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History of Shotokan

Ginchin Funakoshi

  Shotokan Karate was founded in 1939 by it's creator, Ginchin Funakoshi (1868-1957).  The word Shoto, meaning "pine-waves".  The movement of pine needles blowing in the wind like waves crashing at the beach was a comforting sound that Funakoshi loved and chose for his pen-name, which he used in his poetic and philosophical writings.  The Japanese word Kan, which means house or hall, was added by Funakoshi's students to honor him, and Shoto-Kan was born.  House of Pine Waves or house of Shoto, as it is known today.  Fact is Master Funakoshi never gave his style a name, just calling it Karate.  It wasn't until his children grew up and adopted the name for the style to honer their father.

  Funakoshi was a master of Okinawan Martial Arts, so his "Shotokan" is a descendant art of Wado-Ryu * ShotoKai * Chito-Ryu * Shindojinen-Ryu * YoseiKan and Kyokushin.  Widely recognized as the father of modern Karate, Funakoshi's philosophy regarding Karate as "a way of life" were he laid out in his 20 precepts, or Niju Kun, which form the foundation for the art. These twenty precepts were based heavily on Bushido and Zen.  The principles allude to notions of humility, respect, compassion, patience, and both inward and outward calmness.  The Dojo Kun lists five philosophical rules for training in the dojo.... Seek perfection of character, Be faithful, Endeavor to excel, Respect others, Refrain from violent behavior.

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