Karate has existed in different forms for hundreds of years but when you think of the popularity of Karate today, one man changed everything. His name was Gichin Funakoshi.
Gichin Funakoshi was born on the 10th of November 1868 in Shuri Okinawa. With Samurai links in his blood it is little surprise he grew to love and study the Martial Arts. By the age of eleven he had already made a name for himself in Ryukyu-style martial arts, beginning his training under Master Azato Anko, while also learning karate-jutsu from his Sensei.
Funakoshi Sensei continued training, developing his skill, becoming chairman of the Okinawa Martial Arts Society, as well as an instructor at the Okinawa Teachers School. In 1922 at the age of 54 he introduced Okinawan karate-jutsu at the first Ministry of Education. This was the first ever display of Karate-jutsu in Japan and went down a storm. Resultantly, this made Funakoshi a famous name in the world of the Japanese Martial Arts and drew attention to the art he was so desperately trying to popularise.
Funakoshi was quickly asked to demonstrate kata for the founder of Modern judo Kano Jigoro, which was also such a success that it was necessary for him to remain living in Tokyo, not returning home.
Master Funakoshi then subsequently began teaching it at Tokyo's Meiseijuku, a dormitory for Okinwan students there, while also publishing a book entitled 'Ryukyu Kempo Karate'. In 1922 the first ever book on the subject in Japan. Much of the boom that subsequently took place after the release of the book can be credited to its publication. Funakoshi sensei was also responsible for the publications 'Karate-Do, My Way Of Life', 'Karate-Do Nuymon' and 'Karate-Do-Kyohan', which have had many re-prints and are collected by most who study the art even today.
Under the guidance and encouragement of his Buddhist teacher about Furukawa Gyodo of Enkakuji Temple in Kamakura Master Funakoshi started practicing Zen, learning much from the teachings.
Master Funakoshi developed his understanding of the study, thinking about the concept 'form is emptiness and emptiness is form'. He could see the relevance of that teaching to his martial art and ultimately changed the characters for Karate from kara + te ('Chinese' + 'hand'} to kara + te ('empty + hand').
To make the teaching of the Okinawan art easier in Japan, he changed many of the kata names, which were originally Chinese and Okinawan, into standard Japanese. He took this one step further in 1929, changing the name from karate-jitsu (Chinese-hand Martial Art) to karate-do (the way of the empty hand). He then defined the Twenty Precepts of Karate, and established the karate philosophy that we respect and understand today.
Karate was gaining popularity across Japan. Due to the sudden rise in popularity, he established the 'Shotokan Dojo', 'Shoto' being his pen name. However, during the air raids during the Second World War, the dojo was destroyed, but after the war the members re-joined.
The Niju Kun are Funakoshi's Twenty Precepts, written to help the student understand how they should conduct themselves in Karate, and in everyday life.
Each of the principles is explained in detail in 'The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate' by Gichin Funakoshi.
Grading Gichin Funakoshi Frequently Asked Questions Our Locations Terminology Black Belt Register Instructors Profiles The Rising Sun Cup JKA Ireland 9th Rising Sun Cup 10th Rising Sun Cup 11th Rising Sun Cup JKA Grading Syllabus 12th Rising Sun Cup 13th Rising Sun Cup 14th Rising Sun Cup Self Defence Contact Rising Sun Shotokan Kata
Contact Rising Sun
Website developed by Cork Web Design