290 Tpke Road, Suite 130A– Westborough, MA 01581 – tel: 774-239-1346

Karate – Introduction

Gichin Funakoshi

Born in 1868 in Okinawa, began his primary training with two Okinawan instructors: Yasutsune Azato and Yasutsune (‘Anko’) Itosu. It is widely speculated that Funakoshi combined Itosu’s style, Shorin-Ryu (a light, quick style), and Azato’s style, Shorei-Ryu (a hard, heavy system), to create his own system, which would later be called Shotokan.

The word Shotokan Means “House of Shoto”, which was a pseudonym that Funakoshi used when he composed poetry. Shot means “waving pines”, an image derived from his childhood home. Shotokan, therefore, directly translates as “House of the Waving Pines”. Today, karate is stereotyped as a Japanese art, that is not true. Karate was originally developed in the island of Okinawa (which at the time, was not a part of Japan proper). After an exhibition at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo, in 1922, under tremendous pressure by new enthusiasts, Funakoshi remained in Japan until his death in April of 1957.

Funakoshi’s primary gift to karate is that it was he who truly campaigned for the development of karate-do, the art of karate. To him, karate was much more than a crude series of street-fighting tactics, it was truly an art, one which refined the student both physically and socially. He always frowned upon the false pride and egotism of others, as well as the crude systems which were developing in Japan and Okinawa. His contributions to the realm of karate, in its development, refinement, and dispersement, have led to his consideration as the “father of modern karate-do.”

“Karate-do is a noble martial art, and [one] can rest assured that those who take pride in breaking boards or smashing tiles, or who boast of being able to perform outlandish feats…really know nothing about karate. They are playing around in the leaves and branches of a great tree, without the slightest concept of trunk”

-Gichin Funakoshi

We have karate classes Monday through Saturday. Lots of options are available! Please see the “Schedule” page for more details.

Sensei works well with children. He is able to relate to their level of understanding. Sensei uses words children can understand and makes the most mundane drills fun. Children are taught to count loud; demonstrate technique; answer questions and partner with everyone in the class. These factors keep attention and energy level high.

Karate-do instills mutual respect, courage and other important life skills. This is why many parents put their children in a martial art study at one time or another. Karate will also assist children greatly with many sports.

We have an extensive family oriented program. Many of our adults have children in our program. Parents may take classes with their children. We encourage adults that are looking for a new challenge in life to enroll!

Students are tested regularly to assess and recognize their progress. Testing contains all facets of the regular training, including conditioning, kihon, kata and kumite. As a student rises in rank, the bar is raised and the tests get more difficult.

To participate in a test, students must attend classes regularly and meet the testing schedule requirements shown below. Participation in a test does not guarantee a belt promotion! Students who fail a test may re-test at the next scheduled test date.

The testing schedule is based on 2 month sessions:

When testing for Orange through Blue belts

Test every session (or 2 months)

When testing for Green through Purple belts

Test every other session (or 4 months)

When testing for Brown belts

Test twice a year (or 6 months)

When testing for Black belt

Test 6 to 12 months as determined by Sensei