When you look at life, think in terms of Karate. But remember that Karate is not only Karate... It is life.
- Gichin Funakoshi
Karate is a striking oriented art comprised of punches, kicks, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand strikes. Some styles incorporate grappling, throws and joint locks. Karate translated "open hand" or originally "chinese hand" (both pronounced Kara-te) was brought from China to the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa) in the 1300's and becoming well established in mainland Japan by the 1920's
Shotokan Karate, a style credited to Gichin Funakoshi in 1939 is divided into three main components: Kihon (fundamentals), Kata (forms) and Kumite (Sparring). Kihon and Kata are characterized by deep, long stances enabling stability, powerful movement and leg strength. Shotokan is a dynamic martial art that develops power, speed and anaerobic capacity.
It is special to note that Shotokan's founder never gave his style the name "Shotokan", he just referred to it as "Karate". "Shoto" meaning "pine waves" was Funakoshi's artistic pen-name. One day Funakoshi's students hung a sign above the dojo entrance bearing the name "Shoto-kan" literally meaning "House of Pine-waves".