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Gichin Funakoshi

The Father of Modern Karate

"Think of everyday life as karate training"

Timeline of Gichin Funakoshi's life:

  • 1868 - born in Shuri, Okinawa
  • 1888 - took a job as an assistant schoolteacher at the age of 21
  • 1917 - gave the first public demonstration of karate
  • 1901 - karate practice was legalized in Okinawa, and its study became mandatory in middle schools. Securing permission from Azato and Itosu, Funakoshi announced that he would begin formally teaching karate.
  • 1921 - had the honour of demonstrating the art of "Okinawan te" to then Crown Prince Hirohito during a visit he made to Okinawa.
  • 1922 - traveled to Tokyo where he had been invited to present his art of Tode at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo, which had been organized by the Ministry of Education. After the demonstration he was strongly urged by several eminent groups and individuals to remain in Japan, and indeed he never did return to live in Okinawa.
  • 1924 - had started to introduce karate to several of the local universities, first at Keio, followed by Chuo, Tokyo, and Waseda to name but a few. It was through these universities that he was able to reach a much larger audience and this contributed greatly to the growing popularity of karate.
  • 1936 - Master Funakoshi was finally able to establish the Shoto-kan dojo in 1936, a great landmark in the history of karate. Funakoshi sensei was not only a genius in martial arts, but he was also a literary talent, and he signed all of his works "Shoto" which was his pen name. Hence, the dojo where he taught came to be known as "Shoto's school" or "Shoto's kan" which was ultimately adopted as the official name for his style of karate. Funakoshi sensei had combined the techniques and katas of the two major Okinawan styles to form his own style of karate, as a result, today Shotokan karate-do includes the powerful techniques of the Shorei style of karate, as well as the lighter more flexible movements of the Shorin style of karate.
  • 1957 - passed away the age of 88

To learn more about Master Gichin Funakoshi visit his Wikipedia entry