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A Brief History of Karate

It is a common tradition in the Far East that Karate's roots began with a Royal Prince of India named Bodhidharma. This story is probably refuted by modern historical record, but we make it required education due to its almost universal retelling.

As the story goes, Bodhidharma studied military arts as a young man. In later life, his thinking and study in his Buddhist religion produced Zen Buddhism. He became a monk and traveled the perilous routes through the Himalyan Mountain passes into the country of China.

Bodhidharma went to what is today modern Canton where he was granted an audience by WuTi, the emperor of the Liang Dynasty. He was invited to remain in China, where he stayed for the rest of his life. He lived at the Shaolin Temple located in the Hunan province betweeen four mountain ranges. The temple was built in about 495 A.D.

The Shorei (or Shuri) style of Karate was developed in the city of Shuri. It emphasizes a hard fist, low stances and relies principally on the upper body. The Goju system of Karate was developed in the city of Naha. It emphasizes kicking, and uses open hand blocks and strikes, which are good for grabbing opponents.

Two Okinawan Masters are credited with the spread of Karate to the rest of the world.

We offer beginner classes for adults, teens and children as young as 3 years of age throughout the week.

The first is Anko Itosu. In 1901, he taught Karate in the Okinawan school system. This was the first time that a Martial Art was taught openly to the masses.

The second is Gichen Funakoshi. Funakoshi brought Karate to Japan in 1922, and founded the Japanese Karate Association. His Okinawan Karate became known in Japan as Shotokan, and he is widely considered to be the father of modern Karate.

After World War II, Karate came to the Americas through our soldiers and sailors who studied the art while stationed in Okinawa and other islands in the Pacific. The first American school opened in Phoenix, AZ, in 1946. The instructor was Robert Trias. Grandmaaster Trias, a former boxing champion in the U.S. Navy, initially studied in the Solomon Islands with T'ung Gee Hsing, who imparted his knowledge of Shuri-te Karate unto him. After further study in the Orient, Master Trias returned to the U.S. with his first system of Karate known as Shuri Karate Kempo, later to be called Shorei-Ryu. After some time he incorporated kata and other elements of the Goju Ryu system and created Shorei Goju Ryu Karate. In 1953, Grandmaster Trias was named as style of Shuri Ryu, and deleted the Goju elements from his teaching. He appointed Grandmaster Herb Johnson as style head of Shorei Goju Ryu in 1979.

Sensei Massey began training under Grandmaster Johnson in 1984, and has never stopped teaching since. Sensei Yde began training under Sensei Massey originally in 1994, and resumed in 2005. 

Through our lineage, it can be seen that our program traces back to that first school, and to the system that the Father of American Karate first taught...

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