Our history is a long one and shrouded in mystery and supposition and open to interpretation and debate, however, it is said that that martial arts were created over 1000 years ago by a monk named Bodhidharma and it is documented that he travelled from India to china around 526 and attended the court of Emperor Wu, founder of the Liang dynasty in the south. Unimpressed he soon left and travelled north
there remains a shadow of doubt around his role in introducing martial arts into China purely because the documentation proves that they existed before his arrival
As for karate, our Japanese martial arts were heavily influenced by Chinese martial artists who travelled Okinawa. Personally I don’t think that there would be a direct link between karate and India, although I do believe that an indirect link is more likely we can directly transpose our art and its kata to china and the traits of shaolin especially the opening and closing sequences of Jion, Jitte, and Ji'in which are speculated to have links to the temple of Jion. We also have the fact that Kara-Te originally meant "Hand Techniques of Tang People". In ancient time "Tang People" was the way in which other countries referred Chinese People even Chinese People referred to themselves as tang people Karate is the martial art school that is closest to South Shaolin Kung Fu. So i have no doubt that Karate originated from Shaolin.
however he did arrive at the Shaolin Temple and influence the training by adding his system of self-defence to the arts that where already being practised eventually it formed into Shaolinquan and in turn into Shaolin Boxing the monks soon left China to spread the word, and the art eventually arrived in Okinawa along with Zen Buddhism. After the death of King Sho En (Ruler of Okinawa) his son Sho Shin took to the throne in 1477 at the age of 13, due to his religious beliefs he banned all weapons, and the ban was continued by the Satsuma clan. In 1609 Japan invaded the Ryūkyū Kingdom (Okinawa Prefecture) under the guidance of (Shimazu Tadatsune) Nephew of (Daimyō Yoshihiro) a ban on weapons and martial arts was put in place, forcing the practise of martial arts to become shrouded in secrecy. During the next 300 Years three main styles of Karaté developed (Shuri-te)(Naha-te) and (Tomari-te) collectively known as (Okinawa-Te) or (Tode).
The three styles named after the towns in which they were developed merged into two main styles (Shorin-ryu) which came from Shuri-te and Tomari-te and Shorei-ryu which came from Naha-te.
It is believed that the two styles differed in that Shorin-ryu was suited to the smaller and lighter frame while Shorei-ryu was suited to the larger heavier frame. The Shorei-ryu style developed into Gojo-ryu Founded by
The Shorin-ryu style developed into what is now known as Shotokan.
Gichin Funakoshi was born in the year 1868 and studied martial arts as a young boy under the guidance of Master Anko Itosu a low ranked Samurai who developed the system we know today and was instrumental in getting Karate introduced into Okinawan Schools, it was he who introduced the Pinan or Heian forms as learning steps for students. . It is known that he studied under Master Yasutsune Azato, Studying in secret and traveling by night to the Azato Family home Gichin Funakoshi began what was to become his life’s work Funakoshi studied both Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu styles of karate although
Known as Okinawa-te (te) meaning hand the word Toad could also be pronounced as Kara (empty) and so Karaté was born
The ban on martial arts was lifted in 1902 when the Commissioner of Education recommended that martial arts should be included as part of the physical education being taught at the first middle School of Okinawa, this meant that Funakoshi could continue his training without the fear of discovery.
And so began the spread of Funakoshi’s karate
In 1922 Funakoshi was invited to mainland Japan to demonstrate his art at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo
After the demonstration Funakoshi remained in Japan to spread the word about his art thanks to him Karate became part of the curriculum in Japanese Schools
The name Shotokan was given to the style by the students that studied Karate
Shoto (Pine Waves) was Funakoshi’s Pen Name as a writer and poet, the students added Kan (School /Hall) to it and so the style became known as Shotokan Karaté the suffix Dó indicates the way or the Journey.
The way of the Empty Hand
1948 saw the establisment of the Japan Karate Assosiation and Funakoshi Remained head of the JKA untill his Death in 1957
Masatoshi Nakayama chief instructor of the JKA was promoted to 3rd Dan in 1951 and attained the rank of 4th Dan by 1951 and 8th Dan by 1974 he was awarded the rank of 9th Dan in the 1980s and continued teaching until his Death in April 1987 When he was posthumously awarded 10th Dan
Welcome to ArawazA Shotokan Karate Do