Shotokan Karate was developed on the island of Okinawa Japan and introduced in Tokyo in 1922 by Gichin Funakoshi. It continues to evolve but remains grounded in the Fundamentals of Karate. Master Funakoshi refined and standardized the techniques of this art. He deeply believed Shotokan Karate was a means to develop a strong character and self-defense. He did not believe in resolving conflict with violence, and he emphasized self-protection and respect for one another.
Shotokan Karate is a combination of the strong points from several ancient styles and is balanced in the use of hands and feet, speed and power, offense and defense. Above all, it emphasizes courtesy and respect. It might be considered the ideal physical exercise, not only because the limbs and the movements of the body are systematically trained, but also because of the required exercise. It is a martial art whose ultimate aim is the development of character through training. It is an empty-handed art of self-defense, in which the body itself is used as a weapon through techniques of punching, kicking, striking, and blocking. Of primary importance in the study of karate are form, balance, focus, power, speed, kime (explosive concentration of power), rhythm, and timing. The quality to accomplish this is self-control. To become a victor, one must first overcome one's self.
The beauty of the essential techniques is demonstrated in the so-called " kata," a fixed exercise through which the karateka rhythmically performs body movements, such as bending, jumping, and balancing, backward and forward, left and right, up and down, smoothly and fiercely, at low and high speed. Anyone can train in Shotokan Karate regardless of your age, sex, or physical stature. There are many reasons to practice Shotokan Karate. However, three reasons stand out above the rest:
Karate as a Path to Self-Improvement:
Some people study karate as a means to improve themselves. It can offer rigorous physical fitness training and a way to improve speed, power, flexibility, coordination and confidence. It is also studied by some to enhance inner peace and strength.
Karate as a Sport:
A great many people take karate as a recreational sport. Some take it to develop skill and technique (as demonstrated in the floor exercises, or "Kata"), while others who may enjoy competition, take it for the sparring (limited contact fighting against an opponent, or "Kumite"). Most people that begin karate training find that they enjoy both aspects of this sport. In addition to there being regional and national competitions held throughout the country, the International Olympic Committee has accepted Karate as a future Olympic event.
Karate for Self Defense:
It is a very effective way to counter an attacker. It teaches techniques to subdue or disable. It conditions the reflexes to react instinctively if attacked. Best of all, no weapons are needed, so Shotokan Karate can be used whenever and wherever necessary.
Regardless of your reason for taking Shotokan Karate, the time invested in it will return a lifetime of benefits.