Karate is a common type of martial arts. More and more people are practicing it because of the various benefits that it gives. There are actually many types of karate. They are commonly called as karate styles.
One of the common karate style is the Shotokan. It was developed from a mixture of martial arts by its founder named Gichin Funakoshi with his son Gigo Funakoshi. Gichin was born in Okinawa. Because of his passion for karate, he was often seen demonstrating them to many people to encourage others to practice them. He did this by organizing public demonstrations and by supporting university karate clubs, including those at Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi (Shodai), Takushoku, Chuo, Gakushuin, and Hosei. Indeed it is by his passion that Shotokan karate was known not only within Japan but also later on to the whole world.
Funakoshi continued to teach Shotokan karate until his death. However, because of internal disagreements because of the clash of different principles and interpretations, many schools and organizations began to split from each other. In the end, there was only one Shotokan school left. But still it bore the influence of Funakoshi. In fact, the term Shotokan came from Funakoshi itself. “Shoto” means pine needles. This was the pen name of the founder when he wrote poems and other philosophical writings. “Kan” on the other hand means house or hall. As a tribute, students put the word “Shotokan” above the hall of the building where Funakoshi taught. On the other hand, he himself just called it karate.
Shotokan training is divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring). Kihon and kate involves techniques that are branded by their deep stances. They develop the body’s stability. It also enables powerful movements, and strengthen the legs to effectively cause injury to the opponent. Shotokan is referred to as a “hard” and “external” martial art. Beginners as well as experts are taught to develop strong basic techniques and stances before they can proceed to higher level of Shotokan. Like other types of martial arts, Shotokan also incorporates the idea of blet system. Most Shotokan academies use the “kyū / dan system” but others have added other belt colors to indicate more emphasis on the level of the practitioner. But the principle is still quite the same, the darker the belt color or shade, the higher the learning of the student too.
There is a long list of the Shotokan techniques. They are often divided into many categories. There are positions for stances, blocking techniques which may utilize the arms or legs, striking techniques and kicking techniques. For a practitioner to be able to learn Shotokan on the highest level, a person needs the basic value of discipline, respect and dedication. There are many karate schools who specialize in Shotokan and it may be well observed that Shotokan has been known for years already as a common hobby, art and sport by many people all around the world.