Showing Tag: "karate" (Show all posts)

Tatsuya Naka

Posted by on Saturday, June 3, 2023, In : Photography 

Tatsuya Naka – 7th Dan in Shotokan karate

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Gigo Funakoshi

Posted by on Sunday, January 31, 2021, In : Photography 

Yoshitaka “Gigo” Funakoshi, who helped with the development of Shotokan karate along side his father, Gichin Funakoshi.

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Mabuni Kenwa Kata Application

Posted by on Thursday, March 26, 2020, In : Photography 

An image from Mabuni Kenwa's book; Karate Do Nyumon, (1938) showing Taira Shinken and Mabuni Kenwa demonstrating kata applications.


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Keinosuke Enoeda - Unsu

Posted by on Friday, July 27, 2018, In : Photography 

Keinosuke Enoeda, former Chief Instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain, performing the kata unsu. 

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Hienori Otsuka

Posted by on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, In : Photography 

Hienori Otsuka - Founder of Wado-Ryu Karate

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Hirokazu Kanazawa

Posted by on Friday, March 9, 2018, In : Photography 

Hirokazu Kanazawa 

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Kenwa Mabuni

Posted by on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, In : Photography 

Kenwa Mabuni founder of Shito-Ryu karate, photographed in 1938.

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Jumping Spinning Back Kick - Unsu

Posted by on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, In : Photography 

Mikazuki geri (crescent kick) flowing into sempu geri (jumping whirlwind kick) and ending with fuse no shisei (going to ground position) from the kata Unsu.

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Gichin Funakoshi - Gankaku

Posted by on Monday, January 15, 2018, In : Photography 

Sensei Gichin Funakoshi performing the characteristic crane-like technique from the kata Gankaku.


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Karate Kick

Posted by on Sunday, January 17, 2016, In : Photography 

A karateka breaking bricks with a front kick.

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Winter Training with Mas Oyama

Posted by on Saturday, September 12, 2015, In : Photography 

Mas Oyama, founder of Kyokushin karate, leading his students in some winter training.

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Old School Shotokan Karate

Posted by on Sunday, August 30, 2015, In : Video 

Elwyn Hall, George Best, Ronnie Christopher and Gary Harford show their karate skills in this old school Shotokan video.
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Luca Valdesi Unsu Gif

Posted by on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, In : Gifs 

Luca Valdesi (Taken from Unsu)

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Tekki Shodan - Gichin Funakoshi

Posted by on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, In : Photography 

Still photos of Gichin Funakoshi taken while performing Tekki Shodan.

More photos of Sensei Funakoshi performing Tekki Shodan
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Drink Alcohol and Pursue Fun

Posted by on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, In : Proverbs & Quotes 

“It is necessary to drink alcohol and pursue other fun human activities. The art of
someone who is too serious has no flavor.”

~ Choki Motobu ~
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The History of Kihon Kata

Posted by on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, In : Video 

An instructional video of kihon kata by Sensei Masao Kawasoe.

Kihon (basic form) is the most elementary of all the shotokan kata. Invented by Sensei Gichin Funakoshi as an easy introduction to kata and karate itself, it is made up of only two moves, gedan bari (lower block) and oi tsuki (lunge punch). Kihon kata, also known as Taikyoku Shodan, is a part of a set of basic kata that Funakoshi introduced, though in shotokan only the first is now taught and even that has now disappeared from the...
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Heian Sandan - Gichin Funakoshi

Posted by on Friday, May 1, 2015, In : Photography 

Still photos of Gichin Funakoshi taken while performing Heian Sandan.

More kata photos
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The Essence of Transformation

Posted by on Sunday, April 5, 2015, In : Proverbs & Quotes 

"Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation."

~ Ann Voskamp ~

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The History of the Heian Kata

Posted by on Friday, January 30, 2015, In : Video 

The Heian (peaceful mind) kata are derived from the older Okinawan Pinan kata (which also means peaceful or calm mind). Sensei Gichin Funakoshi changed the name of these and many other Shotokan kata when he took karate to Japan in the early 1920s in a bid to make them more accessible to a Japanese consumer base. An interesting karate history fact is that the kata we know today as Heian Nidan was originally the first of the Heian kata until in the 1930s, Funakoshi switched Nidan with Shodan. ...
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Sosai Masutatsu 'Mas' Oyama

Posted by on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, In : Photography 

The legendary Sosai Masutatsu 'Mas' Oyama, founder of kyokushin karate.

Images via
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The History of the Tekki Kata

Posted by on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, In : Video 
The Tekki (Iron Horse) kata originally came from the Okinawan style of karate known as Shuri-te and were derived from one longer form called Naihanchi (Internal Divided Conflict) that was revised and split into three through  Anko Itosu’s teachings.

Gichin Funakoshi performing Tekki Shodan

Some scholars believe he actually invented Tekki Nidan and Sandan, but as only Tekki Shodan has a formal opening, they were probably derived from one kata. It is believed that Itosu learned Naihanchi from ...
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The History of the Bassai Kata

Posted by on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : Video 

The Bassai (To Penetrate a Fortress) kata are believed to have been designed to complement each other as the first, Bassai Dai, (Dai means major/large) represents getting into a fortress and the second, Bassai Sho, (Sho means minor/small) represents getting out again.There are many versions of these kata practiced in various styles and while the origins within martial arts history are obscure, there is a 400 year old silk drawing which supposedly depicts an early version of Bassai Dai. 

Some h...

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A Poem by Tei Junsoku

Posted by on Sunday, April 6, 2014, In : Proverbs & Quotes 

No matter how you may excel in the art of te,
And in your scholastic endeavors,
Nothing is more important than your behavior
And your humanity as observed in daily life.

A poem by the seventeenth century Okinawan scholar Tei Junsoku
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The History of Empi

Posted by on Friday, March 14, 2014, In : Video 

The origins of the kata Empi (Flight of the Swallow) are unclear though there are three main theories on how it came into being;
  1. Empi was, according to some sources, originally brought to Okinawa from China in 1683 by an envoy named Wang Ji, an expert in Shaolin Fujian White Crane.
  2. Others suggest it was brought to the island with the arrival of a group of Chinese immigrants known as the Thirty-Six Families. Their appearance in the late 14th century changed the history of fighting on Okinaw...

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Jumping Side Kick

Posted by on Monday, March 10, 2014, In : Gifs 
Flying side kick on Make A Gif

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Keep it Simple

Posted by on Friday, January 24, 2014, In : Gifs 

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When I Was a Young Man - Keinosuke Enoeda

Posted by on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, In : Proverbs & Quotes 

"When I was a young man, many people blocked with their face".

~ Keinosuke Enoeda ~
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The History of Wankan

Posted by on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, In : Video 

Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda performing Wankan.

Wankan (Kings Crown) is also known as Ohkan (which means the same thing in Japanese). The history of all the Shotokan kata is hazy at best and this applies doubly for Wankan as not much at all is known about its origins. 

In some styles there is another kata practiced that shares the name but has totally different moves to the Wankan of Shotokan, which may suggest that they are both only a portion of a longer, lost original kata. If this is the case, ...
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The History of Hangetsu

Posted by on Thursday, October 31, 2013, In : Video 

Takayuki Mikami perofming Hangetsu.

Hangetsu (Half Moon) is possibly the oldest kata in the whole art of karate. Formally known as Seishan, it came through the Naha-te school though its origins are unknown. One theory is that the kata was formed from a Chinese folk dance, which aimed to explain to the onlooker the importance of the tides.

The original name, Seishan, means Thirteen which may be in reference to the thirteen day intervals as the moon revolves around the earth. However a more like...
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The History of Jion

Posted by on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, In : Video 

Hirokazu Kanazawa performing Jion

The origins of the kata Jion (Mercy) is highly debated by scholars of world martial arts. It starts with the left hand covering the right fist, kamae that probably has its roots in Chinese boxing. It is thought to have come through the Tomari-te style of Okinawan karate, however according to the legendary Hirokazu Kanazawa (above), the kata originated in the Chinese Buddhist Jion Temple (where the monks were accomplished martial artists) and then spread to the...
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Mas Oyama Makiwara Training

Posted by on Monday, August 19, 2013, In : Photography 

A young Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama training on a makiwara board c.1954.
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The History of Ji'in

Posted by on Friday, July 19, 2013, In : Video 

Hirokazu Kanazawa performing Ji'in

Ji’in (Inverted mercy) is no longer accepted as a kata of the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) and along with Wankan, was not included in the ‘Best Karate’ series by Masatoshi Nakayama, which is widely seen as a definitive guide to Shotokan kata. Despite this, many associations still teach it and many instructors feel the kata has a lot to offer their students.

The origins of Ji’in are obscure though as it shares the same Yoi position as Jion and Jitt...
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Mas Oyama - Fighting a Bull

Posted by on Thursday, July 18, 2013, In : Photography 

Sensei Mas Oyama, who had 52 fights with bulls, killing 3 outright and cutting off the horns of the rest with his knife hand strike.
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Eisuke Akamine and Taira Shinken

Posted by on Sunday, July 14, 2013, In : Photography 

Master Eisuke Akamine (left) and Master Taira Shinken training with traditional Okinawan
karate weapons, the bo staff and the tonfa respectively.

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The History of Jitte

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2013, In : Video 

Jitte, performed by sensei Imura Takenori with application from Masatoshi Nakayama

Jitte literally means Ten Hands and the name may imply that one must have the strength of ten men, which is how Masatoshi Nakayama interpreted it in his book, Best Karate, Volume 7, (seen by many as a definitive guide to Shotokan kata). An alternative theory is that the name may derive from the raised fists hand position from within the kata, which is said to looks similar to a type of Sai known as a Jitte that ...
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Chojun Miyagi & Juhatsu Kyoda

Posted by on Sunday, June 9, 2013, In : Photography 

A young Chojun Miyagi and Juhatsu Kyoda practising what appears to be an
application of the Okinawan kata Saifa.

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Sensei Chojun Miyagi Teaching Goju Ryu Students

Posted by on Thursday, May 30, 2013, In : Photography 

Sensei Chojun Miyagi (far right) teaching his students Goju Ryu karate c.1929 in Okinawa.
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Karate Sweep

Posted by on Sunday, May 19, 2013, In : Gifs 

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The History of Sochin

Posted by on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Video 

Sochin (Tranquil Force) may have its origins in martial arts history in Dragon Style Kung Fu and then later come through the Naha-te school in Okinawa, where it was taught by Seisho Arakaki. According to legend, Higaonna Kanryo learned it from him then passed it down to Kenzo Mabuni, the founder of Shito-Ryu.

Mabuni is said to have spent some time instructing Gichin Funakoshi’s son, Yoshitaka in the art of kata and as a result of these instructions, the Shotokan syllabus gained not only S...
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The History of Nijushiho

Posted by on Friday, February 22, 2013, In : Video 

Nijushiho being performed by Tetsuhiko Asai (1935 – 2006)

Nijushiho (Twenty-four steps) is of unknown origins though some scholars believe that like Sochin, it originally comes from the Chinese Dragon style of fighting. Others believe the kata was created by the 19th century Okinawan master Seisho Arakaki, who may have also invented Sochin and Unsu.

The Okinawan name, Niseishi, was changed by Gichin Funakoshi however both mean the same thing. Whenever it was created, its development fo...
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Gichin Funakoshi - Shuto Uke

Posted by on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, In : Photography 

Gichin Funakoshi executing a shuto uke (knife hand block)

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The History of Gankaku

Posted by on Monday, January 28, 2013, In : Video 

Gankaku, as performed by JKA Chief instructor Masaaka Ueki (1939 – Present)

Gankaku Gankaku (Crane on a Rock) is a very old kata that was originally named Chinto (Fighter/Battle to the East), until it was changed by Gichin Funakoshi. In this case the change was brought about not only to make it more acceptable to the Japanese, but to remove any connotations of war the name might have as a result of Master Funakoshi’s pacifist beliefs. He also made modifications to the kata, changing its...
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The History of Meikyo

Posted by on Friday, December 7, 2012, In : Video 

Meikyo (Bright/Polished Mirror) was renamed by Gichin Funakoshi (above) from its original name, Rohai meaning ‘Vision of a Crane’ (though many styles still use the old name). The kata comes from the Tomari-te school where it was a set of three, Rohai Shodan, Nidan, and Sandan.

These kata were probably invented by Sensei Anko Itosu, with the techniques being derived from a much longer version of Rohai which was possibly invented by Kosaku Matsumora, suggested by the fact that it was known...
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Sensei Gichin Funakoshi Demonstrating Basics

Posted by on Thursday, December 6, 2012, In : Photography 

Sensei Gichin Funakoshi demonstrating some basic karate moves.

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The History of Chinte

Posted by on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, In : Video 

Chinte (Strange Hands) (performed by Master Masataka Mori above) is a very old kata that probably has its origins in China, though it has been suggested it is actually derived from an Okinawan folk dance. Favoured more by women than men, unlike most Shotokan kata it consists of predominantly circular movements instead of the more common linear ones.

If it did derive from a dance, some suggest that it symbolizes all the things a woman should know about life according to the culture at the ...

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The History of the Kanku Kata

Posted by on Thursday, September 20, 2012, In : Video 

Kanku (Looking into the sky) Sho (minor) and Dai (major) are advanced kata in the Shotokan syllabus and practiced by many styles including those of Japanese, Okinawa and Korean karate. Kanku Sho (Performed above by Takayuki Mikami) is the younger of the two Kanku kata and was probably developed from kanku Dai and handed down as a part of Master Anko Itosu’s teachings.

It contains moves that are typical of Itosu kata, such as double punches and moves that are designed to control and or ...
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Anko Itosu - 1908

Posted by on Sunday, September 9, 2012, In : Photography 

Anko Itosu (just left of centre sporting a big white moustache), at a martial arts exhibition in 1908.

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The History of the Gojushiho Kata

Posted by on Tuesday, August 28, 2012, In : Video 

Gojushiho (54 steps) is a set of two kata (sho/minor and dai/major) that both have their origin in a single kata from the Shorin-ryu style which was called Useishi (meaning 54). In a strange quirk of martial arts history, the kata known as Gojushiho Sho was previously known as Gojushiho Dai and vice-versa, but they got reversed.

Legend has it that in the 1960s or the 1970s during the All Japan Karate Championships, a high ranking karateka of the JKA announced Gojushiho Dai then did the wrong k...

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Sensei Anko Itosu with Kenwa Mabuni & Gichin Funakoshi

Posted by on Saturday, August 25, 2012, In : Photography 

Sensei Anko Itosu (with the glasses), pictured with some of his students including
Kenwa Mabuni (standing) & Gichin Funakoshi (to Itosu's left).

Date: c.1880.

Update - Having recently read an article on it has come to my attention that Kenwa Mabuni can not be in this picture as he was not born until 1889, 21 years after Gichin Funakoshi. It seems likely that the boy seated is in fact Funakoshi though there is some doubt as to weather or not it is Anko Itosu sat be...
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The History of Unsu

Posted by on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, In : Video 

 Unsu (Hands in the Clouds) is a high level kata and one of the oldest practiced within Shotokan karate. Its exact origins are unknown but it is believed to be of Chinese origins, and of the Dragon Style of Kung Fu. According to Masatoshi Nakayama, anyone who tries to master Unsu before first mastering the Heian kata, Kanku-Dai, Empi and Jion will look like “a scarecrow trying to dance".

Symbolism is a recurring theme in the history of the martial arts and it has been suggested that the mo...

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Training at Shuri Castle

Posted by on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, In : Photography 

Training at Shuri Castle c.1938. Photographed by Nakasone Genwa

The History of Okinawan Karate
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Early Karate Training in Japan

Posted by on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, In : Photography 

Students of karate training on a roof top in Japan c.1934

The History of Okinawan Karate
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Chojun Miyagi Training (1929)

Posted by on Monday, July 30, 2012, In : Photography 

Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953), Founder of Goju-ryu teaching in Okinawa
Picture taken in 1929

Karate Home

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Kanga Tode Sakugawa

Posted by on Monday, July 30, 2012, In : Photography 

Photograph of Okinawan karate master Kanga 'Tode' Sakugawa (1733 - 1815).

(Update, although several sources around the web clam this to be a photograph of the great master, as he died in 1815 and photography had not been invented yet, this is not possible).

Karate History Articles

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