Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957), the founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, is often credited as being the “father” of modern karate. Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shōrei-ryū and Shōrin-ryū – see Karate-Do My Way of Life and refer to the table below.
In addition to being a karate master, Funakoshi was an avid poet and philosopher who would reportedly go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry. Following the teachings of Anko Itosu and Anko Asato, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1922. In 1930, Funakoshi established an association named Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai. The association is known today as the Shotokai. He taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association when it was established in 1949. Let’s take a closer look at his legacy and the insights he left behind for those who train in karate and wish to use it as a mechanism for growing and developing physically, mentally and spiritually.