www.jkaindia.org The Japan Karate Association of India
Karate-do Development
Karate-do History


In 1936 Master Funakoshi established the first Institution of Karate in Japan at Zoshigaya Toshima ward Tokyo. His disciples called the Dojo SHOTOKAN - Shoto being the pen name Master Funakoshi used to sign his calligraphy and Kan meaning house or hall. Thus came about the first recognised style of Karateto be taught in the world. He was then seventy years of age yet he felt his task had only just begun. After he established the Shotokan Dojo the Master went about ensuring that Karate become an integral part of the Japanese Budo. The old Shobo-kai became the NIHON KARATE KYOKAI or translated into English as JAPAN KARATE ASSOCIATION on March 20 1950. This was the first time that any Karate organization was formed in Japan. TheAssociation was made a corporation by the Ministry of Education of Japan on April 10, 1958. In 1956 the world's first Karate tournament was held the All Japan Grand Karate tournament, This tournament is held in Tokyo till today. Teams from India participate in this tournament every year, Dai Sensei Gichin Funakoshi passed away in 1950 at the age of ninety. Disciples of Master Funakoshi were invited to teach karate all over the world and it was the SHOTOKAN STYLE of karate that was first taught not only in Europe but also in America and South East Asia. Thus J.K.A. spread its branches through out the world. Today it is the world's largest karate organisation and the Shotokan sytle the most popular with over ten million karatekas in more than 100 countries training under its banner a dream of the Master turned into reality.
         There are no known written records about the origins of the martial art known as karate-do. It is known however that it came to Okinawa from China. The origins of this Chinese method of fighting is found in a discipline set by the Indian monk Boddhidharma who is also known as Lao Tsu in Chinese and Daruma Taishi in Japanese. The Monk had set forth from the western shores of India, (Kerala) to China, the destination being the Shaolin Temple. Boddhidharma was well versed in Kalarippayattu a martial art of South India, rich in Yogasans or Yogic Postures that bring forth the union of the body and the mind.
The senior monks at the Temple were in awe of him as he had traversed the long and difficult journey bearing up to the demands of both a rough terrain as well as the bandits and wild animals. They therefore asked him to train the trainee monks .The story told is that when Boddhidharma put the trainee monks through the paces, most of them collapsed unable to withstand the rigourous training. It was therefore felt that in order for the monks to bear the rigours of travel, they needed to not only have a healthy body and mind, but also to defend themselves against wild animals and bandits. Boddhidarma was therefore given this task. The method that he set for the monks is laid down in the Ekkin Sutra of the Dhamapada or the holy scriptures of Buddhism.
By conjecture we understand that the martial arts of the Shaolin Monastery also spread with Buddhism along the silk route with the merchants of China, many of whom also learnt the art from the monks. At the vaious centers of trade in different countries, the Shaolin Martial Art blended with the local martial arts and developed into an entirely different form.

More details can be had from the history section.
         Supreme Master Gichin Funakoshi often considered as the father of Modern Day Karate was born into a Samurai Family in 1868 the first year of the Meiji Restoration. Being a weak child his father took him to Azato Yasutsune and Itoso Yasutsune who were great warriors. During his childhood this art was banned and at first he was Azato only student. He later trained under a great many Senseis like Piechin Kiyuna,Niigaki and Sokon Mastumura. By the time he finished school and became a teacher himself Master Funakoshi was appointed Chairman of Shobukai the Martial Arts Association of Okinawa. It was only in 1902 when Shintaro Ogawa the commissioner of schools in the Kagoshima Prefecture after witnessing an exhibition of Karate submitted a report to the Ministry of Education in Japan about the benefits of the training in karate that Karate became a part of the curriculum in schools and began to be practiced freely in Japan. The martial art aained tremendous popularity after Master Funakohi performed before the Crown Prince of Japan in 1922. which led to him being invited to perform at the Royal Court in Japan. The response to his demonstration in Japan was so great that he was persuaded to stay on. Amongst those who persuaded him to stay on was Master Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo who gave him the necessary help to teach the art for the first time in Japan.
        It was in Japan when Master Funakoshi was leading the research group on karate at the keio University that he prposed the change of name in order to make the art totally Japanese in nature. iIn the proposal he gave the name 'Dai Nippon Kempo Karate-do or Great Japan Fist Method Empty Hand Way. In the new name he changed the Calligraphy symbolising "to" or "China". (This charectar can also be pronounced as kara) to "Kara" or Empty and thus gave the art the name of Kara-te-do in short

Recommended reading:
  • Rentan Goshin Toudi Jutsu : by Master Funakoshi published later as Karate- jutsu.
  • Karate Do Kyohan.             : by Master Funakoshi published as the master text
  • Karate-do My life                : by Master Funakoshi