Page | Shotokai Links
Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ was last modified on July 21st, 2000
This document is the Frequently Asked Questions file of Shotokai Karate-do
Chile. I will try to maintain it updated and any comments and information you'd
like to see added to this FAQ, please mail to email@example.com
Table of Contents
Is a non competition oriented
Karate "style". It is the linear derivative of Master Gichin Funakoshi's Karate,
that was further developed by both Masters Yoshitaka (Gigo) Funakoshi and Shigeru
Egami. Shotokai does not consider Karate-do a sport and doesn't in any way stress
such an orientation. Shotokai stresses Karate-do as a Budo art and thus is interested
in personal development through the study and practice of Karate as a Do,
a Way of Life, a lifestyle or a basic life philosophy and the development of the
internal energy, Ki.
Shotokai's movements follow the natural laws, they are full of vitality and energy,
but always applying the principles of harmony and relaxation, avoiding all use
of brute force. This contrasts notoriously with sports martial arts, where the
young, strong and muscular ones seem to dominate. This is related with the fact
that Shotokai avoids all type of competitive tournaments where physical strength
is the most important factor and at the same time with it's training objectives:
the search of the development of mind and body.
Each group of trainees in Shotokai, depending on their level, has his/her own
way of attaining the mind-ki-body unity, where all can mix together and learn
from each other. In a training atmosphere void of distinctions, communication
grows and mutual respect arises unhindered. Out of the circular, interactive exchange
between the young and the not so young, power grows out of the harmonious activity,
this leads directly to a feeling of fitting in and etiquette is thus based on
What is Karate-Do?
What is Karate?
Karate-do is a martial art
originated in Okinawa, modified and transformed into a way of life by Master Gichin
Funakoshi. Until before these modifications, it was just a group of techniques
that permitted self-defense without weapons other than your hands and feet. Though
there was some Chinese influence, the development was Okinawan, and later mainland
Japanese. Master Funakoshi, inspired by traditional martial arts from the main
Japanese islands (kyudo, kendo, judo for example) modified Karate, that until
that moment could have been called Karate-jutsu, a fighting art, and emphasized
the philosophical aspects. This way all that was learnt could be extrapolated
to the daily life of the student. This is why Karate is a way of life: Karate-do
(do, means way or road). Gichin Funakoshi, thus, combined Karate techniques with
traditional Budo (the martial way), inserting the essence of Budo in the heart
What does the word Karate mean?
The word Karate is also formed by two characters, the first one kara
(empty) and the other te (hand),
the first one having many ways of defining it. The first definition is the least
subtle and the most straightforward, through the practice of karate, self defense
techniques are learnt, where no weapons are needed, other than hands, feet or
other parts of the body. The second one, and in the words of Master Funakoshi:
"Just as it is the clear mirror that reflects without distortion, or the quiet
valley that echoes a sound, so must one who would study Karate-do purge himself
of selfish and evil thoughts, for only with a clear mind and conscience can he
[she] understand that which he [she] receives. This is another meaning of the
element kara in Karate-do." Another meaning given by the Master is that
of always striving to be inwardly humble and outwardly gentle, thus meaning an
internal emptiness of egoism and acting gently and moderately. Finally he talks
about the elemental form of the Universe, which is emptiness (kara, ku),
"and thus, emptiness is form itself. The kara of Karate-do has this meaning."
After what's been said, it is clear that Karate-do and Karate
Budo are much, much more than mere self-defense techniques, actually, such
a definition is a far shot from the real essence of Karate as a philosophy, which
strives to develop the inner qualities of a human being and the search of perfection
of your character, through strenuous training in the do
and budo martial arts.
What does the word Budo
The Budo word is formed
by two Chinese characters, bu
is formed by two symbols, one means to stop, inside another that represents two
weapons, two crossed halberds, thus, bu, means to stop a conflict and do,
a way or a life philosophy. In Master Funakoshi's own words: "Since Karate is
a Budo, this meaning should be deeply considered, and the fists should not be
used heedlessly". Shotokai Chile, has modified its name from Karate-do to Karate
Budo, to emphasize its difference from so many other Karate-do's that have very
little of the original basic principles, sort of what Master Funakoshi did when
he modified the Kara character and added the do.
is the difference between Shotokai and Shotokan?
Shotokai and Shotokan are two
names for the same thing. Shotokai is the name of the Organization established
in 1935 to raise funds for the building of Master Funakoshi's Main Training Hall.
Gichin Funakoshi sensei held only two positions during his lifetime: one as Head
Instructor of the Shotokan Dojo and the other as director of the Shotokai school.
Shotokan is the name of the building that was the result of the work done by this
organization's efforts: Shotokai's Main Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. The
original Shotokan Dojo was finished in 1936. In time, people who trained Karate-do
were not only known for practicing Karate but also began to be related to different
"styles", even though Gichin Funakoshi was against this, his students began to
be known as of the "Shotokan", the place where they trained, or "Shotokan-Ryu",
the Shotokan Style.
After Master Gichin Funakoshi's death in 1957, Shotokai was heir of his symbol
(O-sensei's Tiger), the Shotokan and Shotokai names and more importantly all his
documents and writings, which is why Shotokai is in charge of editing and publishing
his works. Shotokai's Headquarter in Japan is still the Shotokan Dojo, though
it was reconstructed and is not the original one, which burned down during one
of the II World War bombings. Anyone arriving in Japan asking to go to the Shotokan
will arrive there, at the Headquarters. Considering how hard and useless it would
be to impose Master Funakoshi's wishes abroad, the Shotokan name and O-sensei's
symbol have been abused and misused by many groups with no respect for Master
Funakoshi nor his families wishes. This is the reason for the confusion between
Shotokai and Shotokan, and even more sadly, the fact that many uninformed people
relate Gichin Funakoshi with sport karate, something he was strongly against.
What do Shotokai and Shotokan mean in English?
The word Shotokai is composed of three kanji characters in Japanese. The Sho
character is taken from the word matsu which means pine tree. To is the
character for waves. Pine Waves is the English translation, that tries to give
an idea, of what the original idea the Japanese kanji give: the sound that is
produced by the pine needles when the wind blows through them, a sort of wave
sound (listen well the next time you are in a pine forest, with wind). The founder
of Karate-do, Funakoshi Gichin, used Shoto as a pseudonym when he signed
his poetry works. The word kai means Organization. Thus Shotokai means
the Organization of Shoto, or the Organization of Master Gichin Funakoshi. In
the case of Kan, the meaning is building or house, thus Shotokan is the
house or building of Shoto, thus the Hombu (Main) Dojo (Training Hall) of Shotokai.
What is the purpose of Shotokai Karate training?
Should there be a purpose? We must be very careful in our materialistic culture
to believe everything has a material purpose. There are many activities in life
that at first sight may not have a reason to exist or be pursued, the truth may
be that most things that really are worth something in life are exactly like that.
But beyond sermons :-), the objective can be very different from person to person,
some may begin with self-defense on their minds, and most surely they will learn
a lot about that, even though the best self-defense is not to look for trouble
and consciously avoid it. Some may begin looking for better physical condition,
that they also will attain. Some may want to win cups and medals, Shotokai is
not the best election for that :-). And some few will train to learn more about
themselves or as a philosophy, Shotokai is in this respect a great election.
As a conclusion, no matter what your objectives are, as long as they are morally
and ethically sound, Shotokai will help you attain them, you'll realize along
the way that there are other more profound objectives too (if you need them) and
you will decide if they too will become a part of your training and part of your
objective in life.
Is learning Shotokai Karate
Shotokai Karate-do is in no
hurry, there are no tournaments you have to go to, personal development is a lifetime
goal, so basically Shotokai is normally a very methodic, step by step, training.
The idea is that anyone, no matter what their backgrounds are, can begin and progress
in their studies of Shotokai Karate. There is of course a certain degree of effort
involved in your "progress", as with anything worthwhile in life. You will sweat,
you will get tired, your muscles will ache, but only to the degree you wish, depending
on how much you are willing to sacrifice on your Do. The rewards will be
more than worth it. Along the way you'll feel more and more stimulated to press
yourself harder, to go beyond your mental limits. This will be the beginning.
Will I get injured learning
This depends on what you call
injuries. The truth is it's more common to find Karatekas injured by other physical
activities they pursue, than through Shotokai Karate. Injuries depend also very
much on your training, if you are looking for a fast advance you'll train more
and you will be more exposed to injuries: blisters, bruises, small cuts, bigger
cuts, sprains, etc. But as I say, these are very uncommon in Shotokai Karate.
You must consider that we are in no hurry if you are not in a hurry. Special trainings
are another story, though.
How long do classes last?
They can last from one hour
(15 min. warm-up; 45 min. Karate) to three hours. You are not required to stay
all the training hours, as long as you state this before the training starts.
The best amount to begin with is three to six hours a week. As your physical and
mental conditioning get better, you can begin increasing the hours you train a
week. Have in mind the true fact that too many hours increase your exposure to
injuries, mainly due to fatigue and lack of recovery time both for your muscles
and for your body as a whole.
How often do I have to
practice to become an expert?
All your life and maybe more.
No, truly, I really believe that asking this question will prove to be useless
and ridiculous as you advance in your training. Begin your training and you will
Will weight lifting or
running help me get in shape?
This also depends on what you
are looking for. In Shotokai, due to it's objectives, bodies tend to become long
and thin, as a general rule, never bulky and full of puffed up muscles. If you
are to train weight lifting, you need to be guided by a physical trainer more
in the direction of long distance runners or any person involved in exercises
that require movement for a long period of time. In general, I have noticed that
Shotokai training tends to generate long strong muscles and flexible bodies.
What are the white clothes
Karate people wear?
Karate before it was introduced
to the Japanese Mainland was practiced in Hakama (long wide-legged pants), once
on the mainland, and inspired by Judo, a white uniform, made of two pieces, a
jacket and a pair of pants, was introduced. In Japanese this is called a Karate-gi.
The traditional and accepted Karate-gi is of white color, and at most with a school
is a black belt, and how can I get one?
It's a black piece of cloth
in the form of a long belt. They can be bought in any martial arts store for no
more that 5 - 10 dollars.
The right question, could be something like "What does a Black Belt represent?",
this requires a longer explanation. When Master Funakoshi arrived to the Japanese
mainland, there were no belts, it was not before 1932 when he standardized the
different levels in Karate, based on the Judo system. At that point he gave all
his older students a black belt. The black belt represents the moment when you
have learnt the technique well enough to be able to begin your true Karate training.
So once you get one, after years of practice, you are ready to begin.
In Shotokai there are 5 dan degrees, as Master Funakoshi originally established
There are previous gradings before attaining a shodan (first degree black belt)
these are called kyu, in Shotokai Karate-do, these are:
8th, 7th, 6th kyu: white
5th, 4th kyu: purple
3rd, 2nd and 1st kyu: brown
The differences between the kyu are marked with small white stripes, or lengthwise
stripes in yellow, red and green in the first three kyu (8, 7, 6th kyu).
How long does it take
to get a black belt?
The time it takes you to get
to the store and pay the bucks....
I once read a story where the moral was "if you have one eye placed on your goal,
you have only one eye left to watch where you are stepping". I believe this is
very much so for Karate-do, you must learn without a material objective, with
no specific interest other than learning as much as you can about yourself. Along
this way, in this process you'll advance toward a goal that is not your goal but
is unavoidable if you are well guided and if you sincerely confront yourself in
every training session.
What is the highest rank
in Shotokai Karate?
Fifth dan as a grade and as
a title: Shihan. As it was originally established and maintained by Master Gichin
Is Godan (fifth dan) the
end of the road then? Is there nothing more to learn after attaining godan?
No, it's just the beginning.
But it's only possible to grade people with respect to their technique, the technical
aspects. There is no way to grade with respect to a person's advance in the do.
This is the reason why Shotokai only grades until Godan.
Why do Karate people break
That is an old tradition. It
is no longer practiced in Shotokai on a regular basis. It can be used from time
to time as a specific test, but is largely avoided and sometimes sneered at. Unfortunately
most people have ended thinking that's Karate, remember to read Master Funakoshi's
words in Karate-do Nyumon (Kodansha International) on this subject: "Karate-do
is a noble martial art, and the reader can rest assured that those who take pride
in breaking boards or smashing tiles, or who boast of being able to perform outlandish
feats, like stripping flesh or plucking out ribs, really know nothing about karate.
They are playing around in the leaves and branches of a great tree, without the
slightest concept of the trunk".
Why do people do Karate
It is a tradition. I do believe
there is a justification on a more subtle level with respect to the direct contact
with the surface and the transmission of ki, but I do not feel, in the
least, qualified to speak on this subject, I will include qualified opinions in
The most down to earth explanation could be the Japanese tradition of taking your
shoes off before going in to a home.
Another could be to strengthen your feet, thicken the skin and minimize the striking
area while striking with the feet.
Do I have to learn Japanese
to learn Karate?
It would be best, but it's
not an initial requirement. You'll end up learning to count, the basic technique
names, the Kata names, and some more, but it will only be basic things. It is
possible that to truely grasp many of the more subtle aspects of Karate-do your
best bet would be to take courses in Japanese, but then again that's a personal
decision in the end and not an obligation.
How old do I have to be
to do Karate?
There is actually no age limit.
It really depends on the instructor, specially when you consider young children.
They are very hard to control and teach, unless there is a special vocational
quality in the instructor (I do not have it...). It is also important that the
instructor has special knowledge with respect to characteristics that make children
vulnerable, their undeveloped bones, and equivalents require a special type of
training, to avoid injuries.
How young should I be
to start learning Karate?
There is really no age limit.
It will require a little more time to relax and attain a certain level of flexibility,
but there is no need to worry. Training will be modified with respect to your
Karate training includes three
areas that are: Kihon, Kata and Kumite. After the usual warm-up exercises you
will start with kihon, progressing through kata and later kumite, if there is
time enough and if it is necessary.
What is Kihon?
Kihon is the name given to
all the basic techniques. Thus blocking, kicking, punching and striking
with different parts of your body, advancing and backing up, there are progressively
more complicated combinations as you continue your training.
What is Kata?
In Shotokai, it's founder and Chief Instructor, Master Gichin Funakoshi, reduced
more than a hundred traditional Kata, combat forms, called kata, into 19
fundamental kata. These are pre-established imaginary confrontations with
adversaries from a number of directions, thus they include combinations of techniques
in progressively more and more complicated ways. Master Funakoshi and most serious
instructors consider Kata the base and essence of Karate-do, and lay very strong
weight on them.
What is kumite?
Another part of your Karate
training will involve working with an opponent, this is called Kumite, sparring
training. Kumite is done with an opponent, there are progressive step along the
way to free combat (jyu kumite). It begins with Ten No Kata Omote and Ten No Kata
Ura, a kata involving simple defenses with counter-attacks and simple opponent
attacks, continues with progressively more and more demanding sparring techniques,
which eventually end up with free sparring.
How much of a lesson is
dedicated to kihon, kata, and kumite?
This is variable. I can tell
you how it has been in my training in Chile and a bit in other places. About 40%
Kihon, 40% Kata and 20% kumite. But there are classes entirely dedicated to kata
or to kihon.
When can I stop practicing
kihon and kata and just do kumite?
Why would you want to do that?
If only doing combat is your idea of Karate training, Shotokai is not for you.
All Karate-do elements are interrelated, kihon training, high repetitions, will
affect your Kata and Kumite positively, so will the other affect the rest too.
There is no way to bypass any part of the training, without degrading some part
of the rest. All are part of a complete training, there is no bypass, no easy
way. I truely hope your not looking for one either.
Will I learn weapons?
You will once you are advanced
enough in your Karate training not to become dependent upon a weapon, something
that would contradict one of the essential aspects of Karate.
Conduct in a Karate Dojo
Why do Karate people bow?
Karate is a Japanese traditional
Martial Art. Traditional means we are following many teachings that have been
given down from different Japanese masters. In Japan it's a custom to bow, when
you greet someone, just as shaking hands is a custom in Occident. All Kata begin
and end with a bow so even though it may be tempting for some to eliminate the
bow, it's like trying to change the essence of Karate, so this has not been done
in traditional karate groups.
Do I have to bow?
Yes, if you are planning to train Shotokai Karate.
But this question is a bit irrelevant once you consider the question, it's like
asking "Will I have to shake hands if I choose to live in New York (Paris, London,
Santiago, etc)? Of course, it would be very rude to do otherwise. Do not forget
it's a greeting, a "hand shake", with no religious significance what-so-ever,
so don't be shy.
What is a Sensei?
Sen means "before", Sei means
"life, birth, living or lived". Thus a Sensei is someone who has experienced something
before you. He has walked the path you are planning to follow before you, he can
tell you what to do. In more general terms, it's a teacher, normally the head
instructor of the Dojo you are attending and nobody else there.
How should I act toward
With the respect you would
show to anybody that has a vast experience in any subject of your interest. Any
real Sensei will of course not be expecting any special treatment and will surely
be a very approachable person. But if you are training it's recommendable to act
Who is the Sempai?
The person in charge of the
groups training other than the Sensei could be considered the Sempai, but in Japanese
culture Sempai is a mentor.
Who is the Kohai?
The kohai is the junior man
in the sempai/kohai relationship.
Is Karate a religion?
Good question. I have no clear-cut
answer. Some will say no, others yes, some others maybe, check out with the Dojo
teacher and find out his opinion.
What is a Dojo?
Literally: the place of enlightenment,
place of the way. Is the physical location where you train. It can be a building
for that purpose only, or a Gymnasium used for other activities too.
What is the Shomen?
Shomen is the main wall of
the Dojo, the wall you face. It normally bears the Kamidana, a Shinto mini-Shrine,
and the photographs of the schools masters, in the case of Shotokai, Master Gichin
Funakoshi and Shigeru Egami. Sho means true and men means face.
What is a makiwara?
It's a striking post. You normally
encounter it in most Dojos. It is used as a way to train your strikes, not only
tsuki but also elbow and even leg strikes. It consists of a wooden post and a
cushion, both elements can be built from a variety of materials. The original
Makiwara were built of bamboo stalks and a tight bundle of woven rice straw (Maki,
wrap; wara, rice straw)
What are tetsugeta?
Iron sandals or clogs. Traditionally
used to train and strengthen Karateka's legs and hips. They weigh about 4 to five
What is a kiai?
Kiai is a yell or shout, that
has the purpose of focusing all the energy into a given movement. Even though
it sometimes may not be audible at times, one must try to maintain the sensation
of the Kiai in the crucial movements (Ki, energy/spirit, actually a very
hard word to translate to English; ai, meet, match.)
How is a kiai related
Executing a Kiai during your
techniques helps you relax and avoid holding your breath, something that is to
be avoided, both from the health point of view and the fact that this induces
muscle tension and tires the body very fast.
Do I have to kiai?
S.K.B. Technical Characteristics
The basic and fundamental concept in Shotokai is that the body must be
relaxed, the movements must be soft and project the energy further than oneself.
The mind must be clear, clean and receptive. The techniques will be done in
a natural way, avoiding rigidity and tension.
One must be careful not
to confuse softness with slowness, the movement must be soft when it begins
and maintain itself that way during all the trajectory, without roughness. This
type of movement is done, either slowly or very rapidly.
One of the objectives to
strive for is attaining maximum speed in the movements even though the practice
can also search for softness in slow movements. Softness and fluidity can be
united; this consists in not blocking the techniques, uniting them in a continuous
manner with the next technique. When executing the techniques, the arm movements
begin and end together with the rest of the body. Attack and defense techniques
are not stopped when they supposedly have reached the objective, rather the
movement prolongs itself to the limit of their possibilities.
In Kata, these characteristics are applied to attain a fluid execution. Movements
follow each other in a continuous way, accommodating them to the logical rhythm
of the Kata. It is also a common practice, as a method of enhancing the fluidity,
to avoid the use of kiai during the Kata.
In Kumite as the
blows are not stopped, all the training is oriented towards the art of evasion
and avoiding the partners attacks. In Shotokai the is no sports combat nor sports
oriented practice. All the emphasis is placed on the practice of Yakuzoku
Ippon Kumite and Ju Ippon Kumite
What is Kata?
Summary: In Shotokai, it's founder and Chief Instructor, Master Gichin
Funakoshi, reduced more than a hundred traditional Kata, combat forms, called
kata, into 19 fundamental kata. These
are pre-established imaginary confrontations with adversaries from a number
of directions, thus they include combinations of techniques in progressively
more and more complicated ways. Master Funakoshi and most serious instructors
consider Kata the base and essence of Karate-do, and lay very strong weight
Kata and their names in Kanji
There are 19 kata in the core training of Shotokai, many others are standardized
and practiced but the essential ones are the following:
- Taikyoku Shodan
- Taikyoku Nidan
- Taikyoku Sandan
- Heian Shodan
- Heian Nidan
- Heian Sandan
- Heian Yondan
- Heian Godan
- Tekki Shodan
- Tekki Nidan
- Tekki Sandan
- Ten No Kata (Omote &
Master Shigeru Egami says:
" If one has the
time, he might practice other ancient kata - but to do so to brag about knowing
a great number of kata would be pointless. It is said that in former days a
single kata was practiced for a minimum of three years. Try to imagine what
"A kata may be regarded
as an integration of offensive and defensive techniques, but it is more than
that. One should try to understand the spirit of the master karateka who created
the kata, for it has a life of its own and requires five or six years to be
Due to changes that have
taken place in the technique and the underlying spirit, the kata, even though
their general layout has not changed considerably, the technical, rhythm and
speed have been modified.
A Shotokai kata should be
done fluidly from the initial position in hachiji-dachi to the same final position.
As Master Egami said: "it should be beautiful, rhythmic, and the performer,
full of vitality radiating power. Body and spirit must be one entity, and the
power must be concentrated. Breathing must coninue without interruption. In
former practice there used to be a pause between one movement and the next;
now movement continues rhythmically, without pausing and is fluid and flexible."
Every movement and every defensive or offensive technique has its meaning, and
a serious trainee must take this into consideration and practice accordingly,
trying to understand the meanings and when they will actually be effective.
The movements within a kata
must take into consideration the three pairs of opposites established by Master
- Force applied soft and
- bodily expansion and
- fast and slow movements
in the techniques
Summary: What is kumite?
Another part of your Karate training will involve working with an opponent, this
is called Kumite, sparring training. Kumite is done with an opponent, there are
progressive step along the way to free combat (jyu kumite). It begins with Ten
No Kata Omote and Ten No Kata Ura, a kata involving simple defenses with counter-attacks
and simple opponent attacks, continues with progressively more and more demanding
sparring techniques, which eventually end up with free sparring.
What are the different
kinds of sparring training in Shotokai Karate?
Gohon Kumite: five step sparring.
Sanbon Kumite: three step sparring.
Ippon Kumite: one step sparring.
Jyu Ippon Kumite: one step free sparring.
Jyu Kumite: Free sparring.
How often do people get
injured in Karate kumite?
Very often you will become
a bit bruised, but this will become less and less a problem due to two factors,
first your arms will grow stronger and more resistant to being hit and secondly
because you and your opponents will become more dexterous in blocking, learning
to guide the strikes rather than striking them to deviate them. Other common injuries
are blisters from fast movements on hard surfaces. Another problem is sore fingers
due to accidentally hitting elbows, or other hard areas with the fist not well
What kind of protective equipment will I need?
Shotokai uses no type of protective equipment, other than absorbing material if
actual striking is to be practiced on a person.
Why don't beginners and
intermediate students get to free spar?
In Shotokai you will not free
spar until you have had at least a years training (intensive). The reason behind
this is the fact that techniques are very dangerous in the hands of uncontrolled
beginners. There is a higher possibility of injuries, mostly auto-inflicted, in
beginners doing techniques they do not master yet. Master Egami did not permit
any free sparring until you were a sandan black belt!
Shotokai Karate-do Grading
When Master Funakoshi arrived to the Japanese mainland, there were no belts, it
was not before 1932 when he standardized the different levels in Karate, based
on the Judo system. At that point he gave all his older students a black belt.
The black belt represents the moment when you have learnt the technique well enough
to be able to begin your true Karate training. So once you get one, after years
of practice, you are ready to begin.
In Shotokai there are 5
dan degrees, as Master Funakoshi originally established it.
There are previous gradings
before attaining a shodan (first degree black belt) these are called kyu, in
Shotokai Karate-do, these are:
8th, 7th, 6th kyu: white
5th, 4th kyu: purple
3rd, 2nd and 1st kyu: brown
The differences between
the kyu are marked with small white stripes, or lengthwise stripes in yellow,
red and green in the first three kyu (8, 7, 6th kyu).
A Brief Shotokai History
It is actually a very long,
fascinating and complex history, but we will try to give a short concise summary
in the following section:
- Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957;
considered the father of Karate-do) studies Karate with Yasutsune Azato,
one, if not the greatest and most important Okinawan masters of Karate
and also with another great Yasutsune Itosu (he also studied with Sokon
- In 1922, due to his
extensive knowledge, culture and technical level, he is invited to participate
in an exhibition on the Japanese mainland islands in Tokyo. He is then
asked to stay by many important people. He thus establishes himself there
and will never return to Okinawa.
- In Tokyo, after a very
tough start, he begins Karate's expansion. This was strongly impulsed
by the establishment of University Karate Clubs, a characteristic it holds
until this very day.
- In 1935, Shotokai is
informally organized (Shoto's Association, Shoto being O-sensei's pseudonym)
to collect funds to build a Hombu Dojo (headquarter training hall) for
- In 1936 he establishes
formally the name "Karate-do" as the name of his art. After this, the
same year, all the Okinawan masters get together and accept this new
- In 1936 the Shotokan
Dojo is inaugurated, headquarters for Master Gichin Funakoshi's Karate-do.
1949 Isao Obata establishes the Nihon Karate Kyokai, as a means to help
Master Funakoshi in the development of Karate-do. Even though initially
the idea was that the association should include all groups, this did
not occur. Neither did all of Gichin Funakoshi's students become part
of it, for example Shigeru Egami and Genshin Hironishi.
- By the end of the 40's
and the beginning of the 50's strong friction arises within the NKK due
to the commercialization of Karate-do. The great masters cut links with
the NKK, that finally ends up in the hands of the Takushoku University.
- In 1951 Shotokai reunites,
and the association formalizes its existence as an association in 1956.
Founders: Gichin Funakoshi, Shigeru Egami and Genshin Hironishi. Objective:
to preserve the true Karate-do, without considering it a sport.
- April 1957: Master Gichin
Funakoshi dies. Shotokai organizes the funeral (the NKK does not assist
to the ceremony). Gichin Funakoshi had only one official position at the
time of his death, Director of Nihon Karate-do Shotokai and only had an
honorary title in the NKK. Gichin Funakoshi's family delivers the legacy
of O-sensei's documents, the Shotokan and Shotokai names and his symbol
(the tiger) to Shotokai, as were his wishes.
Egami & Genshin
Hironishi share the responsibility of directing Shotokai.
1981, Master Shigeru Egami dies. Genshin Hironishi continues to direct Shotokai
together with his older students.
Copyright © 1997-2006
Karate Do Shotokai Enyclopedia on Karate-do and Japanese Martial Arts
© 1997-2006. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.
For reproduction permission contact: firstname.lastname@example.org