What is the Shotokan style of karate?
Shotokan karate is one of the most widely practiced forms of karate in the world today, and one of the most traditional. Introduced to Japan from Okinawa by Master Funakoshi Gichin, Shotokan puts heavy focus on kihon (basic techniques), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring) to develop a range of powerful and dynamic techniques. The designation “Shotokan” derives from “Shoto,” which was the pen name Master Funakoshi used when writing poetry. The JKA has refined the Shotokan style even further, creating a related, but unique style all its own. The strength of this style proves itself time and again: the JKA has by far the largest number of All Japan and international karate tournament champions.
Forging a Karate Mind
Karate is not a game of points, weight classes or showy demonstrations. It is a martial art and way of life that trains a practitioner to be peaceful; but if conflict is unavoidable, true karate dictates taking down an opponent with a single blow.
Such an action requires strength, speed, focus, control. But these physical aspects are only part of the practice; they are just the vehicle, not the journey itself.
True karate is based on Bushido. In true karate, the body, mind and spirit—the whole person—must be developed simultaneously. Through kihon, kumite and kata we learn to control our movements. But more importantly, we learn to give up control too. We can perform the techniques without thinking about them, and remain focused without having to concentrate on any one thing. In essence, the body remembers how to move and the mind remembers how to be still.
This harmonious unity of mind and body is intensely powerful. Even the greatest physical strength and skill is no match for the power of wholeness.
The result of true karate is natural, effortless action, and the confidence, humility, openness and peace only possible through perfect unity of mind and body. This is the core teaching of Zen, the basis of Bushido, and of the JKA’s karate philosophy.
What is the purpose and goal of karate?
The ultimate purpose of karate is not physical prowess or the winning of matches, but the development of balance, harmony and spiritual and physical strength through strict, disciplined training. Karate schools you in natural, effortless action, and imbues you with an openness, peace and wholeness of character that vastly enrich day-to-day life.
-Source: Japan Karate Association