Origins of Karate

Karate, Martial Arts, Sport, Belt

Here is an interesting one for you, karate grew from one form, which kata has become lost.

Interestingly enough, it’s true. Here’s the story.

The first rumor is that Karate developed from the Crane style of Kung Fu. Might be true, but if you’ve seen videos of that form you will pro shake your head and blink a little. The crane form is a shaky type of quivery thing, hard to imagine the moves being refined into the block and counter moves of most styles of Karate.

I first saw this kind on YouTube, and the reader is invited to perform a search, inspect the form – the types, I should say, for there are many versions – and draw his own conclusion.

So, with this example which was hard to adhere to, I decided to do a little digging, and here is the story I found out, the story behind the art of Karate.

A couple of hundred years back on the island of Okinawa, In a dismal cave located behind an old cemetery, lived a shipwrecked sailor. He was Chinese, and his name was Chiang Nan.

Living nearby, in a house, I presume, was Ankoh Itosu. Mr. Itosu, for those who don’t know, is one of those iconic figures of the martial arts. He studied with all the masters of the day, and he is responsible for formulating karate to a modern method.

One day Chiang met Mr. Itosu. We don’t know how, maybe Mr. Itosu befriended the shipwrecked sailor, maybe one of these martial artists was outside for a walk and saw another practicing the martial arts, and a conversation, and friendship, was struck.

Chiang Nan educated Mr. Itosu a martial art form.

Mr. Itosu worked on the form, the working name was seemingly Channan, which might be a translation of the phrase’calm mind,’ or might be a translation of Chiang Nan’s name.

Later, when these forms were educated in Japan, they were called the Heians.

They became the main forms of an art that was the selection of the Imperial bodyguards of three distinct countries: Okinawa, Korea and Japan.

They are taught to children the world over as you read this.

In the Pinans are derived countless self defense techniques, endless drills, and a doctrine of self defense,

From these forms has arisen a whole zen belief system, a’moving zen’ philosophy.

This, so far as I know, is an accurate representation of the’Lost Form,’ and how Karate came to be.


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