GICHIN FUNAKOSHI

The Founder of Shotokan Karate-Do

Gichin Funakoshi is the founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is attributed as being the "father of modern karate". Following the teachings of Anko Itosu, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1922. He taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association upon its establishment in 1949. Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time:Shotokan is named after Funakoshi's pen name, Shoto, which means "waving pines". In addition to being a karate master, Funakoshi was an avid poet and philosopher who would reportedly go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry. Kan means training hall, or house, thus Shotokan referred to the "house of Shoto". This name was coined by Funakoshi's students when they posted a sign above the entrance of the hall at which Funakoshi taught reading "Shoto kan". By the late 1910s, Funakoshi had many students, of which a few were deemed capable of passing on their master's teachings. Continuing his effort to garner widespread interest in Okinawan karate, Funakoshi ventured to mainland Japan in 1922. [3] In 1930, Funakoshi established an association named Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai to promote communication and information exchange among people who study karate-do. In 1936, Dai-Nippon Karate-do Kenkyukai changed its name to Dai-Nippon Karate-do Shoto-kai. [5] The association is known today as Shotokai, and is the official keeper of Funakoshi's karate heritage. In 1939, Funakoshi built the first Shotokan dojo (training hall) in Tokyo. He changed the name of karate to mean "empty hand" Funakoshi's interpretation of the word kara to mean "empty" was reported to have caused some recoil in Okinawa, prompting Funakoshi to remain in Tokyo indefinitely. [citation needed] In 1949 Funakoshi's students created the Japan Karate Association (JKA), with Funakoshi as the honorary head of the organization. However in practise this organization was led by Masatoshi Nakayama. The JKA began formalizing Funakoshi's teachings. Funakoshi was not supportive of all of the changes that the JKA eventually made to his karate style. Funakoshi got Osteoarthritis in 1948 and died of Colorectal cancer in 1957. This message, including any attachments, may contain confidential and privileged information for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). Review, use, distribution or disclosure by others is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, or authorised to receive information on behalf of the recipient, please contact the sender by reply email, and delete all copies of this message. While we have taken reasonable precautions to ensure that this message and any attachments are free from viruses, we cannot guarantee that they are virus free and accept no liability for any damage caused by this message or any attachments. Messages sent or received through our networks may be monitored to ensure compliance with the law, regulation and/or our policies.

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