The history of the martial arts style of Shotokan karate begins with Gichin Funakoshi, a man that is given great credit not only for its birth but also for helping to popularize karate in general.
Gichin Funakoshi was born around 1868 in Shuri, Okinawa. While in elementary school, he became friends with Anko Asato's son and eventually began to train under Asato in Okinawan karate. Later, Funakoshi would also train under Shorin-ryu master Anko Itosu. Interestingly, Funakoshi never actually named the fighting style that he refined from Itosu and Asato's teachings, just preferring to call it karate. But when he started a dojo in 1936, his pen name of shoto (meaning pine waves) was used along with the term kan (house) by his students to erect a sign above the entrance to the establishment that said Shotokan.
Shotokan is a striking style of martial arts that teaches practitioners through a series of kihon (basics), kata (forms) and kumite (sparring) how to defend oneself. Shotokan is a hard martial arts style that emphasizes powerful strikes, long stances, and a lot of in and out techniques in sparring designed to avoid damage and end a fight quickly. Higher belts also learn some grappling and jiu-jitsu style techniques.
Here is the list of the belts and the levels they represent in order of low to high.
1 = ICHI
2 = NI
3 = SAN
4 = SHI
5 = GO
6 = ROKU
7 = SHICHI
8 = HACHI
9 = KYU
10 = JU
Training School = DOJO
Teacher = SENSEI
Master = SHIHAN
Bow = REI
Yell / Shout = KIAI
OI ZUKI = LUNGE PUNCH
GYAKU ZUKI = REVERSE PUNCH
SHUTO UCHI = KNIFE HAND STRIKE
URAKEN UCHI = BACK FIST STRIKE
AGE UKE = RISING BLOCK
UCHI UKE = INSIDE BLOCK
SHUTO UKE = KNIFE HAND BLOCK
GEDAN BARAI = DOWNWARD BLOCK
MAWASHI GERI = ROUND KICK
MAE GERI = FRONT KICK
YOKO KEAGE = SIDE SNAP
YOKO KEKOMI = SIDE THRUST
• Bow on entering or leaving the dojo.
• Instructor must be addressed as Sensei.
• Say OSS upon receiving any advice or command from the instructor.
• Say OSS when bowing at the start and finish of the class, and when bowing to your partner.
• If late to class, then you must bow, say OSS and kneel waiting until ask to join the class.
• Inform your instructor before the session if you have an injury.
• Tell your instructor before the class if you must leave early.
• Show respect to each other, both inside and outside the dojo.
• Keep you Gi (uniform) and Belt clean and in good condition.
• Keep good personal hygiene and keep finger and toes nails clean and short.
• Keep fees up to date.