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Bushido 20 Precepts Dojo Kun

History of Shotokan Karate
Shotokan is both a young and an ancient martial art. It is ancient because its roots are deeply entrenched in the past, and young because, as it is expressed today, it is an art that is less than a hundred years old. Shotokan is characterized by its long, low stances, its powerful techniques and its dynamic forms.

The “founder” of shotokan, Gichin Funakoshi, was an Okinawan. He trained in the oldest of the Okinawan te (“hand”) systems as a young man and in the early 20th century brought what he had learned in the island of Okinawa to mainland Japan. Funakoshi’s pen name was Shoto (which means “waving pines”), and kan means “hall”, so shotokan karate can be translated to mean, “Shoto’s hall of the way of the empty hand.”

While Funakoshi was the originator of shotokan, it was really his son, Yoshitaka Funakoshi, who developed it into the form we know today. It rapidly grew in popularity, supported, encouraged and regulated by the powerful Japan Karate Association, and before long was to be found all over the world.

Shotokan has produced some of the world’s greatest karate exponents, including Hirokazu Kanazawa. It is believed by many karateka (karate practioners) that Hirokazu has come closest to possessing the most perfect technique. He studied karate at Takushoku University and won all the Japan Championships in 1962, with a broken hand after his mother had persuaded him to fight. Shotokan continues to be practiced by thousands of people, adults and children, throughout the world.

Forging a Karate Mind Karate is not a game of points, weight classes or showy demonstrations. It is a martial art and way of life that trains a practitioner to be peaceful; but if conflict is unavoidable, true karate dictates taking down an opponent with a single blow.

Such an action requires strength, speed, focus, control. But these physical aspects are only part of the practice; they are just the vehicle, not the journey itself.

True karate is based on Bushido. In true karate, the body, mind and spirit—the whole person—must be developed simultaneously. Through kihon, kumite and kata we learn to control our movements. But more importantly, we learn to give up control too. We can perform the tech niques without thinking about them, and remain focused without having to concentrate on any one thing. In essence, the body remembers how to move and the mind remembers how to be still.

This harmonious unity of mind and body is intensely powerful. Even the greatest physical strength and skill are no match for the power of wholeness.

The result of true karate is natural, effortless action, and the confidence, humility, openness and peace only possible through perfect unity of mind and body. This is the core teaching of Zen, the basis of Bushido, and the  of the Shotokan World Karate philosophy.


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