In 1921, Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) introduced Okinawan karate to Japan. Gichin Funakoshi developed his simpler style of karate from studying the Okinawan karate styles of shorei-ryu and shorin-ryu.
In 1939, Gichin Funakoshi built his first official karate dojo in the Mejiro neighborhood of Toshima in Tokyo. He called it the House of Shoto (Gichin Funakoshi’s pen name), or as most call it today, Shotokan. From this house came several different organizations that, because of creative differences, evolved into two distinct associations: the Japan Karate Association and the Shotokai. The major disagreement arose from the notion of having students attend competitions, which was contrary to Gichin Funakoshi’s vision.
Like most karate styles, shotokan is an “external” style with training that focuses on basics, forms and sparring. Basics and forms use deep, wide stances in order to cultivate balance, power and leg strength. Advanced levels of shotokan introduce grappling and aikido-like skills. Sparring uses stances and basic movements which, after years of training, enable a student to deliver their techniques with speed and efficacy.
– February 9, 2016