Origin of Shotokan Karate
Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word is formed from the Japanese words 'Kara' (empty) and 'Te' (hand), symbolising that its practitioners - Karateka - are unarmed, but use their hands and feet for blocking and striking. Training is conducted within a code based on Japanese cultural practices.
There are various styles of Karate and Shotokan is the most widely practiced style in the world. The originator of Shotokan was Gichin Funakoshi, an Okinawan school teacher. Funakoshi, also a poet, wrote under the pen name "Shoto", meaning "whispering pines," and "Kan" means "the way". Shotokan is quite simply the "way of Shoto". Funakoshi first demonstrated his style of Karate in Japan in 1921.
The History of Shotokan Karate
Gichin Funakoshi - (1868 - 1957)
The development of modern day Shotokan can be in the most part accredited to Gichin Funakoshi's third son, Yoshitaka. It is Yoshitaka's influence that has resulted in the karate that Shotokan exponents practice today. Yoshitaka is known to have developed longer, deeper stances to create more strength, his kicks were more dynamic and the attacking techniques were developed even further. Yoshitaka was instrumental in introducing many more katas to the Shotokan system.
The expansion of karate globally would not be the practiced martial art that it is today without the efforts of Masatoshi Nakayama. Originally destined to become a surgeon, Nakayama studied at Takushoku University , where Gichin Funakoshi was teaching. Nakayama became Funakoshi's principal student and in May of 1949, he helped to found the Japanese Karate Association (JKA). Although Funakoshi was the honorary head of the new organization, he was 81 years old at the time of the foundation, and chose Nakayama to be the Main Instructor of the JKA.
Yoshitaka Funakoshi (1906 - 1945)
Keinosuke Enoeda (1935 - 2003)
Formation of the KUGB
In 1965, the JKA sent four of its most famous and talented Instructors, Taiji Kase, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hiroshi Shirai to tour Europe and give demonstrations of Shotokan Karate. The British part of the tour was coordinated by the British Karate Federation, a group of 10-15 clubs which had existed since 1959.
In 1966, Sensei Kanazawa was invited to come to teach in Britain and the KUGB was founded from the BKA clubs as a democratic and non-profit making organisation for the development of Shotokan Karate, with Sensei Kanazawa as Chief Instructor.
In 1968, Sensei Kanazawa resigned to teach in Germany and Sensei Enoeda was appointed as KUGB Chief instructor and remained in this position until his death in 2003.
Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda had attended Takashuko University where he had trained under Master Funakoshi.
Sensei Enoeda was known throughout the world as the Shotokan Tiger - "Tora" and such was his renown, he appeared regularly in films becoming a friend and teacher to movie stars and members of royalty.
The number of KUGB clubs has now grown to over 300, making it Britain's largest, longest-established and most successful single-style Karate Association and its current Chief Instructor, Andy Sherry, is acknowledged as Britain's most senior Karateka.