In the early fifteenth century, the island of Okinawa came under Chinese rule. The ban on carrying weapons caused the inhabitants to train in the art of fighting with bare hands. The Japanese invaded the island in the early seventeenth century and kept the ban. The teaching of master to disciple was done verbally and through the kata. It was during this century that produced the real synthesis of …Te¯, a local and Chinese martial arts from Shaolin Temple that led gradually to the …To-de¯, the forerunner of Karate today.
In the early nineteenth century, the history of Okinawan karate comes down to one of three styles: Tomari-te, Shuri-te, Naha-te, named after the three villages.
The most important step for the development of this art was passed at the beginning of the twentieth century by the master Asato Itosu who succeeded in introducing Karate as a complement to physical education in schools on the island.
It Gichin Funakoshi, originally from Shuri, who brought karate from Okinawa to Japan. In 1922, he presented for the first time for Japanese karate and later at the invitation of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, he will show his art at the Kodokan.
He decides to stay in this city and in 1938 he founded his own dojo called Shotokan.
His teaching is very similar to that which is dispensed in Okinawa. The most obvious changes found in Shotokan are due to present his son Yoshitaka who introduced combat exercises and adapted the practice of karate to the Japanese tradition. Karate is now probably the most popular martial art in the world. Unlike Judo and Aikido, Karate was never the work of one man, but of several generations of masters and disciples through a multitude of schools and styles that retain original still all their characteristics.
Karate is a martial art that uses rationally all the possibilities that it offers the human body in self-defense. The most common techniques are those of blocking and striking, a large majority found in modern styles. Traditional styles, however, developed in parallel a very eclectic mix of dodging techniques, seizures, dislocations, projections and strangulation, quite characteristic of a full search for efficiency. Traditional techniques of Karate are designed to provide full effectiveness in all possible forms of combat, whether long distance (leg), average distance (distance handguns) or short distance (melee).
Today, the total number of styles of karate must far exceed one thousand. Practiced in universities, the martial art of Okinawa has evolved with the emergence of such competition. But in the Ryukyu Archipelago the ancient form of this art is still practiced, the masters Itosu, Funakoshi, Mabuni, Miyagi, the fathers of modern Karate.
If you want to know more take a look at this post about similar subjects.