Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Shotokan (松涛館) is a school of karate, reflecting the style of the initial students (including his son, Yoshitaka) of master Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957), who 'officially' brought karate from Okinawa to mainland Japan (note: Kenwa Mabuni, Motobu Choki and other Okinawans were also actively teaching karate in Japan prior to this point) . Shoto was Funakoshi's pen name for his poetry, while Shotokan was the name of the hall where "Shoto" trained his students. Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan Karate of the time: Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu. He combined and modified the styles, and made his own, though he never named it, always referring to it simply as "karate". The karate that he transmitted to his students reflects the changes made in the art by Itosu Anko, including the Heian/Pinan kata series. Funakoshi himself changed the names of the kata included in his curriculum, in an effort to make the "foreign" Okinawan names more palatable to the then nationalistic Japanese mainland. In several cases, Shotokan kata have been modified, in some places favoring athleticism over practicality. A good example can be found in the side thrust kicks added to the Nijushiho kata.
Training is usually divided into three sections: kihon or "basics", kumite or "sparring", and kata. Shotokan techniques in kihon and kata are characterised by deep, long stances which provide stability and powerful movements. Strength and power are often demonstrated instead of slower, more flowing motions. The kumite techniques mirror these stances and movements at a basic level, but progress to be being more "free" and flexible at a higher level. Funakoshi is said to have found the traditional martial arts (such as sumo, jujutsu and kenjutsu) to be too focused on combat, and he put more emphasis on health, breathing, releasing energy and outstanding mind and body control.
Today, Shotokan is a very popular style worldwide. However, countless internal scandals, political ingfighting, and outright profiteering by Japanese "masters" have marred the modern practice for many karate adherents, leading to various factions which claim to be teaching "real" Shotokan.
- Gojushiho: dai, sho
- Roland Habersetzer, Shotokan Kata, Éditions Amphora, October 1990, Paris, France, ISBN 2851802105.
- Hirokazu Kanazawa, Shotokan Karate International Kata, Shotokan Karate-do International Federation, Japan, 1981, vol. 1 & 2, ISBN 4262168514, ISBN 4262168522.
- International Shotokan Karate Federation
- Shotokan Karate of America
- Karate Union of Great Britain
- Karate Union of Australia
- Kata Videos (b/w)
- Kata Videos (colour)
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