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R.I.Shotokan Karate-do Shoju-kempo ryu Hombu HQ. NETSKA Affilates

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Martial Art: Karate
Translation: "Empty Hand"

Country of Origin: Japan / Okinawa

Created: 15th Century


In 1470 the Japanese invaded the island of Okinawa (about half way between China and Japan) which at that time belonged to China who had invaded previously. In order to keep the peace a law was passed saying that anyone found carrying a weapon was to be put to death. In order to protect themselves from the marauding bandits and their new masters, both of whom tended not to bother with any laws, the locals with the help of some friendly Zen Buddhist monks created a fighting system that turned the hands and feet of the practitioner into very effective weapons. This empty hand system was called te (hand) and then went on to become t'ang (China hand) because of the influence of Chinese martial arts that crept in. For a few centuries t'ang spread throughout Okinawa and also picked up the name Okinawa-te (Okinawa hand). In 1917 a Mr. Gichin Funakoshi, the grandfather of modern karate, took t'ang to mainland Japan where it has gone on to become one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Of course he decided to change the name to Karate first. For the purists out there he actually took Karate-Jutsu to Japan and then renamed it Karate-Do. After a while the Do part was dropped although all three names still exist today the Do and Jutsu variants are far less common and all three are more or less the same anyway.