Karate literally means "empty hand" and karate-do "the way of the empty hand" which is a method of fighting without the use of weapons. Karate was developed on the island of Okinawa, the main island of the Ryu Kyu archipelago which lies in the East China Sea between China and Japan.
In 1609 a newly unified Japan invaded Okinawa and crushed all resistance. The Japanese victors then imposed a ban on all but their own warrior elite on the carrying of weapons. As a result the people of the island developed a system of unarmed fighting from which present day Karate has evolved. Alongside the practice of unarmed fighting skills, the people of Okinawa perfected various weapon systems based on the combative use of everyday implements such as rice fails, grind stone handles and sickles. Even the humble walking staff became a deadly weapon in the hands of an expert. All of these systems have survived to the present day and are practised in Dojos (training halls) throughout the world.
Modern Karate is made up of many styles which stem from their "hard" and "flexible" schools of origin. The main styles practised today are Shotokan, Gojoryu, Wadaryu and Shukokai although many more "splinter" groups have sprung up based to some degree on the aforementioned styles.
"Shukokai" was founded after the Second World War by Sensei Tani who resided in Kobi City Japan. Sensei Tani sort to perfect his style by studying the mechanics of the human body and developed techniques which can be delivered with maximum efficiency. The theories behind Shukokai are somewhat complex and it takes a lifetime of study to truly understand the art. It is a system of combat which seeks perfection and therefore demands continuous study.
The late World Chief instructor was Sensei Shigeru Kimura who resided in New Jersey, U.S.A. Sensei Kimura headed an International Karate Federation which embraced many countries from the U.S.A. across Europe to Africa and Australia. Sensei Kimura travelled the world teaching the "way" of Shukokai. His knowledge of the fighting art was unsurpassed and as a result his presence was sought by students all over the world.
There is no easy way to learn true Karate. The serious student embarks on a quest for knowledge which will take a life-time. However, along the way not only will the student acquire great skills in the fighting arts but will also develop strength of character which will stand him/her in good stead throughout their life.