Shotokan Karate Dojo

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Shotokan Karate has its origins in Okinawa. Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan, introduced Karate to mainland Japan in 1922. In fact, Shotokan Karate is named after Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi's pen name was Shoto, meaning "Pine Waves" (picture the wind making pine trees wave). Kan means "place" or "home." When students were asked where they trained, they would answer, "At Shoto Kan," meaning, "At Shoto's place." Eventually, this became the name of the style.

Shotokan is known for its linear movements. Shotokan Karate is much more than a form of self defense. It is a discipline which stresses respect for others, calmness, and perfection of character.
Through kata students learn blocks, strikes, kicks, and punches that, when combined, offer a formidable system of self defense. Funikoshi stressed that the use of karate is for self defense. He said, "There is no first attack in karate." This means the karate practitioner never attacks first; Karate is used for defense. Funikoshi also said, "Karate begins and ends with courtesy.

Ranking System of the Shotokan Karate Dojo
In Shotokan, the ranking of belts under black belt are called KYU ranks. The KYU ranks start at 10 and count down to 1. The black belt levels are called DAN ranks. The DAN ranks count from 1 to 10. At the Shotokan Karate Dojo the belt ranking system is as follows:

10th Kyu--White Belt                      1st Dan--1st Degree Black Belt

  9th Kyu--Yellow Belt                     2nd Dan--2nd Degree Black belt

  8th Kyu--Orange Belt

  7th Kyu--Red Belt

  6th Kyu--Blue Belt

  5th Kyu--Purple Belt

  4th Kyu--Green Belt

  3rd Kyu--1st Brown Belt

  2nd Kyu--2nd Brown Belt

  1st Kyu--3rd Brown Belt

Funakoshi's 20 Precepts of Karate

1. Karate-do begins and ends with courtesy.

2. There is no first attack in karate.

3. Karate is an aid to justice.

4. First know yourself before attempting to know others.

5. Spirit first, technique second.

6. Always be ready to release your mind.

7. Accidents arise from negligence.

8. Do not think that karate training is only in the dojo.

9. It will take your entire life to learn karate, there is no limit.

10. Put your everyday living into karate and you will find "Myo" (subtle secrets).

11. Karate is like boiling water, if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool.

12. Do not think that you have to win, think rather that you do not have to lose.

13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from                         invulnerable ones.

14. The outcome of the battle depends on how you handle weakness and strength.

15. Think of your opponents hands and feet as swords.

16. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for              you.

17. Beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body positions are for         the advanced.

18. Practicing a kata exactly is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another.

19. Do not forget to correctly apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching             and contraction of the body, and slowness and speed of techniques.

20. Always think and devise ways to live the precepts of karate-do every day.