Budo Karate Club is proud to be able to trace a direct link from the origins of the Shotokan style under Master Funakoshi, pictured below, to the Budo Club as it exists today. As explained below, both Gavienas Sensei and Sheridan Sensei, as noted in the Instructors’ Profiles, had the honour and privilege to receive training and grading under several Senseis to whom the Shotokan torch was passed by Master Funakoshi Gichin and his successors.
The name “Shotokan” consists of two characters, “Shoto” – and “Kan” . The first, “Shoto”, translates as “pine waves” or “waving pines”, and is actually the pen-name which Master Funakoshi used when writing poetry in his youth. This has its origins in his habit of walking along Mount Torao, near Shuri in Okinawa, an area covered in Ryukyu pines which rustled when the winds blew. Master Funakoshi felt this was a place of peace and contemplation. The second, “Kan”, means “house” or “hall”.
When he first arrived in Japan from Okinawa, Master Funakoshi did not have a dedicated place to train or teach, and he relied on the generosity of Sensei Nakayama, a renowned Kendo instructor, who offered Master Funakoshi his Kendo dojo when it was not in use.
By 1935 or 36, Master Funakoshi’s supporters and students raised enough capital to construct the first Karate dojo in Japan, which was dedicated as the “Shoto-kan”. In honour and respect for their teacher, they decided to make a sign to adorn the door of his dojo, painted in white above the entrance, and thus the “Shotokan”…”The Hall of the Waving Pines” was born.
So where, historically, does Shotokan fit in the history of martial arts? Karate, generally, can trace its roots back to the early combat systems of China (and probably to those which preceded these in ancient India). However, it should be acknowledged that these origins were very general in nature, and cannot be seen as definitively “karate”, as we currently understand it. Somewhat surprisingly, “karate” had no original roots in mainland Japan, where, as the last feudal period came to an end in 1868, the only uniquely Japanese unarmed striking art was Jiu-jitsu.
However, on the Ryukyu archipelago island of Okinawa, there was a history of weaponless hand and foot fighting techniques, believed to have been introduced by merchants making trading trips to Southern China, and known, variously, as China-Hand or Okinawa-Hand (Okinawa-te). Eventually, two main schools emerged from the neighbouring towns of Naha and Shuri, which came to be known as Naha-te and Shuri-te, and it was from this tradition that Funakoshi Gichin emerged.
Arriving on mainland Japan in 1922, Funakoshi Gichin blended his skills with the philosophy of Budo and from this fusion of physical and spiritual, Karate-do (the empty hand way) emerged. As a result of his unstinting efforts for the rest of his life, Funakoshi became known as the “father of Japanese karate”.
As detailed in the diagram below, some of his students remained loyal to his teachings while others left to develop other techniques, philosophies and teaching styles – thereby giving rise to the development of different Karate Styles, the four major of which were Shotokan, Wado, Goju and Shito. Over time, further developments saw the emergence of other schools such as Shukokai, Kyokushinkai and Shotokai.
Master Funakoshi, his son Yoshitaka and Sensei Masatoshi Nakayama (1935) Yoshitaka and his father
In 1948, the establishment of the Japan Karate Association (Nihon Karate Kyokai), with Funakoshi as its honorary head, consolidated the basis for the subsequent worldwide expansion of karate. From our own Budo Club’s perspective, as indicated at the top of this page, several of the notable students and instructors who emerged from the J.K.A. (which, by then, was under the leadership of Master Funakoshi’s student Masatoshi Nakayama) were instrumental in the teaching or grading of both Gavienas Sensei and Sheridan Sensei, having been sent abroad by Nakayama Sensei as part of the J.K.A. Instructor Programme. Notable among them were Taiji Kase (himself a student of Funakoshi’s son Yoshitaka), Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Masao Kawasoe.
Nakayama Sensei Kase Sensei
Kanazawa Sensei Kawasoe Sensei