Master Gichin Funakoshi - JKA

Master Gichin Funakoshi


Founder of Shotokan Karate

Gichin Funakoshi was born in 1868 and at an early age begin studying martial arts. His masters where Anko Itosu and Yasutsune Azato. It was Funakoshi who gave the name of Karate to this martial art since Kara was the term often used to describe the martial arts of Okinawa and Funakoshi gave it the alternative meaning of "empty" as Te means "hand".

In 1922 Funakoshi was invited to Tokyo to give a demonstration of Karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition Hall, organized by the Ministry of Education. Funakoshi decided to stay in Japan and worked in making Karate part of the educational curriculum in Japan.

Funakoshi enjoyed writing poetry and "Shoto"(pine waves) was the pen name he used. The term for school was "Kan" and those who trained under Master Funakoshi were known as "Shoto-Kan" students.

In 1949 Funakoshi established the Japan Karate Association and remained the head of the JKA until his death in 1957.