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Gichin Funakoshi

Funakoshi The father of Shotokan Karate

The father of Shotokan Karate

Gichin Funakoshi (1868 – 1957)
was the creator of Shotokan karate, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is referred to as the ‘Father of modern karate.’ Following the teachings of Anko Itosu, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1921. Gichin Funakoshi taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association upon its establishment in 1949.

 Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shōrei-ryū and Shōrin-ryū.

 Shotokan is named after Funakoshi’s pen name, Shoto, which means “pine waves” or “wind in the pines”. In addition to being a karate master, Funakoshi was an avid poet and philosopher who would reportedly go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry. Kan means training hall, or house, thus Shotokan referred to the “house of Shoto”. This name was coined by Funakoshi’s students when they posted a sign reading “Shoto kan” above the entrance of the hall at which Funakoshi taught.

 Through his famous words, “karate ni sente nashi” meaning” there is no first attack in Karate’ and “karate wa kunshi no bugei”, meaning “karate is the martial art of intelligent people”, karate has now become a standard requirement for many to develop their own good character and improved physical and mental skills.

Hitoshi Kasuya – WSKF Chief Instructor