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Karate, as we know it today, has a long history. Throughout the years it has been influenced and shaped by many people and developed thanks to these great martial artists. Therefore, this article is in honor of some of the greatest historical masters of karate from Okinawa, the city karate was born. The greatest martial artists of karate are defined by their influence, their skills and knowledge and other characteristics such as innovative thinking and leadership skills. Read on to learn about three masters of the craft.


Satunuku “Tode” SakugawaSatunuku “Tode” Sakugawa 

Satunuku “Tode” Sakugawa is one of the first masters living in Okinawa, Japan. At the age of 17, he began practicing martial arts with a monk named Peichin Takahara as his teacher. After 6 years Satunuku was advised by his teacher to go and see a Chinese master in Kung-Fu to develop further. While training under the Chinese master in the following years he soaked up everything he could, learned many valuable lessons and finally became a great master himself. Tode Sakugawa was an important part of the development of Karate in Okinawa and created Dojo Kun, which is now a tradition in diverse styles such as Karate-Do or Genbu-Kai.


Yasutsune “Ankoh” Itosu Yasutsune “Ankoh” Itosu

Yasutsune started practicing martial arts at the age of 16 years old under well-known teachers in Okinawa, Japan. He dedicated his life to karate and managed to make it part of the public school curricula at the time. He was known for his physical strength, his strong will, and his talent to pass his knowledge onto his students. Itosu had several important students when he was a master. Many of them went on to create different styles of karate. Gichin Funakoshi, for example, is the founder of Shotokan! In general, Yasutsune is remembered as a master who strongly supported his students and taught them everything they needed to succeed in their journies.


Gichin FunakoshiGichin Funakoshi 

Gichin Funakoshi, born in 1868 in Okinawa, Japan, is known as the founder of modern karate, commonly known as Shotokan. He strongly believed karate was way more than just a sport and had the ability to transform practitioners into better people overall. He connected karate with philosophy and brought the sport into a new direction. Funakoshi taught his system at many different universities and created twenty principles as a guideline for his students which are still followed. Ginchin Funakoshi died in 1957 as a fifth dan in karate, the highest rank you could achieve at that time.


Start practicing karate 

Karate is way more than just a sport. With its history of traditions and its philosophical aspect, it does not only help to develop strength but also a positive mindset. We honor the great karate masters and are proud to pass the knowledge on to our students at Sovereign Martial Arts. Want to become a part of this experience? Give us a call or send us an email or a Facebook message and join us in one of our schools in Raway, Belleville, or Howell!