black belt doing a flying kick on a grey background

Martial arts is a diverse sport and provides a range of styles to choose from. From Karate to Krav Maga, to Kickboxing – there is the right style to fulfill everyone’s preferences. At our Sovereign Martial Arts schools we offer many courses and different styles of martial arts. You can choose whatever you prefer and discover the best choice for you. Today, we’ll take a closer look at Shotokan Karate. Read on to learn more about it!


What is Shotokan Karate?

Shotokan Karate is a weaponless martial art, based on punching, kicking, striking, and blocking. Besides the physical techniques, Shotokan deals a lot with character development and focuses on realizing and expanding one’s potential, limits and capabilities. Therefore, it’s proven to be an excellent method for personal development. In general, Shotokan karate remains a strong tradition and is lifelong training for a healthy mind and body.


rows of young kids with green belts practicing karateHistory

Gichin Funakoshi is considered as the founder of modern karate. He was born in 1868 in Okinawa, Japan and started practicing karate at an early age of only 11 years under two well known masters. After years of dedication and practice, he became a master himself and was asked to demonstrate Karate to the Japanese public for the first time ever. The demonstration was a huge success and therefore he started teaching his art. For Gichin Funakoshi, karate was more than just a martial art. He integrated philosophical aspects to his student’s training and establishes his own style of karate, called Shotokan, in 1936. In the following years Shotokan was influenced and further developed by Ginchin’s son Yoshitaka and Masatoshi Nakayama, the first headmaster of the “Japan Karate Association”. The establishment of the JKA lead the way on spreading Shotokan karate all over the world with the help of Master Masatoshi Nakayama, one of Funakoshi’s first students. Thanks to Nakayama’s vision, Shotokan was spread throughout the world and became known in many countries.


Gichin Funakoshi’s twenty principles 

As a guideline, Gichin Funakoshi drafted 20 principles which are essential for Shotokan karate. These are those principles:


  1. Do not forget that Karate-do begins and ends with rei (respect).
  2. There is no first strike in Karate.
  3. Karate stands on the side of justice.
  4. First know yourself, then know others.
  5. Mentality over technique.
  6. The mind must be set free.
  7. Calamity springs from carelessness.
  8. Karate goes beyond the dojo.
  9. Karate is a lifelong pursuit.
  10. Apply the way of Karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty.
  11. Karate is like boiling water: without heat, it returns to its tepid state.
  12. Do not think winning. Think, rather, of not losing.
  13. Make adjustments according to your opponent.
  14. The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength).
  15. Think of the opponent’s hands and feet as swords.
  16. When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.
  17. Kamae is for beginners; later, one stands in shizentai.
  18. Perform kata exactly; actual combat is another matter.
  19. Do not forget the employment or withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.
  20. Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful in your pursuit of the way.


Start practicing Shotokan at Sovereign Martial Arts kids in blue, yellow, and red belts practicing karate

Shotokan is beneficial if you’re overweight, uncoordinated, inflexible, or lacking self-confidence or self-discipline. If you start training on a regular basis, you’ll see improvement in all these areas. At Sovereign Martial Arts we offer classes for every age group and level. If you’re interested and want to join us, let us know! You can call us, send us an email or a Facebook message. We’re looking forward to getting to know you soon!