History of Karate

Widely considered as the father of modern karate, Gichin Funakoshi was primarily responsible in introducing the Okinawan art of karate, to mainland Japan. From there, this fascinating and engaging art spread like wildfire throughout the world.

Master Funakoshi was born in 1868. He began his karate training at the age of 11, and was a student of two of the most well known masters of the time. Due to his diligence, he grew proficient in almost all of the major styles of karate in Okinawa.

Karate near Fontana
Gichin Funakoshi Founder of Shotokan Karate

Although used for extreme self-defense, the word "Karate" Learn more meant a deeper and more extensive understanding to Funakoshi. To train in Karate, meant to train in the spirit of the empty hand, peace, friendship, and the inner beauty that it entails.

In 1916 he was invited to give a demonstration of the art of Karate at the Butokuden in Kyoto, Japan, which at that time was the center of all Japanese martial arts. However it wasn't until 1921, during a visit to Okinawa by the Crown Prince (who later became the Emperor of Japan), that karate made its impression on the young prince and upper echelon of the Japanese society. So successful was this demonstration, that in the early parts of 1922 Master Funakoshi was invited to Tokyo to present his art at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo. Consequently, he was persuaded to stay on the mainland, and instruct the art of karate.

Funakoshi sensei taught only one method, a total discipline, which represented a synthesis of Okinawan karate styles. This method became known as Shotokan, literally the house of Shoto, which was the Master's pen name for his poetry, meaning the sound of the wind blowing through pines. During the later years, Master Funakoshi attempted to bring in to his teachings, some of the more rudimentary movements and techniques of Naha-te, best exemplified in the style of Goju-ryu, literally meaning the hard and the soft way. Alas, time was too short and the changes did not take place.

Shotokan karate is one of the most widely practiced forms of karate in the world today, and one of the most traditional. It puts heavy focus on kihon (basic techniques), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring) to develop a range of powerful and dynamic techniques.

In its root, Shotokan is a quick and powerful style. It tends to absorb the energy of the opponent, and ruthlessly counter-attack from an angled position.

Practitioners of Shotokan are well known for their strong legs, due to the extensive training in low and powerful stances, as well as their strong and fast hands and kicks. they also have great flexibility and variety in the arsenal of techniques that they have acquired, and the methodology by which they implement them. To quote Master Funakoshi, "Low stances are for beginners, natural movements are for advanced."

In contrast to their physical ferocity, Shotokan practitioners are examples of correct and proper etiquette, and behavior. Following the five main precepts of karate training set by Master Funakoshi, in his Dojo Kun or the basic code of conduct.

As followers of Shotokan Karate methodology, our dojo is proud to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism, as taught by Master Funakoshi, and our Chief Instructor, Shihan Toshiatsu Sasaki. We wish to exemplify and follow as closely as humanly possible, those ideals that makes Shotokan karate, one of the most popular styles of Japanese/Okinawan Karate in the world.

Begin your Martial Arts Journey with Claycomb Academy of Martial Arts in Fontana

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