HISTORY OF KARATE
The following is intended to give only a brief resume of the development of Karate in general and Shukokai Karate in particular.
“Karate in General”
Although the origins of Karate are obscure it is generally considered that karate has evolved from a system of self-defence taught to monks many centuries ago at the Shaolin Monastery in northern China by a Buddhist monk from India named Daruma. The system using principally the arms (hand and elbow), and legs (knee and foot) was developed to protect against bandits, as the monks religion would not allow them to carry or use weapons.
The system spread to China as the monks spread their religion and with modifications became known as kung-fu and also as kempo. Following the route of trade and commerce these methods made their way to Okinawa, where they were further developed during the many decades of occupation by the Japanese when the Okinawan people were forbidden to carry weapons. During its development in Okinawa the system was re-named ‘Okinawa-te’.
Master Gichin Funakoshi, is the man considered to be most responsible for the systemization of karate as we know it today. In 1922 Master Funakoshi left Okinawa and went to Japan at the invitation of the Ministry of Education to teach karate in various universities across Japan. With the teaching in Japan came the substitution of the word Kara for the ‘Okinawa’ in “Okinawa-te” thereby forming the word Kara-te, meaning Empty Hand. Over many years Karate has been developed in Japan by a number of Masters creating their own particular ‘Style’ of karate. One style which was developed being “Shukokai” karate.
Simply translated Shukokai means “The Way for All” which in essence means that the style can be practiced by both males and females and by people of most ages.
The early development of Shukokai Karate was carried out by Master Chojiro Tani who lived in Kobe City, Japan. Master Tani practised the style of Shito-Ryu the establishment of which was accredited to Soke Kenwa Mabuni. After World War 2 Master Tani sort to develop the style and founded Shukokai. Master Tani studied the mechanics of the human body and aimed to develop techniques which could be delivered with maximum efficiency and by persons of varied physical strength and build.
One of Master Tani’s outstanding students joined him as a teenager and went on to be a true Master known and respected around the world for his speed and power, his name was Shigeru Kimura.