Karate is a martial art executed for the most part in an upright stance. It originated on the Japanese island of Okinawa, part of the Ryukyu Islands chain, as a mixture of local Okinawan and Chinese fighting styles.
History of Karate:
Early on, native Okinawans created a fighting practice simply referred to as "te".In 1372, trade was established between the Ryukyu Islands and the Fujian Territory of China, which led to a substantial emigration of Chinese to Okinawa. They brought Kenpo, a mixture of Indian and Chinese fighting methods, with them, resulting in a hybrid of the two disciplines.
At the same time, some individuals were creating martial arts forms of their own in seclusion. Of these, three dominant styles appeared, named after the regions in which they developed: Tomari-te, Naha-te and Shuri-te. The dissimilarities between the three styles were small, being more a source of civic pride than anything else—the towns of Naha, Tomari and Shuri were within close proximity of each other.
As ties with China strengthened, this mixture of the conventional Okinawan fighting style and Chinese Kenpo merged with the bare-handed Chinese styles of Gangrou-quan, Five Ancestors and Fujian White Crane. Eventually, a Southeast Asian influence seeped in.
Sakukawa Kanga was one of the first Okinawans to study in China. In 1806, he started teaching a martial art, which he called "Tudi Sakukawa" ("Sakukawa of Chinese Hand").
One of Sakukawa Kanga's apprentices, Matsumura Sokon, began teaching a mixture of te & Shaolin styles, later known as Shorin-ryu. However, it's an apprentice of Sokon's, Itosu Anko, who's often thought of as the "Grandfather of Karate." Itosu Anko is well-known for developing easy kata, or forms, for less advanced apprentices, helping Karate achieve more mainstream acceptance.
About D-Dojo Karate:
D-Dojo Karate, Upper West Side offers unsurpassed fitness training both for children and adults. We take a holistic approach to Karate; for us, Karate is more than fitness—it's a lifestyle. It's never too late to start learning Karate, or too early! Visit our web site, or contact us—we'd be happy to answer any and all of your questions!