Martial Art of Shotokan Karate

My family and I have studied Shotokan Karate for the last several years. Even though I am an advanced student with a green belt, I realized that I do not know very much about the history of this amazing martial art. In this project, I hope to share with you what I learned in my research. Specifically, you will learn about who created Shotokan Karate, where it began, how it came to the United States and what makes it different from other martial arts.

The History of Shotokan Karate Gichin Funakoshi was born in 1868 in Okinawa, an island off of Japan.

At the age of 11, Gichin Funakoshi became friends with the son of Yasutsune Azato who was a great karate master. Gichin was a weak and unhealthy boy, but he became stronger the more he learned about karate. Funakoshi also trained with another karate master, Yasutsune Itosu. Each teacher taught him a different Okinawan martial art. When he became an adult, he combined the best of both martial arts to make and teach Shotokan Karate.

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Shotokan is the most popular martial art in Japan. Funakoshi’s nickname was ‘Shoto’ and so his style was named Shotokan.

Kan means training house, so Shotokan is the “house of Shoto. ” By the late 1910s, Funakoshi had many students. They began to show their karate in public. In 1921, the Crown Prince of Japan visited Okinawa. Funakoshi put on a demonstration for him and the Crown Prince was so impressed that he invited Funakoshi to bring karate to Japan.

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Gichin Funakoshi officially introduced karate to the Japanese people on April 1, 1922 at the Women's Higher Normal School in Tokyo. The demonstration was very successful and Funakoshi decided to stay in Japan to teach karate and start a school.

Eventually, the Japan Karate Association (JKA) was created in 1955 and Funakoshi as the Supreme Master. He wrote several books on karate including a set of 20 rules for all karate students to become better human beings. He died on April 26, 1957 at the age of 88. Gichin Funakoshi’s third son, Yoshitake, helped spread karate. With his father’s support, Yoshitake developed new techniques and made Shotokan Karate have a completely different and unique style and look. He created most of the techniques, kata and forms.

Shotokan Karate in the United States After Funakoshi's death, Shotokan Karate spread into other parts of the world came to the United States in two ways. First, Shotokan had become very popular throughout Japan. After World War II, U. S. military men learned karate in Japan. When they returned home to America, they opened schools. Second, Tsutomu Ohshima, Funakoshi’s student, was the first person to demonstrate Shotokan Karate in the United States. Ohshima founded Shotokan Karate of America in 1959 and still teaches today.

Today, over six million people practice Shotokan Karate throughout the world. Shotokan Karate and Other Martial Arts All martial arts have special features and unique character. Shotokan specializes in punching, striking, kicking and blocking techniques. However, it has a lot in common with other martial arts styles. For example, Shotokan features sweeping, throwing and joint-locking techniques. Other martial arts involve fancy spinning and jumping that can be seen in martial arts movies.

In Conclusion I learned a lot about Shotokan Karate by doing this research project. I now know about Ginchin Funakoshi who created Shotokan Karate, I understand that it originated in Okinawa, that Funakochi’s students were responsible for bringing it to the United States, and what makes it different from other martial arts. Most importantly, I learned that Funakoshi wanted Shotokan Karate to be a way of life and that the study of it should make you a better person. I think knowing these things will help make me be a better karate student.

Updated: Jul 07, 2022
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Martial Art of Shotokan Karate. (2016, Sep 18). Retrieved from

Martial Art of Shotokan Karate essay
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