History Of Shotokan

GichinFunakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shōrei-ryū and Shōrin-ryū. After years of study in both styles, Funakoshi created a simpler system that combined the ideals of the two.[5] He never named this system, however, always referring to it simply as “karate.” Funakoshi’s karate reflects the changes made in the art by Ankō Itosu, including the Heian/Pinan kataseries. Funakoshi changed the names of some of the kata in an effort to make the Okinawan kata names easier to pronounce in the Japanese Honshū dialect.


In 1924, Funakoshi adopted the Kyū / Dan rank system and the uniform (keikogi) developed by Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo.[18] This system uses colored belts (obi) to indicate rank. Originally, karate had only three belt colors: white, brown, and black (with ranks within each). The original belt system, still used by many Shotokan schools, is:

  • 8th rising to 4th kyū: white
  • 3rd rising to 1st kyū: brown
  • 1st and higher dan: blackprotege-clipart-karate_kick-950

Funakoshi awarded the first 1st dan (初段; shodan) Shotokan karate ranks to Tokuda, Hironori Ōtsuka (Otsuka), Akiba, Shimizu, Hirose, Makoto Gima, and Shinyō Kasuya on 10 April 1924.

Trimdon/Thornley