Who created Shotokan Karate? It may not be who you think.

Who created Shotokan Karate?

Well, it is obvious, who created Shotokan Karate, right? 

Gichin Funakoshi did, right? 

Gichin Funakoshi did not create Shotokan Karate!

What?

Yes, Gichin Funakoshi is the Father of Modern Karate and Shotokan Karate comes from his teachings. Shoto was Master Funakoshi’s pen name when he wrote poetry.

Okay, so, There his nickname was Shoto. The style is Shotokan. So he did create Shotokan.

Not so fast!

Funakoshi was born in Okinawa in the 1868. He started training in the martial arts as a boy under the instruction of his class mate’s father, Anko Asato. He would later study under another Okinawan Te master, Anko Itosu. Both of these men were masters of the Shuri style of Okinawan martial arts. Funakoshi was a master of Shuri Te.

Now each major part of Okinawa has a distinct form of Te. Shuri Te from the village of Shuri, Naha Te from Naha and Tomari Te from Tomari. Each one slightly different than the other. Shuri Te influenced Naha Te greatly, being very similar. The difference was the influence from Shoreiji Temple in Southern China. Master Higaonna traveled there and learned from them a different system and applied it to Naha Te.

Shorei ryu (or style) displayed more powerful techniques while Shorin ryu was softer and faster. Shorin means “small”.

Ok, so how does this tell us who created Shotokan? I’m getting there. Bare with me.

Gichin Funakoshi learned both of these systems and took them to Japan in the early 1900’s. 

In 1930, Funakoshi established Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai to promote the sharing of karate knowledge between the people practicing all styles of karate. I believe it was at this time that the masters of Chinese Hand, Tang Te or To-De, was changed to Kara-Te which means Empty Hand.

In 1936, the name of the organization changed to Dai-Nippon Karate-do Shoto-kai. Shotokai literally means Shoto’s Group or Shoto’s Method. Today Shotokai is a style of karate that teaching Master Funakoshi’s style of karate with less emphasis on competition.

But Master Funakoshi was not trying to name his style of Karate, Shotokai. He was just changing the group to be those that studied his style of karate as other groups were forming based around other styles.

So where does Shotokan come from.

Well Shotokan is not a style but a place. The Shotokan was the first Honbu dojo or headquarters for the Shotokai. 

What wait a minute? Shotokan is the most popular style of karate in the World! How can it be a place, where is it?

The Shotokan was built in 1936 at Mejiro. The building was constructed by Funakoshi’s students and when they finished a sign was placed on the outside that read Shotokan. Which means Shoto’s house or Shoto’s school. The building was destroyed in 1945 as a result of an allied bombing raid during World War II.

In 1949, Obata, Nakayama and Nishiyama formed the Japan Karate Association dedicated to research, promotion, event management, and education. The organization named Master Funakoshi as a figure head Chief Instructor but really Masatoshi Nakayama was the chief instructor.

Master Funakoshi passed away on the 26th of April 1957 in Tokyo. The seniors of Shotokai Hironishi and Egami were to conduct the funeral however, Nakayama protested that he should be the one to conduct the funeral. No agreement could be reached creating a rift amongst Funakoshi’s students that lasts until today.

Funakoshi created the Shotokai group before his death. Masatoshi Nakayama created the JKA.

Shotokan based upon the teachings of his instructor, Gichin Funakoshi was created by the Japan Karate Association.

Nakayama gave the credit to his Master continuing his teachings with some changes. Master Funakoshi did not believe that competion was necessary in his style of karate. The JKA were the ones that incorporated tournaments to demonstrate karate.

Yes today we still claim that Funakoshi was the create of the Shotokan Style of karate and yes the style comes from his teachings but it was a division between his students that split Shoto’s Group from Shoto’s School.

Hi, I’m Sensei Norm and welcome to the Shotokan Chronicles.

In today’s video, Who created Shotokan Karate?

Well, it is obvious, who created Shotokan Karate, right? 

Gichin Funakoshi did, Thank….wait just a minute. 

Gichin Funakoshi did not create Shotokan Karate!

What?

Yes, Gichin Funakoshi is the Father of Modern Karate and Shotokan Karate comes from his teachings. Shoto was Master Funakoshi’s pen name when he wrote poetry.

Okay, so, There his nickname was Shoto. The style is Shotokan. So he did create Shotokan.

Not so fast!

Funakoshi was born in Okinawa in the 1868. He started training in the martial arts as a boy under the instruction of his class mate’s father, Anko Asato. He would later study under another Okinawan Te master, Anko Itosu. Both of these men were masters of the Shuri style of Okinawan martial arts. Funakoshi was a master of Shuri Te.

Now each major part of Okinawa has a distinct form of Te. Shuri Te from the village of Shuri, Naha Te from Naha and Tomari Te from Tomari. Each one slightly different than the other. Shuri Te influenced Naha Te greatly, being very similar. The difference was the influence from Shoreiji Temple in Southern China. Master Higaonna traveled there and learned from them a different system and applied it to Naha Te.

Shorei ryu (or style) displayed more powerful techniques while Shorin ryu was softer and faster. Shorin means “small”.

Ok, so how does this tell us who created Shotokan? I’m getting there. Bare with me.

Gichin Funakoshi learned both of these systems and took them to Japan in the early 1900’s. 

In 1930, Funakoshi established Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai to promote the sharing of karate knowledge between the people practicing all styles of karate. I believe it was at this time that the masters of Chinese Hand, Tang Te or To-De, was changed to Kara-Te which means Empty Hand.

In 1936, the name of the organization changed to Dai-Nippon Karate-do Shoto-kai. Shotokai literally means Shoto’s Group or Shoto’s Method. Today Shotokai is a style of karate that teaching Master Funakoshi’s style of karate with less emphasis on competition.

But Master Funakoshi was not trying to name his style of Karate, Shotokai. He was just changing the group to be those that studied his style of karate as other groups were forming based around other styles.

So where does Shotokan come from.

Well Shotokan is not a style but a place. The Shotokan was the first Honbu dojo or headquarters for the Shotokai. 

What wait a minute? Shotokan is the most popular style of karate in the World! How can it be a place, where is it?

The Shotokan was built in 1936 at Mejiro. The building was constructed by Funakoshi’s students and when they finished a sign was placed on the outside that read Shotokan. Which means Shoto’s house or Shoto’s school. The building was destroyed in 1945 as a result of an allied bombing raid during World War II.

In 1949, Obata, Nakayama and Nishiyama formed the Japan Karate Association dedicated to research, promotion, event management, and education. The organization named Master Funakoshi as a figure head Chief Instructor but really Masatoshi Nakayama was the chief instructor.

Master Funakoshi passed away on the 26th of April 1957 in Tokyo. The seniors of Shotokai Hironishi and Egami were to conduct the funeral however, Nakayama protested that he should be the one to conduct the funeral. No agreement could be reached creating a rift amongst Funakoshi’s students that lasts until today.

Funakoshi created the Shotokai group before his death. Masatoshi Nakayama created the JKA.

Shotokan based upon the teachings of his instructor, Gichin Funakoshi was created by the Japan Karate Association.

Nakayama gave the credit to his Master continuing his teachings with some changes. Master Funakoshi did not believe that competion was necessary in his style of karate. The JKA were the ones that incorporated tournaments to demonstrate karate.

Yes today we still claim that Funakoshi was the create of the Shotokan Style of karate and yes the style comes from his teachings but it was a division between his students that split Shoto’s Group from Shoto’s School.

Thanks for watching see you next time here on the Shotokan Chronicles. 

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