What is Shotokan Karate?
The "Father of Modern Karate," Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957), was the founder of Shotokan Karate, starting the first dojo in Okinawa, a prefecture of Japan. His students named the dojo "Shotokan" though he never named his teaching Shotokan. The name derives from Funakoshi's pen-name "Shoto" meaning "pine-waves" (the movement of pine needles when the wind blows through them) and "Kan" which means house.
Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring). Techniques in kihon and kata are characterised by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs. Shotokan is regarded as a dynamic martial art as it develops anaerobic, powerful techniques as well as developing speed.