Shotokan Karate is a form of unarmed combat - However the "karate-ka" also uses their feet, knees and elbows. Karate as a martial art was cultivated in the island of Okinawa, south of mainland Japan.
After many years, the development of Karate as a means of self defence gained tremendous popularity, as the Japanese government on the island had prohibited the use of weapons.
Because of this national policy, the self defence techniques were developed into a unique Okinawan martial art of Karate. In 1922, Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, introduced Karate to mainland Japan during the first National Athletic Exhibition held in Tokyo. The demonstration turned out to be a great success due to the inspiring personality of Master Funakoshi. He taught only one method, a total discipline, which represented a mixture of Okinawan styles. This method became known as Shotokan, which literally means Pine waves Hall.
Originally written by Gichin Funakoshi 1868 - 1957 Founder of Shotokan Karate-Do
As you read the kun you will notice something. Each line begins with the number 1. Why? Why not 1,2,3, etc.? Well, Funakoshi Sensei felt that no item of the kun was any more important than another. Therefore, each item was number 1. Karate is a life long challenge that is explained by the "Dojo Kun". Every effort in karate teaches you commitment. Karate is an art of Self-Defence and the best Defence is avoiding trouble.
Master Gichin Funakoshi is widely considered the primary "father" of modern karate due to his efforts to introduce the Okinawan art to mainland Japan, from where it spread to the rest of the world. Funakoshi Gichin was also the founder of what is now known as Shotokan karate.His style of karate originated from him having trained under two famous Okinawan karate masters, Yasatsune Azato and Anko Itosu. After being observed by the Japanese Minister of Education during a karate demonstration, Funakoshi was asked to bring his karate to Japan for instruction in the universities there.
His introduction of the previously "secret" art of karate allowed the martial arts to grow to previously unheard of numbers. In 1936, Japanese karate-ka gathered donations to build the first official karate dojo, which they named Shotokan in honour of Funakoshi Sensei.