To display this page you need a browser with JavaScript support. The History of Karate-do








KARATE DO originated in Okinawa many centuries ago and only came to Japan in 1922; a fact which will surprise many people as Karate is firmly established as - and has long been considered - a Japanese art. 

Te is thought to be at least 1,000 years old. The Okinawans of 1,000 years ago were not rich, and weapons were in short supply. The land was not unified, and a knowledge of self-defence must have been an important asset and would have provided the necessary impetus to the emergence of an indiginous martial art. Later, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when the Okinawans began to travel extensively, they were sure to have encountered many of the great fighting systems of South Asia and these would have influenced their indigenous art.

Dave Kershaw 5th Dan Konjaku Shin Chief Instructor

In 1477, on the establishment of a new dynasty (Sho), the new king, Sho Shin, had to deal with rebellious war lords who were firmly entrenched in their castles throughout the island of Okinawa. One of his first moves was to ban the carrying of swords by anyone, noble or peasant. His next move was to order the collection of all weapons, which were to be placed under royal control at his castle in Shuri. Finally, he charged that all nobles, now unarmed, should come and live next to him in the royal capital. At this moment it is believed that two movements were born in Okinawa. On the one hand, the nobles sought out, learned and developed the unarmed combat art of te. On the other hand, farmers and fishermen began to develop weapons systems based upon the combative use of tools and agricultural implements. Flails (hand-threshing tools), grindstone handles, sickles, horse bridles and even boat paddles became lethal weapons.

Shiro Asano 8th Dan

Both the unarmed and armed traditions were practiced in utmost secrecy, and largely confined to their respective social classes. Even though practiced in such secrecy, in remote places, and largely at night or before dawn, three separate styles began to emerge from the three urban centres around the capital. Shuri-te, the art that developed in Shuri, was practiced by the samurai of the court, while in the nearby port town of Naha, and in Tomari, the gate-town of Shuri, the people developed their own independent styles of te.

In 1935 a multi-style committee of Okinawan masters sat down together to decide on a single name for their art. They called it karate, which means "empty-handed" or "weaponless defence art. Some masters feel that the Japanese appendage of -do, "the way", should also be added to the name.

Karate has grown immensely in popularity in recent years and has taken many forms; many not in keeping with the original ideas and methods. Traditional Karate training is a way of passing on the original philosophy and ethos along with the same training used centuries ago. In fact Konjaku Shin means literally "Ancient & Modern Spirit " . The spirit and technique of traditional Karate-do practised in the present day.

Karate-do is not a sport, it is "budo" (martial art). The object of the training is to develop every person - regardless of age, sex or size, both physically and mentally. If the emphasis is on winning then karate only benefits a minority. Konjaku Shin does participate in a limited number of championships, which allows those who do wish to compete the chance to do so - in fact we have had great success at all levels - but this is never allowed to overshadow the more important aspects and benefits of karate-do training. Like all traditional martial arts, karate-do encourages the student to control their ego,  not develop one.

SELF-DEFENCE is one of the foremost reasons many people start training in Karate. With regular training Karate will give you a much better chance of defending yourself should you unfortunately be attacked.

HEALTH and FITNESS are natural results of regular and correct Karate training. Karate-do is a very scientific Art based on the principles of Physics and Physiology with movements designed to produce the most effective technique of attack or defence. Correct technique obtained through regular, systematic and conscientious training is the key to success in Karate. Size, sex, age, and muscular strength are unimportant; everyone can benefit from Karate training.

CONFIDENCE develops naturally with correct and regular training; not only a confidence in being able to protect oneself against unprovoked attack but in all aspects of life in general.

CHILDREN can benefit immensely from Karate training. Traditional Karate training places great emphasise on discipline and good manners. Concentration is needed at all times whilst training, and this is shown to have an improving effect on performance at school.

AGE or SEX are of no consequence in Karate-do.
The KONJAKU SHIN NATIONAL SCHOOL OF KARATE has members ranging from five to seventy five years of age, and black belts from ten to sixty years of age.

SPECIAL NEEDS are catered for, and Konjaku Shin is proud of the progress adults and children with special needs have made by participation in both specialist and scheduled classes.



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