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The History of Karate

Aug 18, 2007
The complete history of Karate is unclear, many people argue over its true origins. It is safe to say, however, that the very first inception of it was in Okinawa. Although some people consider Okinawa and Japan to be the same entity, during the time of Karate's creation, the two were separate. It was actually much later after Karate had become popular in Okinawa that it became popular in Japan. It began as a form of martial arts known as ti and was practiced widely by the royal and influential people of Okinawa. Ti was not a set art form however, with each different area it was practiced in, it took on influences of the culture and people there. Many Okinawans developed their own personal styles of Ti by adding or taking away moves and techniques (which are also called kata according to their own tastes.

During this time, distinguished members of the Okinawan society regularly visited China to learn various art forms and disciplines. As a result, Okinawan's integrated a form of Chinese kung-fu (this form was considered more open-handed) and the ti began to take on the form of modern Karate as we know it today. Even in recent years, however, there is not much delineation between styles of Karate similar to the roots of the ti which also had very little delineation between styles.

In 1806, a man by the name of Tode Sakukawa began teaching one of these forms of fighting in a city known as Shuri. Having been one of the first ones to start teaching a form of fighting with roots in Okinawa, he christened his style Karate-no-Sakukawa and modern it began to take shape. Tode Sakukawa's efforts in the city of Shuri is actually the first written record of the martial art Karate.

Karate quickly took to popularity, and many of Tode Sakukawa's original students began teaching their own adapted styles to students of their own. Sokon Matsumara is considered Tode Sakukawa's most prominent student, and he adapted his own style by incorporating techniques found in the ti and Shaolin art forms. Sokon Matsumara then taught his style (which became known as the Shorin-ryu and is still used today) to a man by the name of Anko Itosu. Anko Itosu is often called the Grandfather of Karate and taught many prominent figures today. He developed many skills for beginners and also developed his own style in which he brought to Japan.

It was after Karate was brought to Japan that it began to gain extreme popularity. With the help of men such as Gichin Funakoshi and Ohtsuka Hinonori, Karate began to take on a more modern form. Ohtsuka Hinonori blended techniques from several forms of martial arts, including Aikido, Judo, Kendo, and Jujutsu. This particular form was a more fluid and energetic martial art and because of this, took on more fighting and sparring (this is called Kumite. This form, is perhaps the closest to modern Karate as we know it today. Many people today continue to practice Karate, even though it has come a long way from its original inception in Okinawa.
About the Author
James Dunn owns and opperates Martial Arts Tutor
Visit Karate Lessons for more information about Karate or Judo Lessons to learn about Judo.
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