University of Michigan
Although the ancient origins of karate are extremely vague, we do know
that about 1400
years ago, Daruma (Bodhidharma), the founder of Zen Buddhism, used
to karate. According to legend, Daruma travelled from India to China to
His training methods were so demanding that his disciples dropped from
In order to build up their strength and endurance, he developed a method of
the mind and body. His training was taught in the monastery of the
Shaolin Temple in
China, where the techniques were refined and developed into fighting forms
known as Shaolin Boxing.
In the 16th Century, Shaolin Boxing found its way to Okinawa from China.
with native Okinawan techniques to develop into several Okinawan styles.
During several periods of Okinawan history, the owning and carrying of
weapons was banned.
Each ban resulted in great advancements in the techniques of unarmed combat.
Secret training flourished, and the styles became more efficient and deadly.
Japan - Master Funakoshi
Master Gichin Funakoshi was the founder of modern karate. Born in 1868, he
study karate at the age of 11, and was a student of the two greatest
masters of the time. He
grew so proficient that he was initiated into all the major styles of karate
in Okinawa at the time.
In 1922, Master Funakoshi, then President of the Okinawa association of the
Martial Arts, was chosen to demonstrate karate at the first National Athletic
in Tokyo. This led to the introduction of the ancient martial art to the rest
of Japan. At
the urging of friends and officials, he remained in Tokyo to teach.
U.S.A. - Tsutomu Ohshima
Tsutomu Ohshima was one of Master Funakoshi's last direct pupils (1948-1953)
studying under him while attending Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
In 1955, Mr. Ohshima came to the United States and was the first person to
teach Karate in this country.
That same year he organized the Southern California Karate Association,
which has grown over the years to become a nationwide organization,
Shotokan Karate of America.
More about Mr. Ohshima.
Shotokan Karate of America
Shotokan Karate of America is now, as it was then, a non-profit organization
that tries to maintain a high level of non-commercialism. Shotokan Karate of
America, Inc. is devoted to teaching karate at its highest level, as a martial
art. To this end, Shotokan Karate of America conducts lectures, seminars, and
regularly scheduled intensive training sessions for all students, as well as a
continuous training program for advanced students and instructors.
(courtesy Martin Berson)