Brief Shotokai History (Part 1)

Shotokai Karate-do, CHILE

A Brief Shotokai History (Part I)

It is actually a very long, fascinating and complex history, but we will try to give a short concise summary in the following section:

  • Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957; considered the father of Karate-do) studies Karate with Yasutsune Azato, one, if not the greatest and most important Okinawan masters of Karate and also with another great Yasutsune Itosu (he also studied with Sokon Matsumura).
  • In 1922, due to his extensive knowledge, culture and technical level, he is invited to participate in an exhibition on the Japanese mainland islands in Tokyo. He is then asked to stay by many important people. He thus establishes himself there and will never return to Okinawa.
  • In Tokyo, after a very tough start, he begins Karate’s expansion. This was strongly impulsed by the establishment of University Karate Clubs, a characteristic it holds until this very day.
  • In 1935, Shotokai is informally organized (Shoto’s Association, Shoto being O-sensei’s pseudonym) to collect funds to build a Hombu Dojo (headquarter training hall) for the Master.
  • In 1936 he establishes formally the name “Karate-do” as the name of his art. After this, the same year, all the Okinawan masters get together and accept this new designation.