History of Karate

History of Karate

Karate, a descendant of the ancient art of Chinese Chuan-fa, “fist way,” (Kempo in Japanese) is traced to an Okinawan technique called Okinawa-te or Okinawa hand.

There is a legend regarding the origin of Kempo. An Indian Buddist monk, Taishi Daruma (Bodidharma), journeyed from India to China (Crossing the Himalayan Mountains), to instruct the liang-dynasty king on Buddism. He remained in China at a monastery called Shaolin and taught Buddism to the monks there, who later gained the reputation of being the most formidable fighters in China. This art in later years came to be called Shaolin-szu, “Fist Way” (Chuan-fa in Chinese).

Around 1600, China replaced its civil envoys to Okinawa with military men. Some of these men were very skilled in the art of Kempo. The Okinawans combined it with a native form of hand to hand fighting to produce Okinawa-te. There was a tremendous development of Karate in Okinawa due to the confiscation of arms by King Sho Hashi of Okinawa.

Karate was introduced to Japan by the efforts of Gichin Funakoshi and Choki Motobu in 1917 and again in 1922. The Ministry of Education authorized them to do five demonstrations at physical education expositions. The development of Karate in Japan took over many elements of jujitsu and Kendo (sword fighting) and also modern sports imported from the west. Thus the basis of modern Japanese style of Karate was laid.

In 1946, Master Robert Trias brought Karate from Okinawa to our western world and spread it throughout the country. The United States Karate Association (U.S.K.A) was established in 1948.

Today Karate is still developing, and it continues to spread where more people are becoming interested in it. Karate is an interesting sport to learn. Achievement is made through learning, and devotion is through the development of the mind, body, and spirit.

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