Post World War 2 Shotokan development.
After World War II the Funakoshi Shotokan style of karate effectively split
into two factions, Shotokai, which
is an anti sport and competition Shotokan style association, and the style
now widely known and accepted as Shotokan which was developed further by the J.K.A.
the 1950s the JKA embarked upon a plan of spreading karate world-wide, instigated
by Funikoshi. After his death the JKA, headed by Sensei Nakayama continued to
research and develop Shotokan Karate, as well as to promote the competition and
sport element of the style. This aspect was the primary reason for its success
as competition and sport are prime motivators for many people. The style known
today as Shotokan could be more appropriately called JKA Shotokan Karate. The
instructors training program was developed which produced numerous qualified senior
Karate-ka, many of which were posted around the world to set up schools and teach
Many of the instructors remained in these countries, Teriyuki
Okazaki in Philadelphia, Taiji Kase in France, Hiroshi Shirai in Italy, Hidetaka
Nishiyama in Los Angeles, Keinosuke Enoeda and Hanshi Shiro Asano in England to
name but a few.
The policy of training instructors and continuing to send
them around the world, together with the union of the martial art and the sport
aspect into the style is probably the reason why JKA Shotokan Karate is the most
popular style of Karate, and why it spread so rapidly in the 60's onwards. Other
styles of Martial Art have followed in its wake, some of the most successful being
the styles that like JKA Shotokan have a strong sports and competition aspect
(Tae Kwon Do springs to mind, a Korean offspring of Karate).
The large size
of the JKA (10 million plus in over 155 countries) led to problems in the 1970's.
Political and technical issues resulted in several senior karate-ka breaking away
from the JKA. The most well known being Sensei Kanazawa; in 1977 he left to form
Shotokan Karate International (SKI), which is now the largest Shotokan organisation
in the world with over 3.5 million members in over 120 countries.
1980's several other prominent karate-ka left the JKA. However after the death
of Sensei Nakayama in 1987, with no thought out succession planning, the resultant
political instability led to infighting and the JKA broke up.
As a consequence
the Japan Karate Association has given birth to numerous organizations, some having
affiliations to the JKA, many who no longer wish to affiliate, and those who follow
the JKA syllabus and/or the JKA Shotokan Karate style and have never affiliated.
Many individual independent clubs and small associations fall into the latter,
affiliating themselves directly to nationally recognised sporting bodies.
Remember that to Funakoshi the prevalence of divergent schools
of karate was a serous problem, and he believed it would have a deleterious effect
on the future development of the art. Funakoshi objected strongly to the classification
of him and his colleagues as the Shoto-kan school, saying that there is no place
in contemporary Karate-do for different schools. His belief was that all "schools"
should be amalgamated into one so that Karate-Do may pursue an orderly and useful
progress into man's future. However his approach has spawned the style widely
classified as Shotokan and it could be argued that there is only one main school
of Shotokan karate and that is the JKA style Shotokan Karate.
With the continuing development of Shotokan Karate, and the sharing of ideas
across the different governing bodies, in all forms of Karate, Shotokan should
enable its benefits to be made accessible to all. Bringing together people
through competition whilst developing the martial art and sharing ideas, Karate-Do
may well pursue an orderly and useful progress into man's future, keeping
Funakoshi happy and content in his grave!
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