Karate History

About Karate

Karate is a system of self-defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word ‘Karate’ is formed from the Japanese words ‘Kara’ (empty) and ‘Te’ (hand), symbolising that its practitioners – Karateka – are unarmed, but use their hands and feet as striking weapons.

What is Shotokan Karate?Portrait of Gichin Funakoshi Sensei

Gichin Funakoshi was the founder of Shotokan karate. He was born in 1868 in Shuri. Okinawa. He first travelled to Japan in 1917 and put on several demonstrations at other martial arts clubs and universities. Karate became popular among the Japanese and in 1936, Funakoshi established the first karate club in Japan, which was known as the “Shotokan”.

The name is derived from Funakoshi’s pen name, “Shoto” meaning “waving pines” (because he enjoyed hearing the sound of the wind through the pine trees in Okinawa) and “kan” meaning hall.

The style of Shotokan is based on strong direct movements and deep, powerful stances but has also been influenced by some Chinese martial arts.

Master Funakoshi died in 1957. During his life time , he trained many famous students who have in turn have gone on to popularise it making it the most practised style throughout the world.


What is the KUGB?

The KUGB – Karate Union of Great Britain – is a democratic body controlled by its membership and operates under an approved constitution. All positions on its committees are elected at the Annual General Meeting by its members. Its fully audited accounts are presented annually for approval by the AGM.

It consists of over 400 clubs, all of which practice Shotokan Karate. It was established in 1966 as a democratic and non-profit making organisation for the development of Shotokan Karate and is affiliated to European and World Shotokan Bodies.

It is by far the largest and most successful single-style association in Great Britain with in excess of 10,000 members who enjoy many benefits, including the following:

Click on this link for more information on the KUGB: WWW.KUGB.ORG