Traditional Shotokan Karate-do is taught on a daily basis the world over. It’s taught not only for physical self-defense but to strengthen the body, nurture the mind, build superior character, and to always seek the perfection of one’s character. In Japan karate is practice by both adults and children for health and well- being.
The history of karate, post Chinese influences, has its roots in Okinawa and dates back to Master Gichin Funakoshi’s ((船越 義珍) arrival in Japan in 1922. He would develop, and begin the teaching of one of the most sophisticated, intellectually framed, and effective forms of combative art ever developed to date.
Before that time, what was to became known as Okinawan “karate” was known as To-de or what post World War Two Japanese would later call Okinawa-te. Much Japanese culture was re-migrated back to Okinawa after taking on much of Japanese culture. Therefore, the fighting known at one time as To-de became different Okinawan styles of what the Japanese called karate (empty hand). The art of the use of weapons used in Okinawa system remains what is called Kobuto.
Only recently has the art been seen by some larger numbers in the world with Japanese/Okinawan karate-do’s first showcase into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
What You Can Expect with the Full Karate Experience
Created for self-defense against the adversary regardless of size, sex, number of attackers, with or without weapons, Shotokan Karate became the apex built on its Chinese and Okinawan predecessors. Karate not only develops the body physically, it brings out the warrior spirit in all who commit themselves to learn the fighting art.
Studies show that karate creates more circuitry in the brain which makes everything easier to learn and do, especially during child development.
We know from history that traditional combative arts practitioners lived better and longer than most others. Most medical officials firmly understand that martial and most combative arts, karate being most notable, keeps the body running correctly and longer than any separate involvement in most, if not all activities.
Interesting enough, history has genuinely noted the immense impact on the quality and length of life karate training has on one’s life. During a time when many ailments ravaged populations worldwide, karate practitioners lived much better. According to historical writer Gennosoke Higaki, the reason for karate masters living so fruitful during less fruitful times was that karate “develops the bones and muscles and aids in digestion and circulation.”
Further, in times where the many Sho Kings of Okinawa, with the best food and medical care, lived only about 36 years and in the time of the 1850s Americans only lived to the average of 40 years, the karate master lived to the ages of 70s and 80s. The only reason why was that they practiced karate. Karate should remain of strong importance to health and well-being.
A karate-ka (karate practitioner) grows stronger in every way. The body becomes more pliable to conditions, heals faster, and becomes much tougher through karate training than anything else available.
A karate-ka’s confidence, will, and spirit grow beyond anticipation. One’s abilities to organize thoughts, superiorly operate socially, confront challenges, and learn to become relentless in accomplishing one’s life goals amplifies, grows often beyond expectations.
“Karate-do is not merely a sport that teaches how to strike and kick; it is also a defense against illness and disease.” – Master Gichin Funakoshi
Though we retain respect for other fighting arts, they are not karate. Karate means “empty hand,” meaning using one’s body as a weapon, not using an object as a weapon. Karate does, however, teach to disarm and use attackers’ own weapons against themselves. The translation of other martial and fighting arts often translate differently and contain non-congruent thinking.
With continued training in karate students will not only learn true physical self-defense as karate-do was intended, but the karate-do culture, applied Japanese and/or Okinawan language, the road to the further karate related virtues, Japanese kata (forms) and their bunkai (application of kata), kumite (fighting/sparring).
Karate training for the sport aspect, at the Shotokan Karate Dojo, will entail education in JKA-style and an Olympic style local tournament circuit with the dojos teaching traditional karate in Colorado and beyond. The tournament training and support is paired with Olympic officials and pathways to the world of traditional Japanese and Okinawan karate.
Karate training at the Shotokan Karate Dojo and ASKF - Colorado, teaches the true and traditional art of Shotokan Karate-do as a direct extension of modern karate-do. The teaching combines contemporary aspects such as: modern sports medicine, modern self-defense concepts, street self-defense with interpretations of modern law, modern intellectual sociology and psychology intellectuality, real tactics and strategy, and world-class level competition formidable anywhere in the world.
For a karate artist, being a good influence, contributing to society, and continuing the spread of good nature is not a choice, it's part of being a karate person. At the Shotokan Karate Dojo, we both exemplify, teach, and expect this of all of our members, students, teachers and everyone affiliated with the ASKF and our school.
“Karate is not only the acquisition of certain defensive skills, but also the mastering of the art of being a good and honest member of society.” – Mater Gichin Funakoshi.
“David, you can talk and philosophy all you want, but in order to learn karate correctly you have to get out there and do it” - Sensei Richard C. Gould.”
What Has Been Passed Down and What it Remains
Karate has two parts, to jutsu and the do. The jutsu is the physical movements and the do is the way/path/journey. One cannot learn karate without doing only the do, it must begin with learning the jutsu; “learn physical before academic.”
Karate, as a self-defense, is practically for all students against anyone. Along with practicing kihon (basics) and kata (form) the bunkai (application), use of all karate techniques, are truly effective in reality. Moreover, the suppression of aggressive and/or violent action, such as in “bulling” are an integrate teaching in Karate.
Cultural understanding, including some Japanese/Okinawan derived language, history, and philosophy is important in the full development of Karate-do with every student.
Though karate is not a sport, we teach and encourage the development of world class competition elements. Though the rough and tumble parts of most competition is mostly in our past, our current local competition includes Olympic style competition, locally modified by local Olympic level officials.
Sensei David Gould (Kyoshi), Roku Dan (6th degree black belt), 35 years of training – American Shotokan Karate Federation (ASKF)
6th Dan in ASKF and ISKA, senior ASKF instructor, Chief Examination Class AA, JKA/ASKF tournament official, competition trainer and coach, renshi & kyoshi instructor, karate-do senior technical officer. Chief instructor for the Shotokan Karate Dojo.
Sensei Justin Butler (Hanshi-ISKA), Hatchi Dan (8th degree black belt), 55 years of training, Reginal Director of Colorado for ISKA, 7th Dan Jujitsu-(International San Ten Karate Association) (ISKA), certified in shiatsu and a chief instructor of the ASKF. Senior instructor for the Shotokan Karate Dojo
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