Quite a few of my Twitter followers ask me questions from time to time about the style of karate that I teach. Shotokan is the style I trained in for 20+ years and taught in Florida for several years and now teach in North Carolina.
Karate has been a part of my life for most of my life. My first lessons were in Hapkido when I was 10 or 11 years old. And from the time I was 25 on, I rigorously trained in martial arts; starting in American Free-Style and winding up in Shotokan.
Gichin Funakoshi was the founder of Shotokan karate. He was known as the father of modern karate. He taught karate in Japanese University and became the honorary head of the Japanese Karate Association.
He is quoted as saying that the ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in perfection of character. So Shotokan is better understood as a way of living, than just a fighting style. Shotokan is the way of the empty hand. This means both being empty of wrong motives and fighting without weapons. Training Ideas go beyond technique and can be applied to ordinary life. But karate is not philosophy class. The life lessons that Shotokan teaches are learned through the course of vigorous training.
Shotokan teaches the student to treat every technique as if their lives depended upon its successful execution. To kill with one blow is a scary sounding principle but life often demands that our next shot be our best shot. To give less than our best can cost us. In combat, it can cost one their very life. And in daily duty, giving less than our best can literally cost us the good life that we might live.
As mentioned, I took my first karate classes when a teenager. I went on to wrestle during high school and could not find a satisfactory way to continue this athletic activity in adulthood. This lead me back to karate. In my early 20’s I studied American Freestyle Karate in North Carolina. When I moved to Florida in the mid 80’s, I decided to continue my karate training but decided to change directions.
I decided that a more traditional style of the martial arts was needed to make sure that I could learn the ancient strengths of the technology. The following were my search criteria to find a class to train in.
The teacher must possess the real art; not some watered down American version.
The teacher must be someone who could not be bought or coerced into giving unearned belts & rank.
The teacher must be a person of high Christian character.