Shotokan Karate Budokai - Australia
Skip Navigation Links

Karate History

It has been said that Shotokan Karate was started by Master Funakoshi Gichin (1868 – 1957) on the island of Okinawa.

Two relatively different styles of Karate were practised on Okinawa, Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu. Shorei-ryu was designed to develop physical strength and impressed with its sheer power. Shorin-ryu was notable for its fast strikes and counterattacks and was ideal for smaller, agile people. After years of studying both arts, Master Funakoshi arrived at a new understanding of martial arts and was able to combine the best features of Shorin-ryu and Shorei-ryu.

In 1922, the first demonstration of Karate by Master Funakoshi, in Tokyo, made a powerful impression on the Japanese community. Karate became very popular and spread quickly in Japan. Master Funakoshi taught Karate to college students, initially in Keio University. He also practised calligraphy, signing his work ‘Shoto’ and his Karate system became known to his students as Shotokan-ryu.

In May 1948, the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) was founded by students of Master Gichin Funakoshi and the standards for training were established (Kihon, Kata and Kumite). Shotokan Karate has now spread to many countries all over the world.