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Rainhill Kase Ha Shotokan Karate Academy

Master Gichin Funakoshi

Born in Yamakawa, Shuri, Okinawa, on November 10 1868, Master Gichin Funakoshi was the founder of Shotokan Karate, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is attributed as being the "father of modern karate".

Trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawa karate of the time and after years of study, Master Funakoshi created a simpler system, always referring to it simply as "Karate."

Master Funakoshi brought “Karate” to Japan, when he was invited to perform at a physical education exhibition. This proved popular and he was invited back several times in the following years, after which he decided to teach and promote karate in Japan, building the first Shotokan Dojo in Tokyo.

Master Funakoshi adopted the Kyu/Dan rank system and uniform used in Judo. This system uses coloured belts (obi) to indicate rank. Originally, karate had only three belt colours: 8th rising to 4th kyu: white; 3rd rising to 1st kyu: brown; 1st and higher dan: black.

Master Funakoshi's students created the Japan Karate Association (JKA). The JKA began formalizing Master Funakoshi's teachings, although he was not supportive of all of the changes that the JKA eventually made to his karate style, e.g. in 1951 the JKA developed the rules for free kumite (sports karate), a practice to which Master Funakoshi was opposed; he favoured kata practice, paired practice (yakusoku kumite, kihon kumite, etc.), but never free kumite.

Master Funakoshi passed away on April 26 1957, aged 88.

"You must "be" before you can "do".

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