Shotokan Karate was the first
form of Karate introduced to mainland Japan in the 1930's. At
first this karate system was called Toudi, or China Hand, however
in the late 1930's the name was changed to Karate to make it more
appealing to the Japanese populous.
Shotokan was the creation of Okinawan
Master Gichin Funakoshi. Originally he called his art simply karate,
but with the times changing and many other systems coming to light
in Japan, Master Funakoshi's students
the system Shotokan, or Shoto's house. Shoto was Gichin Funakoshi's
pen name for poetry he use to write prior to coming to Japan.
Additionally Master Funakoshi's son, Yoshitaka Funakoshi played
a big role in the development of Funakoshi's karate. Yoshitaka
like his father was born in Okinawa, however while Gichin Funakoshi
never returned to his homeland after 1930, Yoshitaka did return,
and he learned forms from several of the big name Masters of the
Master Funakoshi and his son both were known to
train with fellow Okinawan Master Kenwa Mabuni.
Master Mabuni opened
an Okinawan karate dojo in Osaka and he was teaching his own system
called Shito Ryu.
Both Master Funakoshi and Master
Mabuni were students of Okinawan Master Anko Itosu, so while they
were teaching different things their original styles were very
Funakoshi's Shotokan system was
created out of what he learned from many different Okinawan Masters.
Most notably was Master Itosu, Master Azato, Master Arakaki and
In 1955, a group of Master Funakoshi's
students joined together and made a college league. This group
was called the Japan Karate Association. It's goal was to standardize
Funakoshi's karate and systemize it so that others could learn
In the late 1980's internal conflict
in the JKA broke it up into several different factions. Each teaching
their own version of Master Funakoshi's karate. While it is uncertain
who is actaully teaching the correct way it is certain that both
groups have good karate.
In the mid 1990's
the United Shotokan Association was created because of these splits
within the JKA. With fragmented leadership and a multitude of
schools with no affiliation, the United Shotokan Association came
on the scene to help unite Shotokan dojo's with no affiliations.
Our Chief Instructor, or Kancho,
is Hanshi Jerry Offutt. Hanshi Offutt is a direct student of some
of Gichin Funakoshi's top students including Master Hidetaka Nishiyama,
Master Ryuzo Fujihara, and most importantly Meijin Masaki Sato,
who is recognized as a living national treasure by the government
of Japan for his contributions to the Martial Arts, and for holding
dual 10th Degree Black Belts in Shotokan Karate and Judo.