Karate - The Way of the Empty Hand

When Crown Prince Hirohito viewd a demonstaration of Okinawa Te, he was so impressed that a complete report of this art was prepared in Japan. In 1916, Ginchin Funakoshi, a practitioner of Shuri Te, gave a domonstration at the Butoku-den in Kyoto. The demonstration was well received and in 1923 Funakoshi moved to Japan to take on the job of introducing the art to the Japanese people. In 1924, karate was accepted into the curriculum of several of the major Japanese universities.

In 1930, Kenwa Mabuni, another karate master, came to Osaka, Japan. Both Funakoshi and Mabuni had been students of Master Itosu. Funakoshi went on to study under Master Azato and Mabuni studied under Master Higaonna. Going their separate ways, Funakoshi established Shotokan in Tokyo, and Mabuni named his school Shito Ryu.

Chojun Miyagi established the Goju Ryu school in Okinawa. Alsp a student of Higaonna's, Miyagi's school closely resembled Shito Ryu.

Sometime around 1932, the "kara" in "karate" was chaned from meaning "Chinese", to mean "to lose or empty yourself to gain serenity of mind". By this time, all Japanese universities had karate dojos.

The Japanese Karate Association (JKA) was formed in 1948 under the leadership pf Funakoshi. After his death in 1957, his top student, Masatoshi Nakayama took over his duties as JKA president. Nakayama was a strong leader. He organized the first All-Japan Championships in 1957, and helped establish the rules of kumite (sparring) as we know them today.

Karate was introduced to Americans for the first time when the soldiers were in Japan after WWII. The first dojo to the United States was opened in 1946 by Rober Trais in Phoenix, Arizona.

Since taht time, karate has taken on many different faces in the Unites States. With over 600 different styles in the United States, many different philosophies have emerged. Some styles remain very traditional in their beliefs and teachings, others have turned karate into a professional sport, and others practice it merely as a form of self defense.