Karate Do

 

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1400 years ago, a buddhist monk, Bodhidarma, comes to China and spreads his beliefs. Alongside his journey, he will develop a system of maintaining a mental and physical discipline, influenced by Ekkin Sutra,, a buddhist teachings book. This method will become to be known as the “Okinawa hand” – Okinawa te.

The founder of this style is Gichin Funakoshi, born in 1867. He learns Okinawa te from the warrior Azato Yosutane and from Itos Yastsune. He becomes a master himself, and afterwards persident of Shobikai(The Martial Arts Association of Okinawa). He was summoned to Japan in order to sustain some promotional bouts and he will stay here forever, receiving support in this endeavor from Jigoro Kano.

Sensei Funakoshi will christen his style Kara Te~ the empty hand~.In 1936 he will establish the first institution where he will teach his own style, at Zoshigawa,Tokyo. His dojo will be named by its students Shotokan. It will be the first karate style recognized worldwide. A few years later more styles will follow: Goju Ryu(founded by Miyagi Chojan) and Shito Ryu(founded by Mabuni Kenwa).

Master Funakoshi says that the first meaning of the term `kara` denotes the fact that the style allows the practicioner to defends himself with his bare hands, with no weapon. You must give up every last trace of your selfishness, and you must also have a clear mind in order to understand what this style has to offer. you must also be a brave and courageous man, a true gentleman, a champion of justice.

There are many martial arts styles, with or without weapons.but on the fundamental level, they all have the same base: “the form is empty, and the emptiness is the true form”.