The Origin and Birth of Karate-Do

BODHA DHARMA or DARUMA (470-543) went to China from India to preach Buddhism. Upon finding the monks tire easily during spiritual lectures, he developed training of the physical body so that they could be strong not only in the mind but also in the body. It is believed that the physical development of these monks and missionaries helped to protect them against bandits and criminals during their journey from one place to the other. SHO HASHI (1372-1439) who was the king established a non-military government in Japan and prohibited the possession of weapons. During the “SENGOKU” period of the Civil War (1467-1568) SHIMAZU forces attacked the SATSUMA clan and Okinawa felled. Weapons were again banned and this forced the Ryukuans to invent weaponless combat techniques. Apart from the weaponless training, Okinawans used farm tools for defense and developed fighting methods. “KARA” or Chinese people of the Tang Dynasty known at that time and the methods of fighting were also derived from China. “TE” or hands of which techniques and methods were combined and jointly KARATE was formed.The Japanese later altered “KARA” to mean Empty and as such Karate or Empty Hand was more briefly used. In the early era, there were no styles or names and there were only 3 prominent areas in Okinawa namely SHURI, NAHA and TOMARI where Karate-do was widely practiced. From these three areas, lineages of the origins in Styles were slowly formed. In SHURI, training were based on strong and powerful techniques and in NAHA, techniques were emphasized on breathing and swift movements. To clarify or segregate their different methods of training, styles in the school were developed. RYU-HA was used to name the individual styles of the schools. Martial Arts or BUDO was incorporated and training was observed seriously. “DO” being the way was a doctrine used to create an awareness of the commitment in learning the Art. KARATE-DO was a secret art kept to only a few practitioners and training in those days was secretive that while learning the KATA (form), windows were shut to avoid anyone from peeping. KARATE-DO was truly a noble art practiced seriously in those days!