Shotokan (松濤館 Shōtōkan?) is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957)
Shotokan Karate is a form of unarmed combat – “Karate” means “empty hand”. However the “karate-ka” also uses their feet, knees and elbows. Karate as a martial art was cultivated in the island of Okinawa, south of mainland Japan. After many years, the development of Karate as a means of self defence gained tremendous popularity, as the Japanese government on the island had prohibited the use of weapons. Because of this national policy, the self defence techniques were developed into a unique Okinawan martial art of “Karate” or “empty hand”. In 1922, Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, introduced Karate to mainland Japan during the first National Athletic Exhibition held in Tokyo. The demonstration turned out to be a great success due to the inspiring personality of Master Funakoshi. He taught only one method, a total discipline, which represented a mixture of Okinawan styles. This method became known as Shotokan, which literally means “Pine waves Hall”.
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