Shotokan Karate as we know it today was founded by Gichin Funakoshi in the early 1930s and he is known as the "father" of modern karate. It was later introduced to western societies during the 1960s by Masters such as Hirokazu Kanazawa and Keinosuki Enoeda (pictured below). Sensei Enoeda's teaching and presence in the UK carried a legacy that still exists today and the spirit of his teaching is the cornerstone of SEKU standards. Known as the tiger (Tora in Japanese) his dedication to karate epitomised what all students should aspire to.
The Bembridge Shotokan Karate Club is based at the Bembridge Youth and Community Centre (BYCC). Affiliated to the Shotokan of England Karate Union (SEKU), the objective of the club is to assist the practitioner (karate ka) to realise their own strengths and weaknesses whilst practicing karate in a controlled environment and learning a very effective martial art. Everyone has their own reason for taking up karate, so the expectations of what the club can offer will vary but the fact that anyone can take it up at any age or ability means that no one need be excluded from taking part.
Karate training is based upon the development of discipline and respect
Karate will enter many aspects of a student's life such as self confidence, self discipline, determination and a respect for everyone they meet. A non aggressive approach will enable a better understanding of the manner in which interaction, negotiation, conflict resolution or understanding is achieved. A physical response is the very last extreme a karateka (student) will resort to after all other approaches have been exhausted or explored and then only in response to an attack.
Karate is not deemed a sport but a way of life, although there are sporting aspects to take partake in if so desired. Indeed there is a proposal to include karate in future Olympic events but its underlying purpose is to encourage the individual to take on a path of self development and character building.
Respect yourself and those around you
Having respect for everyone a student (karateka) encounters in life is one of the main points emphasised in practising Karate. The training is hard and disciplined and to that end, those who persevere will gain many positive attributes.
Train as hard as possible and as the body matures it will become more capable and self aware. Karate is a life long practice and is never a young persons activity alone. Indeed, there are those who have trained regularly into their old age of 80 and beyond.
With learning in the dojo there are occasions when fellow students become opponents. This not only improves abilities but assist students in becoming more proficient and skilled. As progression and training becomes harder and more demanding, the rewards for dedication becomes clearer. Skills improve and develop to become instinctive rather than planned responses and ultimately lead the student to the level of black belt (shodan). At such a point, it is said that this is where your learning and understanding of true karate really begins.
Whatever the motives are for becoming a karateka, students will be rewarded in many ways but always remembering that there is no short cut and only effort combined with spirit will help to achieve goals.
1868 - 1957
The father of modern karate.
Bembridge Shotokan Karate Club