Shotokan Karatedo style was initially practiced in a space of 18 tatami mats. When the technique was introduced to Japan, it became known as karate-do. In 1936, Shotokan introduced the “bent knee” and “seiza” sitting posture used by practitioners today, known as Fujitani. The emphasis on this posture increased because it improved the presentation of techniques in kata. Funakoshi also insisted that students complete a rigorous physical training regimen before they were allowed to participate in more advanced forms of practice.
According to the style’s founder, Funakoshi himself, martial arts training involved no blows, which were instead fired from the hip. He believed that by practicing kata, a person could ” concentrate on flexibility and control the body movements.” His training methods were more similar to traditional Japanese fencing as opposed to western boxing.
His first use of the word ‘karate’ was probably in 1921, and he was using the word to describe a new way that karate could be practiced. It wasn’t until 1922 that Funakoshi adopted the word “karate” as its name. Funakoshi believed that karate had both a physical and mental aspect to it. He called his practice method “Shotokan,” named after his first dojo (training room).
In the new generation of practitioners, Shotokan is divided into two sub-styles, Shito-Ryu and Wado-Ryu. Over time, the Shotokan style became more widespread, particularly among colleges and universities in Japan. It was also practiced in China by Chinese martial artists, and as a result, it is said that there were many rivalries between Chinese and Japanese practitioners. With these competitive mutual exchanges of martial art techniques, Shotokan developed into what it is today.
In the new generation of practitioners, Shotokan is divided into two sub-styles, Shito-Ryu and Wado-Ryu. Over time, the Shotokan style became more widespread, particularly among colleges and universities in Japan. It was also practiced in China by Chinese martial artists, and as a result, it is said that there were many rivalries between Chinese and Japanese practitioners. With these competitive mutual exchanges of martial art techniques, Shotokan developed into what it is today
Today, the style has vibrant communities in mainland Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. Several teachers from Korea and Taiwan have also brought the style over to their countries. Many of the developments of Shotokan are attributed to those who have immigrated to other countries. Who further developed the techniques in new locations. The widespread popularity and demand for karate classes in the post-World War II era enabled Shotokan to become popular in many schools, universities, workplaces, and among individuals. Nakayama Kyoshi, a master of the style, made some of the significant innovations that include the modernized uniform worn by practitioners, the unified belts for different ranks, and the Tamura sensei’s (a Shotokan karate instructor) quote at an award ceremony:
Techniques Used in Shotokan Karatedo
It is an important part of every karate class to practice the basics. The basics are the stances, blocks, punches, and kicks. You need to practice using all these to get a good grasp of what the other, more complex techniques are all about.
- As you upgrade the belt level, the techniques used in Shotokan Karatedo will gradually change. The techniques used at the lower belt level are way simpler than higher belt level. You will be taught stances, techniques, and blocks to use in situations.
- You will be taught more specific techniques and combinations of techniques at a higher belt level rather than single ones only. You have to learn how to break the opponent’s balance, strike vital points, and aim for knockout blows.
- As a student of Shotokan, you need to practice the basic stances and form correctly to tackle more advanced moves later on. Shotokan Karatedo is an art form that needs to be perfected step by step, just like any martial art.
- You should always practice the forms and techniques sparingly because if you do so, it will make you lose balance.
Some of the basic stances, techniques, and block practices used in Shotokan Karatedo are like Tachikata, a basic stance used in Shotokan Karatedo. This stance is held with feet shoulder-width apart and the body facing 60 degrees forward.
Another basic posture is Kiai which means “voiced to protect“.
This posture is used when you are ready to attack or defend. It is performed by standing sideways with your arms close to your side and your head slightly bowed forward, giving you a confident and strong look. Tsuki, also known as Punches, are used to attack vital areas of your opponent’s body like the nose, solar plexus, or throat.
Tsuki can also be used in a blocking function. Another critical area that your opponent can target is the groin. To defend against your opponent’s groin kick, you can use a technique called Mawashi Geri, a roundhouse kick. This technique will target your opponent’s right side, and if performed correctly, it will cause severe damage. Blocks known as Ukemi are also taught in Shotokan Karatedo. They are punches used to block your opponent’s strikes and punches. Ukemi can be used offensively (to attack by hitting your opponent with a standing punch) or defensively (to move out of the way of an incoming strike).