The term “Karate” is comprised of the Chinese characters “KARA” and “TE” which combine to mean “empty hand” (Sahota, 1997). Empty hand techniques utilise the student’s body as a controlled weapon (Sahota, 1997) to only be used in self-defence and the defence of others. With an element of uncertainty in its origin due to centuries of secrecy (Marshall, [no date]), it is often assumed to be a Japanese art.
However, the Karate that is commonly used today had a variety of influences, developing over centuries and taking certain teachings from the Chinese martial arts (Marshall, [no date]). Shotokan karate, the do side upon which this syllabus is based, originates from Gichin Funakoshi who is labelled the father of modern day karate (Sahota, 1997). It was Funakoshi who Shotokan was named after, being combined of the words “Shoto” and “kan”. Shoto means waving pines and was Funakoshi’s pen name. Kan simply means house or school. The first Karate school opened by Funakoshi was known as Shoto’s Kan (Shoto’s school), which we now name Shotokan.
The “do” element of karate simply means “way”, more often referred to as way of life. This is the philosophy of the art, the purpose of which is to help each person who studies it develop into a more rounded human being. Jutsu refers to the combat side of the art; the techniques used which are applied to combat in real life situations.
C.J. Sanderson Karate Defence promotes personal safety and self-confidence in real life situations as well as in the dojo. Karate generates a continuing development of the self, building the mind and the body which begin to truly work in motion with each other when you dedicate yourself to the practice of an art. Although there are inevitable benefits from training, it must always be done in conjunction with a positive attitude and a peaceful approach. Never should martial arts be used in situations for the personal benefit of an individual beyond that of protection and training, it is only used as a last resort.
Marshall, S. [no date]. The origins of Karate. [online]. The Culture Trip, Japan
Sahota, G. (1997). The Advanced Shotokan Karate Handbook. Sahota Publishing, Bedford