Brief History of ISKF Shotokan Karate

Shotokan Karate-Do, the Way of the Empty Hand, was devised by Gichin Funakoshi in the early part of the 20th century. The Art is a combination of older open-hand fighting techniques from Okinawa. Master Funakoshi combined the best elements of these techniques and included additional training methods that emphasized the balance of kata (training forms), kihon (basics) and kumite (sparring).

Master Funakoshi toured Japan in 1922, demonstrating karate and as a consequence the study of karate spread rapidly as karate clubs were established at many Japanese universities. Karate historians credit the popularity of Shotokan to the scientifically sound refinements of Master Funakoshi methods. Modern Shotokan karate techniques are based on a linear fighting style that highlights power and speed. Character development is an integral part of the study of Shotokan Karate.

Following World War Two the study of Martial Arts was banned by the Allied occupational forces. Funakoshi worked hard to get the ban on Karate lifted and in 1948 was successful. The Nihon Karate Kyokai (Japan Karate Association) was founded, with Master Funakoshi as chief instructor. Masatoshi Nakayama took on most the teaching because of Funakoshi's advancing age, and Hidetaka Nishiyama led the instruction committee. In 1953 Teruyuki Okazaki was appointed head of the Instructor Trainee Program. As part of an effort by Nakayama to spread the practice of Shotokan karate internationally, Okazaki came to the U.S. in 1961, and opened a dojo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and settled there permanently. In 1977, Okazaki founded the I.S.K.F., the International Shotokan Karate Federation.

In April 2007, following concerns that the JKA had not been conducting itself in the manner appropriate to the teachings of Master Funakoshi, Okazaki proposed, as chief instructor of the ISKF, termination of the ISKF's relationship with the JKA and formed an external independent body. Today, the ISKF has more than 50,000 members worldwide, representing over 40 countries.

The Dojo Kun represents the underlying principals of Master Funakoshi's philosophy:

Seek Perfection of Character.

Hitotsu! Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto.

Be Faithful.

Hitotsu! Makato no michi o mamoru koto.


Hitotsu! Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto.

Respect others.

Hitotsu! Reigi o omonsuru koto.

Refrain from violent behavior.

Hitotsu! Kekki no yu o imashimuru koto