What is Shotokan Karate

Shotokan Karate is one of the newer styles of karate, developed in Okinawa by Gichin Funakoshi and his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi in the early twentieth century. It was then brought to mainland Japan from Okinawa by Gichin Funakosi. Like other martial arts, Shotokan has its roots in China. Shotokan karate is known for its aggressive movements. It is more violent and can cause greater injury to an opponent than other types of karate.

Gichin Funakoshi taught Shotokan karate and opened many schools and clubs, though he never gave his style of karate a name. Instead, he called it just "karate." It was his students which named it Shotokan, combining Funakoshi's pen name for his poetry "Shoto" (meaning pine-waves) with "kan" (meaning house).

The style of karate that Funakoshi taught was a combination of Okinawan karate styles. To guide his students, Funakoshi developed the Twenty Precepts of Karate, which focused on the characteristics he felt his students should work to develop. These included patience, humility and compassion. After Funakoshi died in 1957, his students continued to teach Shotokan karate at the many schools and clubs that Funakoshi had started. However, his followers didn't see eye-to-eye on different aspects of Shotokan, leading to new, rival Shotokan organizations being created.

One aspect of Shotokan training that tends to be universal is the training. There are three parts to Shotokan training: kihon, kata and kumite, or the basics, patterns of movement and sparring. As a student's skill level progresses, his comprehension of Shotokan is signified by the belt he wears. The Shotokan karate belts are in line with the ky?/dan system, though they have added additional colors. As with other types of karate, the darker the belt, the higher the skill level of the student. The black belt is the highest level a student can reach, though some schools include stripes to signify the level of black belt.

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