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Alliance Shotokan Karate Club caters for Karate students of all ages, from absolute beginner to seventh Dan black belt, in a friendly family atmosphere. Come along and meet the club members and instructors. Start getting fit and build up your self-confidence at the same time.
Alliance Shotokan Karate Club meets every Tuesday and Thursday at
St. Paul's Community Centre, Brick Kiln Street, Tipton. DY4 9BP. 7.00-9.00pm

Shotokan Karate  
More than fourteen hundred years ago Daruma (bodhidharma) the founder of Zen Buddhism left western India and travelled several thousand miles to reach China. Years later he travelled to the Hunan province of china to a temple which must be the most famous in the martial arts world, the temple of Shaolin, there Daruma lectured the monks of the temple in the ways of Buddhism. Finding that his ways were exhausting his students physically, he devised a method of developing their physical attributes in order for them to obtain the true essence of Buddha.

Years passed by, the style became known as Shorin-ji Kempo, it spread throughout the land. Eventually it reached Okinawa one of the Ryukyu Islands. There it became known as Okinawa-te, this was the start of karate as we know it today.
In 1609 with Okinawa under the rule of the Satsuma clan of Japan, yet again, all weapons were confiscated, as in 1470, so a means of unarmed self defence was needed even more so. With many experts travelling between China and Okinawa the style evolved and got more effective with time. Karate training was always conducted with the utmost secrecy in Okinawa, due to the fact that it was also outlawed. No member of the public was allowed to practice any form of martial arts. Okinawans would hide the fact that they were practicing their art by creating and performing kata, to any onlooker the kata would resemble Okinawan folk dancing.
In the Meiji period (1868-1912) the need for concealment was no longer required, yet the people of Okinawa had become so used to keeping it hidden, it remained secret, slowly revealing itself over time. During the inauguration of the formal education system and military conscription, it was noted that on physical examinations of draftees and students with karate training, that they had better balanced limbs, and more muscular development. The army put into motion plans to add karate to the new recruits training program, this idea was later scrapped due to fear of the young soldiers causing trouble and fighting using their new found skill. A recommendation was then put forward, by Itosu "Anko" Yasutsune, that karate should be use in the physical education programs of Okinawan schools. This was accepted and put into use in schools in 1902.
Gichin Funakoshi the founder of Shotokan karate was born in 1868, in Shuri Okinawa. Funakoshi was a very sickly child , then from an early age he studied Okinawa te, which later became known as karate, which improved his health and fitness. Funakoshi's first instructor was master Azato, who was the father of one of Funakoshi's friends. Azato is noted as being one of the greatest Okinawan masters, Funakoshi at that time was his only student. Azato's son trained under another great instructor, master Itosu, who Funakoshi later trained under. Under his instruction he practiced the three Tekki Kata, which were master Itosu's specialty, (The Tekki Kata, Shodan, had been passed down to him by his master Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura. Itosu later added the other two Tekki Kata). He spent ten years learning the three Tekki Katas, spending more than three years on each of them. Itosu had a natural genius for karate-do and it is said that that he created the five heian kata. It is thought that heian shodan and nidan were adopted from much older kata. Heian sandan, yondan and godan were made up from parts out of higher, more complex kata, such as kanku dai. In 1906 Funakoshi persuaded a few friends to form a group to give public demonstrations. It is said that this was probably the first time karate was demonstrated for the public, they toured Okinawa and word spread of this ancient art.
In May 1922 the ministry of education sponsored the first annual athletics exhibition in Tokyo. As president of the Okinawan martial arts association Funakoshi was asked if he would attend, the aim being for him to introduce karate to main land Japan properly. As great interest was shown in the art, Funakoshi, who had planned to return to Okinawa after the exhibition, ended up staying to pass on the ways of karate-do.
In 1936 several karate masters including Funakoshi got together and decided to rename Chinese/ Okinawan te, to Karate (empty hand) to increase its popularity in Japan. Also in this year Funakoshi opened the first free standing karate dojo.
In 1955 the Japan Karate Association (J.K.A) was formed with Funakoshi as the chief instructor. Funakoshi never named the style of karate he did, but he did say that his students called it SHOTOKAN, (shoto was Funakoshi pen name and kan means club or school).
The name Shotokan still stands today and is one of the most popular of the karate styles, which is what master Funakoshi would have wanted. He passed away in 1957 at the age of eighty-eight but his style of karate will live forever.