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Shotokan

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.

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  1. Gichin Funakoshi: Creator of Shotokan Karate

    Gichin Funakoshi: Creator of Shotokan Karate

    If there’s one man who can be credited with popularizing karate, it’s Gichin Funakoshi. This account by Richard Kim looks at how the shotokan founder went from sickly boy to respected master.
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  2. Shotokan Karate Strategies for the Street, Part 2

    Shotokan Karate Strategies for the Street, Part 2

    Learn the theories and concepts that Gichin Funakoshi built into shotokan karate in an effort to make it a timeless self-defense art—and read testimonials that prove he got it right!
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  3. Shotokan Karate Strategies for the Street, Part 1

    Shotokan Karate Strategies for the Street, Part 1

    Grapplers, Thai boxers and MMA enthusiasts claim their techniques can help you escape deadly confrontations — and they’re right. But they’re not your only options. Traditional arts such as shotokan karate can help you repel attackers just as effectively.
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  4. Kyle Funakoshi: Advanced Strategies to Improve Your Shotokan Techniques (Part 2)

    Kyle Funakoshi: Advanced Strategies to Improve Your Shotokan Techniques (Part 2)

    In Part 1 of this article, martial arts instructor Kyle Funakoshi — son and student of Kenneth Funakoshi (who appeared on the June 1992 cover of Black Belt), as well as fifth cousin of the legendary Gichin Funakoshi — began breaking down advanced strategies for better shotokan techniques. Part 1
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  5. Kyle Funakoshi: Advanced Strategies to Improve Your Shotokan Techniques (Part 1)

    Kyle Funakoshi: Advanced Strategies to Improve Your Shotokan Techniques (Part 1)

    When you want to get good at anything, it’s always best to go to the source. When that anything is shotokan karate, the first source that comes to mind is anyone with the surname Funakoshi.

    Enter Kyle Funakoshi, a martial arts instructor based in Milpitas, California. He grew up in Hawaii,
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  6. Shotokan Karate Fake to Back Kick – Kyle Funakoshi

    Shotokan Karate Fake to Back Kick – Kyle Funakoshi

    Shotokan karate expert Kyle Funakoshi (a relative of the great Gichin Funakoshi!) demonstrates a fake to a back kick! See more techniques in the January 2010 issue of Black Belt!


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  7. Shotokan Karate Front Kick to Reverse Punch

    Shotokan Karate Front Kick to Reverse Punch

    Shotokan karate expert Kyle Funakoshi (a relative of the great Gichin Funakoshi!) demonstrates a front kick / reverse punch technique with amazing speed!


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  8. Shotokan Karate Reverse Punch to Front Kick

    Shotokan Karate Reverse Punch to Front Kick

    Shotokan karate expert Kyle Funakoshi (a relative of the great Gichin Funakoshi!) demonstrates a reverse punch to the face and front kick to the body!


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  9. Kyle Funakoshi: Why Karate is Still Important

    Kyle Funakoshi: Why Karate is Still Important

    Shotokan karate expert Kyle Funakoshi (a relative of the great Gichin Funakoshi!) answers a reader’s question during his cover shoot for the January 2010 issue!


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  10. Shotokan Karate Black Belt Lyoto Machida: 2009 MMA Fighter of the Year

    Shotokan Karate Black Belt Lyoto Machida: 2009 MMA Fighter of the Year

    It’s satisfying to watch someone work his way to the top in his chosen field, especially when it’s something as unpredictable as the mixed martial arts. It’s even more gratifying when that person exemplifies qualities you respect and wish more people would emulate. So it’s with no small sense of
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