Bodidharma was an Indian monk (son of King Sugunda), who in the 6th Century travelled from India to China to set up the first Zen School of Buddhism. He stayed at a shaolin monestery and taught the monks a form of training called Shorinji Kempo or Shaolin fighting, which would train both their minds and bodies in the way of the Buddha.
Kusanku was a skilled Kempo master. He was taught Ch'uan Fa from a Shaolin monk. Kusanku was a Chinese Sifu (Teacher) who immigrated to Okinawa where he served as a chinese Military Attatche. He taught Chinese boxing to Tode Sakugawa. The first record of karate (EMPTY HAND) in Okinawa dates back to the end of the 18th century. It is recorded that in 1761 a chinese man known as Kusanku displayed Chinese boxing to a delighted audience in Okinawa. Kusanku is also known by his chinese name, Kong Su Kung. In some writings, Kusanku is also under various names including Kushanku, Kouh Shang Kouh and Ko Sokan.
NO PHOTO OR KNOWN ACCURATE LIKENESS OF THIS ANCESTOR EXISTS.
Tode Sakugawa (Okinawan)
Tode Skugawa was born in 1733 in Shuri Okinawa and died in 1815 at the age of 82. He came from a samurai family. He was taught by mater Kusanku. Kusanku became his teacher when as a joke he tried to push Kusaku off of a bridge into the river. Kushanku stepped a side with power and speed.
Sakugawa created the kata Kusanku (which we know as Kanku) in honor and memory of his teacher. He combined Ch'uan Fa and Tode which became known as the matial art of Okinawa-te. He is generally acknowledged as the founder of Okinawan martial arts. He was considered a pioneer in the development of karate (EMPTY HAND). Sakugawa is known to have made several trips to china, where he combined Chinese kempo (FIST LAW) with Okinawa Te (OKINAWA HAND). Other important innovations were the Sakugawa Bo Kata (STAFF FORM). Sakugawa is known to have studied the bo (STAFF) in China and later lived in Akata village, Shuri, Okinawa. He taught the use of the bo (STAFF) to his most significant student Sokon "BUSHI" Matsumura.
Sokon 'Bushi' Matsumura (Okinawan)
Okinawan - Matsumura was born in Shuri Okinawa in 1796 and died in 1893. He was a military chief and the teacher of Azato and Itosu. He was the forefather of Shorin Ryu and was the bodyguard for the king. Matsumura began his training in karate-do under the chinese millitary attache "KUSANKU". Matsumura served as chief of the millitary and as court retainer for the king of Ryukyu (OKINAWA) islands. Matsumura originated the kata (form) "CHINTO" and created the karate (EMPTY HAND) style of "SHORIN RYU". Among his noteworthy students were Yasutune Azato, Yasutune Itosu, Chosin Chibara, Choki Motobu and Chotoku Kyan. Matsumura travelled to Fuchou and Satsuma as an envoy on affairs of state. In Fuchou he visited several Chinese boxing schools and studied under millitary attaches. In Satsuma, Matsumura trained in the Jigen Ryu sword fighting system under Master Yashuchiro Ijuin. Bushi was his nickname and means warrior. After retiring, Matsumura taught karate (EMPTY HAND) in Sakiyama village in Shuri, Okinawa.
Yasutune Anko Azato & Yasutune Anko Itosu (Okinawan)
Azato was born in 1828 and died in 1906. He was the advisor to the king & an expert in horse riding, kendo & archery. He was a brilliant swordsman. He taught Shuri-te. Azato became a well known politician and had position of 'Minister of state'.
Itosu was born in 1830 and died in 1915. He was the secretary to the king of Ryukyu. He had superior strength in his arms, legs and hands. He created the heian katas. Itosu taught Naha-te.
Gitchin Funakoshi (Okinawan)
Funakoshi was born in 1868 and died in 1957. He was a qualified school teacher and also a medical student. Known as the modern day father of karate. He established karate in Japan by performing it to the emporer and the prince and created his own style of karate called Shotokan. He devised the Dojo Kun and ranking system and formed the JKA (Japanese Karate Association).
Masatoshi Nakayama (Japanese)
Nakayama was born in Yamaguchi in Japan in1913 and died in 1987 in Tokyo at the age of 74, as a 10th Dan. He studied in depth about the human body, anatomy and psychology. He was a Kendo master before he took up karate and became the chief instructor of the JKA from 1955 until his death.
Kanazawa & Enoeda (Japanese)
Kanazawa was born in Iwate Japan in 1931. He is the only person to have won the 'All Japan Karate Championships' 3 times, even with a broken wrist. Originally learnt Judo but took up karate at university under Nakayama. Awarded 10th Dan in Bali 2000. Died 9th December 2019 aged 88.
Enoeda was born on the island of Kyushu in Japan in 1935 and died in 2003. He was awarded his 9th Dan after he died. His nick name was Tora (Tiger) and was head of the KUGB. Enoeda is said to be the one to bring karate to Britain with the JKA World Tour Team, which included Kanazawa.
Michael Randall (English)
English - Michael Randall was born in 1944 and began Shotokan Karate under Jimmy Neal and Terry Wingrove in 1964, after applying for a place in their class. He is one of the very few people still training who has been taught by Masters Murakami and Mochizuki. As an original disciple of Master Kanazawa, he was the 4th person in Britain to obtain a black belt, by Sensei Kanazawa in 1967. Randall was very well known for being one of the seven Samurai and his kumite fighting where he represented Great Britain against the Japanese. He was given the position of joint chief instructor of ESKA in 1979 but then left in 1984 to create his own acssociations (SKA and STKO). He currently holds the rank of 9th Dan. Died 11th June 2000 aged 76.
Michael Nursey (English)
English - Michael Nursey was born in 1949 and his interest in martial arts began at the age of 14, practising Judo. He started training in Shotokan Karate in 1967 under Sensei Enoeda. After fourth Kyu, he continued under Senseis Kanazawa, Asano and Randall and became Sensei Randall's first black belt, awarded by Master Kanazawa in 1971. Throughout the 1970's he toured the UK and Europe competing against the top teams in the World in Kata and Kumite.
In 1998 along with Sensei Randall and Dr Clive Layton he produced and co wrote "THE SHOTOKAN BOOK OF FACTS I", which was followed a year later with "THE SHOTOKAN BOOK OF FACTS II & III".
He is an England Referee and is one of the first NVQ City & Guilds qualified Assessors in Karate.
Sensei Nursey is Chief Instructor to the English Shotokan Karate Association & currently holds rank of 8th Dan.
Sarah Fullarton & George Fullarton (English)
Sensei Sarah Fullarton was born in 1981 and started karate at the age of 9 years old, in December 1990. She began as a white belt at Stevenage Barnwell club under Sensei Mike Nursey, with ESKA. Moving to various clubs including Collinswood and Hitchin. When the Hitchin club closed down she moved to the Sandy club, before finally returning to the Hombu in Stevenage.
Sensei Sarah gained her black belt at the age of 15 and passed the adult grading exam. She went on to becoming a qualified Instructor and Competition Judge. Sarah began teaching karate at the age of 14 and finally opened her first club jointly with her father in Baldock in 1996, as an intermediate black belt.
Sarah has attended many courses and seminars in the past including with instructors including Kanazawa, Randall and Ticky Donovan.
Sensei Sarah has entered and won many karate tournaments in the past, especially in individual and team kata. Sarah has also performed in many outside tournaments, including the Nationals at Crystal Palace. She gained her 6th Dan (Rokudan) in 2017 with the CMAA and is registered on the National Black Belt Register. Sensei Sarah is qualified in teaching child education and also sport and recreation. She is first aid trained and has a keen interest in technical kata and detail.
She jointly established the association of ZOKU in October 2010 and is currently Joint Chief Instructor.
Sensei George was born in 1956 and started karate in 1992 at the Hitchin dojo under ESKA, with Sensei Paul Raymond. He decided to keep his daughter Sarah company, as she was going through a difficult stage. Once the Hitchin club closed George moved to the Sandy dojo with Mike Nursey and then finally to the Stevenage Hombu dojo.
George passed his Black belt in May 1996 at the age of 40 under ESKA and received his 6th Dan (Rokudan) in November 2017, with the CMAA and is registered on the National Black Belt Register
George jointly opened the Baldock club in April 1996 with his daughter...both intermediate black belts. The club grew rapidly and within a year, was operating on two separate nights.
George has trained has attended courses and seminars with many instructors in the past including Kanazawa, Randall and Ticky Donovan. Sensei George has entered many karate tournaments over the years, especially in individual and team kata, with Sensei Sarah. Sensei George is first aid trained and has a keen interest in Kata Bunkai and self defence. He jointly established the association of ZOKU in October 2010 and is currently Joint Chief Instructor.
Karate & Shotokan History
Who Invented Martial Arts?
We do not know exactly when martial arts evolved or where it came from, as there is no written history to back it up. Fighting techniques can probably date back as far as the stone age. When man found himself weaponless and had to fight over territory, women or food. He must have derived a method to win these battles, over time.
We do know that in the 6th century an Indian monk named Dharma (Bodidharma), travelled from Asia to China, with the aim to establish the first Zen School of Buddhism. He finally settled in a Shaolin monestery in the mountains, where he began teaching the monks who lived there. The monks were very weak and found any type of physical exercise too exhausting. So Dharma devised a teaching method which trained both their minds and bodies. This became known as Shorinji Kempo or Shaolin Fighting (Type of boxing).
Where in the world did it start?
The area we know as Okinawa (Just off of the coast Japan) used to be called the Ryukyu Islands and were separated into 100's of separate islands. We are going to talk about three in particular (Chuzan, Nanzan & Hokuzan). In 1429, after many wars with each other, the 3 islands were united under one Fudual lord called King Hassai. He decided to ban all weapons to stop all the tension. In 1477 King Sho Shin took over and kept the no weapons law. All was fine until 1609, when a small group of people started to rebel (Satsuma Clan), so the king at that time called King Shimazu made a one off weaponed army to fight these people. Eventually after many battles the kings army won and so he reissued the banning of the weapons but with firmer restrictions. He even banned agricultural tools as they were being used as weapons (eg Bo, Staff, sickles & Nunchuku.) Ryukyunians began learning fighting methods in secret and at night and eventually designed a fighting method which only used the hands and feet as weapons. This became known as Okinawa-te. Due to the trade with China the fighting methods intergrated and when it returned to China, it became known as Kara-te, which at that time translated as Chinese Hand.
Two very important Ryukyunians who grew up learning this martial art in secret were Azato and Itosu.
In 1868 Gichin Funakoshi was born and was very weak as a child / baby because he was born premature. Luckily he went to school with the son of Azato and was soon being taught in secret and at night by Azato himself. He was later also joined by a 2nd teacher (Itosu).
When Funakoshi grew up he became a school teacher and one day decided to give a demonstration in the school that he taught at, even though it was still against the law. It was so successful that soon his form of self defence (Known as okinawa-te at that time) became a lesson in all schools over Okinawa.
He later (1912) decided to travel to Japan and gave a demonstration on a Japanese Navy fleet on the way over. The people on board were so impressed they told Funakoshi to show it all again when he got to Japan. When he got there he performed a private demonstration for the Emporer (1917) and the Prince (1921), he was then asked to properly establish it in Japan. So in the same year Funakoshi returned home and resigned his job as teacher and then went back to Japan, where he performed in his first offical demonstration to the Japanese public in Tokyo. He started getting followers and interest, so he held the first official karate lesson in 1922 in a hall called the 'KODOKAN' which was a judo hall.
In 1924 Funakoshi's karate hall (Mesei Juku used for various martial arts) was almost destroyed in an earthquake and for a while he held his classes in a friend Nakayama's Kendo hall. The Meisei Juku was finally confirmed as unusable and his classes were getting too big for this friends hall.
Behind Funakoshi's back a group of supporters were building him his very own purpose built karate dojo and named it after Funakoshi's pen name (Shoto). The hall had a plaque above the door saying 'Shotokan' meaning Hall of the waving pines. This is when Funakoshi decided to call his style of karate, Shotokan. He also then created 'the dojo kun' which were karate rules and also Kyu and Dan which are the belt system we still use today. As he was in Japan he realised the martial art could not be called Kara-te meaning Chinese hand or okinawa-te meaning okinawa hand. He soon took the Chinese character that was used to signify "Chinese hand," as karate was known, and adapted it to mean "empty hand.", because this martial art was for everyone now to learn (not just Okinawa or China) and it also showed the fighting with no weapons.
The JKA (Japanese Karate Association)
The Japan Karate Association (JKA) was established by Funakoshi in 1944, so that all his clubs, schools and university clubs from all over Japan could all be associated under one organisation, all following the same teachings. Funakoshi was the chief instructor of this. There started to be disputes after a while about whether teachers should be paid and in 1955 there was a split. Groups of instructors and students broke away and formed their own type of karate. There was now Funakoshi's Shotokan and another called Shotokai. Shotokai decided to make karate into a sport with fighting and competition and this was against Funakoshi's principles and teachings. Because of all this, Funakoshi stood down as Chief Instructor and gave this position to his best friend Nakayama, Funakoshi was now the honory chief instructor. Funakoshi died a few years later (1957).
Sensei Masatoshi Nakayama
Sensei Nakayama was born in 1913. He studied Kendo in great detail and was the man who let Funakoshi use his kendo hall when his own dojo was dimolished. After finishing univercity he went to China to study the Chinese language and also other types of martial arts, at the age of 19. After 11 years he returned to Japan where he started training under Master Funakoshi privately in 1931, every day. He was known as the Master's master. He became the chief Instructor of the JKA when Funakoshi stood down and was very concerned about competition karate taking over. Sensei Nakayama has been credited for the ushiro geri (back kick) and gyaku mawashi geri (reverse roundhouse kick) as well as taking karate abroad and explaining martial arts to Westerners. He mainly taught in an American army base in Japan but later started teaching in universities. While he was in China he studied anatomy and Physiology and passed this on in his teaching (bones, muscles) until the day he died. He has published many books including the very famous 'Dynamic karate'. He passed away in April 1987 aged 74 as a 10th Dan. At one of Nakayama's karate clubs he began teaching 2 men, Kanazawa in 1952 and Enoeda in 1953.
Master Hirokasu Kanazawa & Master Keinokuke Enoeda
Kanazawa was born in May 1931. Before he started training under Sensei Nakayama (1951) he reached the grade of 2nd Dan in Judo. He was one of the 3 JKA instructors who qualified from the famous JKA instructors Training course in 1956 and won the 1957 Kumite championships (the first year it was held) with a broken hand. He won both the kata and kumite events the next year, so became known as Grand Champion. After teaching in Hawaii in 1961 he returned to form the SKI (Shotokan Karate International) alongside Sensei Asano. Kanazawa was also responsible for helping with the World Tour team, that saw karate come to Britain. He is also the only person alive today who is able to selectively break a chosen board in a stack of about 10 boards (leaving the others unbroken). He is currently 10th Dan and is the only living shotokan karateka with such grade of this in the world.
Master Enoeda was born in July 1935 and was of samurai lineage. By the age of 16 he was 2nd Dan in Judo and then began training in karate in 1953 where he was awarded his blackbelt in 1955. After working in the film industry, he became an instructor for the JKA and then started his competition career. He won the kumite JKA category in 1963 after which he went to Indonesia on a teaching tour with Master Nakayama. He is said to be the man who brought karate to Britain. In 1965 he visited the Uk with the World tour team and after visits to other countries he returned to the Uk, to set up home in Liverpool., where he taught at the Red Triangle Dojo. He was a founding member of the KUBGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) and then moved to live in Surrey. His nickname was Tora (the Tiger) and died in 2003 as a 9th Dan.
JKA World Tour Team
These two men (Kanazawa & Enoeda) brought karate to Britain in 1965 with the JKA world Tour team. They spent a long while in Germany before coming to the UK. Karate was already being practised in Britain (Vernon Bell) but this was not Shotokan Karate. This was the first ever demonstration and lesson by the JKA instructors, performing Shotokan karate. Kanazawa decided to stay on in Britain and formed the first British Shotokan Association, K.U.G.B (Karate Union of Great Britain) in 1967. A few years later he decided he wanted to return home, so left some of him loyal students to take charge.
Vernon Bell was born in 1922 and was a professional Judo instructor. In 1955 he started to study Yoseiken Karate under Henri Plee and later Mochizuki, Nam and Murakami. He started training a few students in England in 1956 and these were the first students of karate in Great Britain. He was awarded his 1st Dan in Paris in 1957 and 2nd Dan in 1959 by Murakami. He formed the BKF (British Karate Federation) in 1957 and training was in Essex.
ESKA (English Shotokan Karate Association)
Sensei Kanazawa held many classes and had many important students, including Sensei Michael Randall and Eddie Whitcher. Kanazawa soon decided to return home to Japan, so he left these 2 senior instructors to form an association for him known as E.S.K.A (English Shotokan Karate Association), in 1979. He made them the 2 chief instructors of the association. At the beginning there were other instructors helping to form the association: Michael Nursey, Roger hall, Harry Jones (died 1990), John Van Weenen (formed own association), Mick Billman (formed own association) and Greg Durant (formed own association).
Sensei Michael Randall
Michael Randall was born in 1944 and began Shotokan Karate under Jimmy Neal and Terry Wingrove in 1964, after applying for a place in their class. He is one of the very few people still training who has been taught by Masters Murakami and Mochizuki. As an original disciple of Master Kanazawa, he was the 4th person in Britain to obtain a black belt by Sensei Kanazawa in 1967. Randall was very well known for being one of the seven Samurai and his kumite fighting where he represented Great Britain against the Japanese. He was given the position of joint chief instructor of ESKA in 1979 but then left in 1984 to create his own associations (SKA and STKO). He was awarded with an MBE from the queen in 2003 for services to karate. He died 11th June 2020 as 9th Dan.
Eddie Whitcher was born in 1941 and had a big interest in Judo. He then started karate and was soon the first person in the UK to obtain his 1st Dan by Sensei Kanazawa in 1966. He went to Japan for 3 years and then became the first Britain to receive his 3rd Dan from the JKA in 1971. He helped form ESKA in 1979 (joint chief instructor) but then left in 1981 because he was bored with associations. He decided to train alone and died of cancer in 1990 aged only 48.
Mike Nursey with ESKA
Michael Nursey (9th Dan) is the current chief instructor of ESKA.
Sensei Sarah Fullarton / Sensei George Fullarton with ZOKU
Sensei Sarah started Shotokan with ESKA in 1990 and Sensei George in 1992. They both gained their 1st Dan Blackbelts in May 1996 with ESKA and finally their 6th Dans through the CMAA on November 2017.
With 3 large established clubs in Baldock, they broke away in October 2010 from the association of ESKA and established their own association called ZOKU Shotokan Karate.
ZOKU was chosen as the name of their new association, as it represented the family values and the team spirit they create amongst the teachers and students. Zoku means ‘family’. Along with their 3 Baldock Clubs, comes the Symonds Green Club.
In ZOKU, Sensei George and Sarah are the Chief Instructors, while Sensei Alan (5th Dan) is the Senior instructor/Examiner.
All 3 instructors are the highest Level 1 qualified, under the Martial Arts Instructor UK Programme, first aid trained, fully insured and are governed by CMAA, as their governing Body. They are also members of MASA (Martial Arts Standards Agency).
Why did Funakoshi hate freestyle?
Karate was only used for defence purposes and not attacking. In karate there should be no first attack!!!......so therefore performing freestyle, someone had to make the first move. Freestyle only came about because Funakoshi broke down his kata (Bunkai) and pairing up had to occur for students to work through the bunkai.
Why did Funakoshi use Shoto as his pen name?
He used this name to sign his poems with, which means Pine Waves. Where he lived in Shuri, the castle was surrounded by hills and forests filled with Ryukyu pines. At night there was always a breeze and he could hear the rustle of the pines, as he walked for some solitude and time alone. People knew him by the name Shoto, more than his real name Funakoshi.
Why did Funakoshi give Shotokan the symbol of the tiger?
1) The tiger was chosen because the animal has attributes used in karate. The tiger is seen to have grace, bearing, nobility and power. It is a creature that is greatly respected and in some cases..worshiped.
2) Tiger tail is the name of the mountain Funakoshi used to walk over every night
3) Funakoshi's first book was called 'Tora No maki' which is also a Japanese expression which also translates as tiger (Tora).
Why is there a problem in finding out Funakoshi's age?
According to officials & records: He was born in 1870 and died 1957....making him about 87. The month of Funakoshi's birth is not known...even Funakoshi did not know. Although, it is recorded elsewhere and at the time of death...that his birth month was November.
According to Funakoshi: Born in Shuri in 1868 and refers to himself as being in his 90th year....making him 89. Funakoshi falsified the official documents so that he would be allowed to sit entrance exams to a Tokyo medical school. To sit the exams you had to have been born in 1870 or after, so he tampered with the records, so he would fall under this catagory.
How many schools and styles were there in the beginning?
In China there was 2 schools of Shaolin boxing (Kenpo) called Shorin-ryu and Shorei-ryu
Shorin - techniques suited to people with a smaller frame and less strength needed. It had the advantage of mobility and fast movement
Shorei - techniques suited to people with larger bodies and bigger muscles. It taught more effective self defence
Name some other styles of karate today?
Shotokai, Chinto-ryu, Shuri-ryu, Goju-ryu, Wado-ryu, Isshin-ryu, Kyokushinkai, Shorin-ryu, Uechi-ryu, Yoshukai Kenpo