Gichin Funakoshi, known as the founder of modern karate, was a professor at the okinawan teacher’s college and president of the okinawan association of martial arts. In 1922, he was invited to lecture and demonstrated the art of karate at the first national athletic exhibition in Tokyo. The demonstration turned out to be a great success due to the inspiring personality of master Funakoshi. He was flooded with requests until he was able to establish the style of Shotokan in 1936, a great landmark in history of karate. When funakoshi Sensei was not only a Guinness in martial arts but also a literary talent and signed his work “shoto,” hi pen name. Hence, the school where he taught came to be known as shoto’s school of shotokan. He combined the techniques and katas of the two major okinawan styles to form his own style of karate As a result, modern day shotokan includes the powerful techniques of the Shorei School and the lighter, more flexible movements of the shorin school. When the Japan karate association was established in 1949, gichin funakoshi was appointed as the chief instructor due to his advanced skills and leadership abilities. Although funakoshi sensei was famous as a great karate master, he always emphasized the most important benefit from karate training is the development of spiritual values and the perfection of character of its participants. After training and teaching karate for more than 75 years, master funakoshi died in 1957 at the age of 88 years old.
Karate-Do is a combination of three words: kara (empty). Te (hand) and do (way). Grand master Funakoshi formalized shotokan into a system, developing set techniques (kihon) that have to be perfected, and structured fighting forms (kata) from several styles of empty hand (kara-te) fighting, primarily Chinese and okinawan. These train the body and the mind for the next phase: fighting techniques (kumite). The fully trained student of karate (karate-ka) must be adapting at all three. Proficiency takes years of consistent practice through exercise of patience and perseverance.
In 1935, master Funikoshi published his third book: a master text titled karate-do kyohan. For the book, a famous artist drew a symbolic tiger that has become associated with shotokan. The tiger is a play on words from the term used to describe the master text of Japanese martial arts, tora no maki (tiger scroll). It implies that karate-do kyohan is the master text for shotokan karate. Karate-do is an art of self-defense, an exercise, and a sport. According to shihan (grand master) Gichin Funakoshi, “the ultimate aim of karate-do lies not neither in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of character of its participants.” This is the first of his twenty precepts, or guiding principles, for the student of karate (karate-ka). Developing and perfecting character is accomplished through the perfection of techniques and applications. Character development lies in patient repetition of techniques. The essence of karate techniques is kime, which begins with correct execution and ends with imparting maximum power in the shortest possible time. It requires patients and regular practice, intense concentration, and effort in performance.
Books Written by Gichin Funakoshi