Shotokan Karate is a Traditional Martial Art From The Island of Okinawa in Japan

Shotokan Karate is a form of unarmed combat - "Karate" means empty hand. However the "karate-ka" also uses their feet, knees and elbows. Karate as a martial art was cultivated in the island of Okinawa, south of mainland Japan. After many years, the development of Karate as a means of self defence gained tremendous popularity, as the Japanese government on the island had prohibited the use of weapons. Because of this national policy, the self defence techniques were developed into a unique Okinawan martial art of Karate. In 1922, Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, introduced Karate to mainland Japan during the first National Athletic Exhibition held in Tokyo. The demonstration turned out to be a great success due to the inspiring personality of Master Funakoshi. He taught only one method, a total discipline, which represented a mixture of Okinawan styles. This method became known as Shotokan, which literally means Pine waves Hall.

Master Gichin Funakoshi is widely considered the primary "father" of modern karate due to his efforts to introduce the Okinawan art to mainland Japan, from where it spread to the rest of the world. Funakoshi Gichin was also the founder of what is now known as Shotokan karate. His style of karate originated from him having trained under two famous Okinawan karate masters, Yasatsune Azato and Anko Itosu. After being observed by the Japanese Minister of Education during a karate demonstration, Funakoshi was asked to bring his karate to Japan for instruction in the universities there. His introduction of the previously "secret" art of karate allowed the martial arts to grow to previously unheard of numbers. In 1936, Japanese karate-ka gathered donations to build the first official karate dojo, which they named Shotokan in honour of Funakoshi Sensei.

Master Gichin Funakoshi was the Founder of Modern-Day Shotokan Karate

Australian School of Shotokan Karate
was founded in 1990

After leaving the Japan Karate Association of Australia, Sensei Edji Zenel embarked on his own path and became the founder of a new school, the Australian School of Shotokan Karate (ASSK). ASSK was registered and officially began operating under this name in May of 1990. In 1992 the ASSK also became an active affiliated member of the Australian Karate Federation (AKF), the highest karate authority here in Australia.

ASSK's mission is to provide leadership in the practice of Karate-Do and to promote opportunities for State, National and International competition. The ASSK is devoted to teaching Karate at its highest level, maintaining the integrity of the art and encouraging the philosophy of karate as a journey for life. The ASSK is committed to running an annual program of lectures, seminars, camps and regularly scheduled training sessions for all students, as well as continuous training programmes for advanced students and instructors.

The karate style that is practiced at the ASSK is Shotokan. Shotokan is one of the four styles that is recognised by the World Karate Federation. Shotokan Karate, as a self-defence is one of the most dynamic of all the martial arts. Techniques in kihon (basics) and kata (forms) are characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs. It is also the most widely practiced karate style in the world.

The word Shotokan is comprised of three Kanji characters in Japanese - Sho To Kan. The literal translation is Pine Waves Hall, and is synonymous with the tiger symbol and Shotokan Karate today. Master Funakoshi's pen name was Shoto, and signs his works of calligraphy with his pen name. He would explain that the cool breezes, which blew among the pine trees where he lived, made a sound like waves breaking the shore. When viewing the Pine trees blowing at distance, it looked like a tiger’s tail. The tiger, which is commonly used as the symbol of Shotokan implies that the tiger never sleeps, therefore, is the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger.

The Tiger is the Symbol for Shotokan Karate Around the World

The Dojo Kun Represents the
Karateka Guidelines

Hitotsu. Jinkaku Kansei ni Tsutomuro Koto.

One. Seek Perfection of Character.

Hitotsu. Makoto ni Michi wo Mamoru Koto.

One. Be Faithful.

Hitotsu. Doryoku no Seishin o Yashinau Koto.

One. Endeavour.

Hitotsu. Reigi o Omonzuru Koto.

One. Respect Others.

Hitotsu. Kekki no Yu o Imashimuru Koto.

One. Refrain from Violent Behaviour.

As you read the kun you will notice something. Each line begins with the number 1. Why? Why not 1,2,3, etc.? Well, Funakoshi sensei felt that no item of the kun was any more important than another. Therefore, each item was number 1. Karate is a life long challenge that is explained by the "Dojo Kun". Every effort in karate teaches you commitment. Karate is an art of self-defence and the best defence is avoiding trouble.