Little is known about the origin of Karate, but the most reliable version is the one that refers to the legendary character Bodhidharma. This was the founder of ZEN Buddhism, born in India, although in the year 520 he moved to the Chinese monastery of Chau-Lin-Seu (Shorinyi in Japanese), and much later to that of Tsu-Jyo.
His teachings and discipline were so harsh and severe that, soon after, the students of the monastery abandoned religious practices, in view of which BODHI-DHARMA then conceived a physical education that was coupled with religious discipline.
Soon after, the Shorinyi bonzes gained fame because of the vigor of their fists, but in reality the greatest contribution to the development and improvement of karate came from the province of Okinawa, an island located in the south-west of Japan.
Between this island and China, communications and exchanges were very frequent, and the art that was learned in the Shorinyi monastery was introduced in Japan thanks, above all, to intellectuals, but it was necessary to wait until the 15th century to attend a greater diffusion of karate, when Shopasi, who ruled the island of Okinawa, promulgated an edict in which the possession and carrying of weapons was prohibited, under pain of death.
Later, in 1609, SHIMAZU from Satsuma province issued an identical edict, and for the second time, the Okinawans, completely deprived of the use of weapons, found a defensive means in bare-handed combat ( KARA means naked and TE means hand). In this way, the ancient art of bonzes became a specialty of the Okinawans, which was studied especially in the cities of Shuri and Naha, hence the names “Shuri hand” and “Naha hand”.
These two schools were later merged by master MABUNI.
However, due to its spirit, which is that of the Japanese martial arts, that is, win or die, and above all because of its terrible effectiveness, the teaching of karate was kept secret for a long time and reserved only to the caste of the samurais, the famous noble warriors.
After the modernization of the Japanese nation, Okinawan schools adopted karate as a subject of physical instruction until the time when, at the request of the Minister of National Education, in 1922, the great teacher FUNAKOSHI offered a public demonstration of teaching through the essential forms called KATAS.
The founder of modern judo, master KANO, after this demonstration, incorporated a karate karate into judo, precisely the KIME-NO-KATA and the GOSHIN JUTSU-NO-KATA. Today, karate is widespread in Japan, on par with any other sport.