Karate is a martial art that originated in the Ryukyu Kingdom, now Okinawa. It evolved from the indigenous martial arts of the islands under the influence of Chinese boxing, especially Fujian White Crane System. There are many schools of Karate in existence, however, Shotokan Karate is the most widely practiced and the most influential form of Karate Do. The founder of Shotokan Karate is attributed to Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957), known as the “Father of Karate”. He did not invent Karate itself, but was influential in promoting the art and preserving its traditions. In fact, he studied many styles of karate in Okinawa. Funakoshi introduced the art to mainland Japan in the early 20th century. He worked hard to promote the art and establish clubs in the Japanese universities. He changed the name from Chinese hand, which was commonly used in Okinawa at the time, to empty hand, both of which are pronounced karate in Japanese. Gichin Funakoshi was also an artist and poet who went by the pen name Shoto, meaning pine waves. He established the first karate dojo, in which some of his students named “Shotokan”, the place where pines move in the breeze. On June 1, 2016, the International Olympic Committee's executive board announced the inclusion of karate in the 2020 Games!
Participants at Simba Dojo may engage in a variety of exercises including:
Mokuso – Meditation is a practice in which one trains the mind. Karate is not just a physical activity, it also has mental and spiritual components.
Taiso – Body conditioning, stretching and warming up exercises.
Kihon – Drills with emphasis proper form teaching stances, kicks, and punches.
Kata – Kata are structured routines arranged like a choreographed dance which allows individuals to practice the techniques and develop quick reflexes.
Kumite – Training drills with a partner using techniques learned from the kata and kihon. These will be designed to practice application of each form.
Kobudo – The use of and the defense against weapons.
Iaido and Kenjutsu- The art of the samurai sword.
Self-defense – Problem solving in real-life situations. Practice using cognitive skills, verbal karate and physical techniques.
Kun or Ethics – Ethics is essential in the practice of Shotokan karate. Kun or rules of the dojo teach principles of ethics in which to live by.
Japanese – Shotokan Karate roots back to Okinawa where it was developed. Okinawa, highly influenced by Japan, shares many aspects of cultural and language. It is almost impossible to learn real karate without also exploring elements of Japanese culture, language and history.