thus preserving the lethal techniques of karate.
Goju Ryu has various schools or associations, such as the Meibukan, the Shodokan, the Shobukan, the Jundokan, the Seibukai, the Jinbukan, the Goju-kai, the Seigokan, etc.
Gōjū-ryū’s sub-style, created by Master Seikichi Toguchi.
Gōjū-ryū’s sub-style, designed by Master Seigo Tada.
Uechi-ryū or Pangai Noon is an uncommon style; its founder is Kanbun Uechi.
Kuma-Ryu (“bear style”) is a style of karate from Okinawa that uses upright positions, fast space closures and short distance combat techniques.
Officially known as Kuma-Ryu Karate-Jutsu, this style presents joint locks techniques of control and immobilization and attacks on the meridian, (or “pressure points”).
High kicks are used in Kuma-Ryu and the same can also be directed in certain areas and on the legs.
The techniques are largely based on those found in the classic kata or “forms” of Okinawa.
Style founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku.
The Shito Ryu style was founded by master Kenwa Mabuni in 1931. He began studying Karate-Do at the age of 13 by master Ankoh Itosu and, at the age of 20, Kenwa Mabuni began the study of Naha-Te with the master Higaonna.
Kenwa Mabuni later joined the police forces and this allowed him to travel throughout the island of Okinawa so as to learn new classical martial arts of the island.
Mabuni moved to Osaka in 1929 where he began to teach the way of Karate-Do and later here he opened his own dojo.
The great master Mabuni, after a vast knowledge of Karate gained from his experiences, decided to teach his version of Karate-Do.
The great master Mabuni focused his new teaching method on the basis of his two most important teachers: the master Kanryu Higaonna of Naha and Anko Itosu of Shuri.
Kenwa Mabuni called this new style of karate Shito Ryu giving him the initials of their names, Higaonna and Itosu or, more simply, Itosu and Higaonna’s school.
Shito Ryu today is one of the most important and widespread styles in the world.
The first five kata are the “Pinan”: Nidan, Shodan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan.
Shotokan is a style of Japanese traditional Karate-do. Shotokan techniques do not derive from the mere application of physical force, they are harmonious and decontracts but at the same time full of vitality and energy.
Training tends towards the development of internal energy (ki), the improvement of human qualities and the achievement of body and mind coordination.
The Shotokan is according to its estimators a form of Budō, a way of self-improvement, a philosophy of life; it is not simply a sport or a mere form of self-defence.
In sports karate, practitioners train with the goal of winning cups and medals by dominating their opponents who, in most cases end up being the expression of muscle strength alone.
Because this contrasts deeply with the aims of training, competitions are avoided in Shotokan.
However, practitioners who wish to do so can participate in competitive events as a personal choice.
The term Shotokan means group, college of Shoto (Shoto was the pseudonym used by the teacher Gichin Funakoshi to sign their own poems).
The translation of the term Shoto is “pine waves” and Master Funakoshi explained the reason for choosing the term in his book Karate-Do – My Way of Life.
The Dojo in which the teacher Funakoshi was teaching in Tokyo was called Shotokan (kan = house, building), while Shotokai is the name of the association founded in 1935 by the teachers to spread the Karate-Do and to raise funds for the construction of the central dojo in Tokyo.
Since his pupils were from Shotokan, the school’s name was soon confused with that of his method, which Master Funakoshi simply called Karate-Do.
The central dojo (Shotokan) and the master’s house belong today to the Nihon Karate-Do Shotokai Kyokai. Master Funakoshi was, therefore, the founder of the Dojo Shotokan and the Shotokai group.
At the helm of the latter was succeeded by the master Shigeru Egami who continued the evolution of Karate as a traditional martial art to the form that today is called Shotokan style.
The traditional Karate, which is part of the Japan Karate Association, provides, even in Kumite, movements made without lifting your feet off the ground, slipping in the desired direction, in order to maintain maximum stability.
Nowadays there are also many schools that have begun to practice Shotokan full contact, often with a different name of the style.
The Wado-Ryu dojo was founded in 1934 by one of Funakoshi’s first and most successful students, the master Hironori Ōtsuka and was the first founding master of a style to be originally from Japan.
Born in 1892 in Ibaragi, near Tokyo, he began the practice of jujitsu at an early age, continuing for 17 years, until his first approach with karate in 1922.
He became a pupil of Gichin Funakoshi, staying with him long before coding, recommended by him, a new style: the Wado Ryu (literally “The School of the Way of Harmony”) which is a fusion of Jujitsu and Te of Okinawa (Otsuka went to study at various masters of Shito Ryu and Goju Ryu directly in Okinawa) as well as some influences from Aikidō, of which he knows and frequents the founder Morihei Ueshiba in 1917.
The style has low positions and puts the accent on the softness and fluidity of the techniques (the main principle is “Nogaru” or “slip” like a drop of water “) with lateral displacements and rotation of the hip.
At a bloody contrast, he prefers to adopt dodging and evasion techniques that leave the opponent exposed to a series of rapid and disruptive attacks in sensitive areas of the body.
To this dynamic attack-counterattack is also added to the study of Jujitsu with projections, articular levers, strangulation and imbalance deriving from the tradition of Shindo Yoshin Ryu practised by Soke for almost twenty years.
All this, therefore, translates into the study of a medium-short distance. Master Otsuka also introduced the modern concept of (Kumite).
He entrusted his first students, the masters Yamashita, Kono, Suzuki, Toyama and Mochizuki to transmit and disseminate the Wado Ryu style in Europe.
Sankūkai, or Sankudo, is a style founded by Master Y. Nanbu, born in Kōbe in Japan in February 1943 from an old family of Jūdōka.
Grandfather was a very famous Sumo wrestler; his father (5th dan), held judo classes at the Dojo of the police in the city of Kobe.
Under his father’s directive, Master Nanbu began practising judo at the age of five. When he entered the municipal school, he learned Kendo under the guidance of his uncle.
In the fifties, both Karate and Aikidō were forbidden (in fact, General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the US occupation forces in Japan, had forbidden the practice of these two disciplines) so Nanbu had to start practising these arts under the direction of master Someka, who was director of a “friendly” club.
He began to eagerly read his father’s books on all martial arts: Tonfa, Nunchaku, Tambo, Sai, etc., which he soon devoted himself to in the neighbourhood Dojo.
At the age of eighteen Master Nanbu entered the Faculty of Economics of Osaka, where he had as teacher Tani, 8th dan, who professed the Shito-Ryu.
He was soon promoted to captain of the Karate team of his university, which is very valuable, given the importance of Japanese university karateka.
In 1963 he became university champion of Japan (there were then 1250 competitors).
For this victory, Yoshinao Nanbu officially received the “value medal” (sent by all the Japanese Karateka) from the hands of the director of the University of Waseda, Ohama, promoter of the organization of the University Students’ Association.
In 1964 he received an invitation from PLEE, then promoter of Karate in France, to participate as an invited member of the French Cup; he won it by fighting individually.
He also participated in the international Cannes Cup (seven countries, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Norway, United States, Switzerland and France), and he also won individual combat here.
From this moment the master Nanbu began to consider his art as a profession, and so he modified his plans accordingly.
In 1968 he went to see all the Japanese masters, inviting them one after the other, to learn all kinds of techniques; officially, however, it was still under the directives of the master Tani, namely the Shukokai-Shito-Ryu.
The same year, at the request of the master Tani (who said he had the genius of Karate), Nanbu worked hard to set up the world organization of Shukokai.
His meeting was successful thanks to the numerous demonstrations he gave in several countries, such as Scotland, Great Britain, France, Norway, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Yugoslavia.
He later opened the “Nanbu clubs” in Paris and the province, and became the coach of the French team. (His new students from that moment began to win the championships of France and Europe).
Following his hard efforts to promote Shukokai, Master Nanbu was appointed the president of the Scottish Karate federation, councillor and technical director of the Belgian Karate federation, president of the Norwegian Karate federation, councillor and technical director of the Yugoslav Karate team.
In 1969 Master Nanbu came to Canada for the first time to greet his disciples, and the same year Maestro Tani proposed to him to take care of the organization of the third world championship of Karate that would take place in Paris in October.
The day after the championship, the master Nanbu finally broke with the Shukokai style, because he realized that, being an essentially competitive style, his followers ended up practising only the most profitable techniques for the competition, and that is the Tsuki (punch) direct) and the Mae-Geri (front kick), leaving aside other techniques such as Yoko-Geri (sidekick) and Mawashi-Geri (circular kick) more difficult to apply during the competition.
This way of fighting had become so rigid and schematic that one of Shukokai’s experts could one day say: “This method, excellent in itself, unfortunately, has not been able to do anything other than to make handicapped people”.
Aware of the limits of Shukokai, Master Nanbu set out for Japan, and after long months of reflection and meditation, he found the solution to his problems, founding his personal technique, which he called Sankukai.
When the Sankukai took its definitive physiognomy, Master Nanbu submitted his conclusions to an officially recognized institute, which studies its balance of power and energy dynamics.
The conclusions that the experts drew were excellent; in fact, they approved the new technique, as this clearly showed that they could be considerably improved:
1)the parade of the opponent’s shot
2)the speed of execution
3)the force with which one answers
3)the wealth of displacements and dodges instead of classic blockages
4)the (very different) way of bringing the Atemi.
Thanks to the master Nanbu, the Sankukai took root in Japan, France, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Norway, Morocco, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, Guatemala and Canada.
If karate is above all a school that forms man, competition, however, has its educational importance in the role of emulation.
In 1974, at the age of 31, Master Nanbu decided to temporarily abandon the world of karate and retire to Cap d’Ail.
It was in this place, in four years of reflection, that he realized that Karate Sankukai was only a stop on his journey and that evolution in his style was necessary.
He decided to abandon the latter and to give birth, in 1978, the Nanbudo, the martial art (no longer definable, by the same master Nanbu “karate”) that still today the master follows and continues to improve through seminars throughout the world.
Tadashi Nakamura is the founder and president of the World Seido Karate Organization. World-renowned karateka, Nakamura is a ninth Dan black belt with fifty years of experience in practising and teaching martial arts.
Expert in the use of oriental weapons, Nakamura has given numerous lessons and demonstrations in many countries around the world.
Grand Master Nakamura began his karate studies in 1953 at the age of eleven. His first experiences were in the Goju style, with the teachings of Master Kei Miyagi, son of the founder of this style.
In 1956, Nakamura began studying with Masutatsu Oyama, founder of the KyokushinKarate, in 1959 he achieved the rank of Shodan, at that time he was the youngest student of Kyokushin of Japan to take the black belt.
In 1961, at the age of nineteen, Nakamura made his debut in the tournament scene, with a first place at the national student karate championship.
The following year, Nakamura became a national hero for beating with a K.O. a Thai kickboxing champion in a meeting that was supposed to determine which nation held the strongest martial art.
During his sports career, Nakamura won many other tournaments. During this time, Nakamura began to teach karate to others.
He served as head instructor at Camp-Zama, an American base near Tokyo, from 1961 to 1965 and trained the karate team of Toho Medical University for three years.
While attaining his seventh dan of Kyokushin Karate, Nakamura also served as chief instructor at Tokyo’s Kyokushin Karate headquarters.
In 1966, Nakamura was chosen directly by Masutatsu Oyama to bring the true spirit of Kaicho Karate to America.
That year Nakamura left for New York where he began to teach Kyokushin Karate, in a small Dojo in Brooklyn.
In 1971, Nakamura founded the Kyokushin Karate headquarters in North America. He served as head of Kyokushin Karate, for America, for a decade, training and training many talented students at the time.
In 1976, Nakamura respectfully split from the Kyokushin Karate. That same year, he founded the World Seido Karate Organization, which reflected his belief in the true meaning of karate.
Nakamura created the Seido that in Japanese means “sincere way”, to create complete individuals, able to improve themselves and the society that surrounds them, with the principles of love, respect and obedience.
Also called Kyokushin-kan, it was founded by the Korean-born master Masutatsu Ōyama who, after practising Shotokan style under the guidance of Gichin Funakoshi and Goju-Ryu style, created this style based on Kumite full contact.
It incorporates some Shotokan kata and other traditional ones. The style requires considerable physical preparation to be practised due to the fighting in full contact.
The competitions are held without protection. From the Kyokushinkai, over the years, all the other styles of Full Contact Karate were born.
Founded in 1988 by Joko Ninomiya, a student of Ashihara. After teaching Kyokushinkai for a few years, and following Master Ashihara, helping him to make Ashihara Karate popular, in 1988 he decided to carry on his style: the Enshin.
The Enshin karate, based on the Sabaki concept, is characterized by full-contact combat. The kata, as in the Ashihara, differ a lot from those of the Kyokusinkai.
Every year the Sabaki Challenge is held, a tournament in which fighters of every style and federation take part.
Founded by Hideyuki Ashihara in 1980, former practitioner and instructor of Kyokushinkai. It is based on the concept of Sabaki.
Provides full contact combat and kata somewhat different from those of Kyokushinkai. It is present in many countries of the world.
Founded by Yoshiji Soeno, karate Shidokan (士 道 館), as with almost all other full-contact styles, comes from Kyokushinkai and involves studying kata.
It is a combat method that uses, among other things, the boxing techniques, the knees and elbows typical of Muay Thai, the grappling and the fight on the ground.
Founded by Kazuyoshi Ishii in 1980, it is a full-contact style derived from the Kyokushinkai.
Ten Ryu Kai is a style of contact karate that comes from Shidokan.
Founded by Minoru Tanaka, it derives from the Seidokaikan. Among other things, it also includes workouts of Karate Gloves (Karate with gloves), to offer practitioners the opportunity to engage in interstitial fighting.
The Shinseikai (Shin = truth, Sei = right, Kai = association, then Association of the right truth) has, as different from the other organizations, a very open system where the hierarchy of the international head school is put on the same level, there are no privileged ne pawns, we are all on the same level.
The Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo-Jutsu (古 流 沖 縄 手 拳 法術) is the modern didactic systematization of the historical combat disciplines of Okinawa operated by Patrick McCarthy, Hanshi 8th dan.
It is a non-competitive art entirely aimed at real self-defence against habitual acts of physical violence through a cohesive and coherent learning/teaching method.
Washin-Ryu (和 真 流) means “Harmony with the truth”, and is a style of karate brought to the United States by Hidy Ochiai.
Its headquarters are located in Vestal, just outside Binghamton. There are however many branches in the northeastern United States.
With 13 branches in New York, 2 of which are in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and one in Ohio and Massachusetts, Washin-Ryu has a lot of followers.
Although it is said that some martial arts focus on kicks and punches, Hidy Ochiai is famous for claiming that the Washin-Ryu is “100% mind, body, and spirit”.
Washin-Ryu lessons include kata practice, self-defence, combat, and weapon practice. The belt sequence is White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown (3 ° to 1 °), Black (1 ° to 10 °).
Style founded by Tsuyoshi Chitose.
Style founded by Ilija Jorga in 1980.
no karate style born of Isshin-ryū and the combination with Judo, Jujitsu, and Tae Kwon Do.
The Daido Juku (or Daidojuku) also known as Kudo is a hybrid martial art founded in 1981 by Azuma Takashi.
Daidojuku, literally translated from Japanese, means “the great way”. The Daido Juku combines different styles to achieve realistic combat.
After the inclusion of the sports competition, which took place in the post-war period, two currents of antagonistic thought have developed on a world scale: one purely sporting, the other linked to the martial arts path (budō).
The difference between these two concepts of karate lies in the fact that sports karate (Sporting Karate) is mainly directed to the search for results in the competition: the achievement of the medal is the main goal; in karate-dō (traditional karate), on the other hand, sporting competition is conceived as a moment of personal growth and verification, important but not fundamental: those who do not find satisfaction in competitions, have the possibility to continue the practice of karate-do research and improvement of a lifestyle.
Karate-do, linked to budo, is in fact expressed by the thought: the strength of a person is proportional to the length of the path travelled in the Way: the longer the path travelled, the greater its qualities.
It would make no sense to ask which of the two different forms of karate is the truest: both exist and must coexist without the dominance of one over the other, only the awareness of the distinction can help the practitioner to find what he is looking for in karate.
#1- Goal Setting
Your child will start his or her karate class in a white belt and after some course of time attains various shades of the belt. But, the actual question is that in what manner will they arrive?
Your kid will discover that with better training and practice he/she can attain the yellow belt and extra practice paves the way to a green belt. Your child will consistently endeavour under his or her teacher’s direction to set sights on the following dimension to accomplish.
Progressing to junior dark belt takes around five years, depending on the training and goal he is having in mind. Creating discipline at a youthful age gives your kid the range of abilities to consider long term objectives.
Another interesting thing your kid will learn via practising karate is self-defence. Frequently mixed up as simply a battling sport, karate’s actual reason for existing is self-protection, and it doesn’t focus on aggression.
Your kid will get familiar with the nuts and bolts of how to secure him or herself, an ability that will be profitable all through life.
The kid or person undergoing training will learn to stop an attack or safeguard a companion and in addition, they will also understand that these abilities are to be utilized just under pressure.
With training, these self-protection strategies end up focused on memory, guaranteeing your kid realizes how to respond if and when threat strikes. These abilities are particularly important for young ladies.
For effectively executing a move or sequence in karate all the individuals need confidence. Each training class develops your individual’s abilities, but the individual need to take up the class with cent per cent attention and also he/she needs to execute each sequenced confidently.
Upon gaining higher levels and achieving different shades of the belt in karate, your kid’s level of confidence will get incremented.
This confidence remains with them through training, and it also enables that person to create true friendships by maintaining positive feelings about him/her.
#4- Leadership Abilities
In world history, your kids may learn about many inspirational leaders during his/her schooling. Through karate, your child will be able to figure out how to utilize the qualities of those pioneers.
During martial arts training, your kid will learn to encourage his fellow students and he may also gain the ability to lead a class.
Karate does have various advantages and interesting truths in it. Learning karate will have a bounteous number of benefits and now, let’s have a look at some astonishing benefits of learning karate.
#1- Enhancement of physical as well as mental health
The conspicuous profit by learning karate is the enhancement of physical health. Practising karate will help in adjusting blood pressure level and also elevates blood circulation rate, bringing down the cholesterol level, and reduce the cost you may spend to the physician.
Somewhat more subtle profit by learning karate is the enhancement of mental health.
Envision yourself on a lovely shoreline with palm trees, or breathing the mountain air.
With no mental pressure, you just feel light and your muscles lose and then and there you feel the opportunity to feel the delightful things throughout everyday life.
Everyone has this perspective immovably coded and for all time put away in his or her memory.
Following two hours of thorough karate exercise, the individual may feel completely relaxed; all muscles and the whole body get loose, and it will keep them away from unwanted stress.
#2- Building confidence and reinforcing self-esteem
Building confidence depends on the way that the individual defines an objective, puts his psyche on it, takes the necessary steps, accomplishes the objective and toward the end gets elevated to the following belt.
More or less that is the pattern the individual use for accomplishment throughout everyday life. The individual defines an objective to end up with a black belt. Advancement in karate is estimated with the belt-positioning system.
After each belt test, the person gets criticism from the experts and then he finds out about his strength and weakness, and then concentrates more on the art for further development.
Each belt is an honour and every individual strive hard to earn the different shades of the belt during his/her training.
Via Karate he understands certain things like,
Overall, karate is been the well-known and popularly practised martial arts and apart from the above-mentioned facts and benefits it also has a bounteous number of advantages and impressive achievements.
It enhances your will power and determination and also learning karate is a boon. So, you can learn karate if you get a chance to learn without any second thoughts!