The Way of Empty Hands

The kind of Japanese martial art which aims at the development of defensive and counterattacking body movements is popularly known as Karate. Although the overall improvement of the individual is targeted at by the mental and moral aspects of this martial art, their themes basically include fighting and self-defense. Discipline and persistent effort is inevitable for these to be facilitated during the training.
Gichin Funakoshi, (1868-1957) the Okinawan is that great personality who brought karate to Japan in 1922 and is known to be the father of modern karate. He came up with this beautiful maxim that “You never attack first in karate” and this is how exactly karate can be described in a single sentence.
Two kanji (Chinese characters) combine to form single word karate: kara which means empty and te which means hand. Precisely, the meaning of karate is empty hand. The suffix “-do” (pronounced as “daw”) which means “the way/path” is added to karate so as to imply that karate is not merely a martial art but a total way of life, which goes beyond the applications of self-defense applications. It is against himself or herself that a person is supposed to compete and strive, when it comes to traditional karate-do.
Shotokan, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Wado-ryu are the four main styles of karate in Japan at present. Shotokan is considered to be the contribution of Gichin Funakshi although it has not been described as a style by him. Shotokan was Funakoshi’s pen name with which he used to sign his poems written when he was young, and this was later used as a name for his dojo. Linear techniques and deep strong stances are the two main features of Shotokan karate which is taught at the Tulane karate club.
Shotokan is a combination of two different kanji : Shoto which means “pine breeze”and kan which means “the place”. Hence precisely, Shotokan refers to the place of shoto.
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