The Kokusai Budoin, International Martial Arts Federation, is comprised of seven divisions representing the various Japanese martial arts. These include Judo, Kendo, Karatedo, Aikido, Iaido, Nihon Jujutsu and Kobudo. Each division has an extensive heritage rooted in the traditions of classical martial arts.

Historical Overview

The history of Karatedo can be traced to the Ryukyu Islands that stretch from Taiwan to Kyushu (the southern most island of the Japanese mainland).

Lying at a confluence of trade routes, the culture of Okinawa was greatly influenced by China, and later Japan. Early development of what was known as Okinawa-te (Okinawa hand) or Tode (Chinese hand), featured adaptation of indigenous and Chinese methods of combat. In the early 1600s, forces from mainland Japan subjugated the Ryukyu Kingdom and instituted a complete ban on the possession of weapons and the practice of martial arts. From this era until modern times, training in ancient forms of Karatedo was extremely secretive. In addition to developing the body as an instrument of self-defense, tools, farming & fishing implements and other common items were utilized as weapons.

In the early 1900s a form of Karatedo was added to the school curriculum in Okinawa. Gichin Funakoshi, a schoolteacher from Okinawa, first introduced Karatedo to the Japanese mainland in 1917, and again in 1922. Gichin Funakoshi was instrumental in establishing Karatedo clubs at a number of universities, considered some of the greatest names in modern Karatedo as his students, and in 1938 opened a school known as the Shotokan dojo. Concurrently, in Okinawa, the ancient styles of Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te were being reorganized into logical, standardized systems which in turn became the basis of modern Karatedo in Okinawa.

What is Karatedo?

The word Karatedo is a combination of three Japanese characters kara (empty), te (hand) and do (way or path). The "way of Karate" is a means of physical, spiritual and moral development based on protracted training.

Karatedo practice is divided into three aspects: Kihon (basic training) emphasizes stances, breathing, basic blocks, hand techniques and kicks. Kata (forms) is the heart of karatedo and enables the practitioner to fully grasp the meaning of basics, breathing, concentration, balance, coordination and focus. Kumite (sparring) allows practitioners to apply methods of attack and defense in a dynamic manner that enhances timing, speed, and control while working with a partner under controlled conditions. Through hard training, practitioners seek to foster a spirit that strives for truth and respect for others.

"True karate is this: that in daily life one's mind and body be trained and developed in a spirit of humility, and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly to the cause of justice."
- Gichin Funakoshi

IMAF Karatedo Division

The Karatedo Division has been led by some of the greatest names in Karate, including Hinori Otsuka, Meijin Karatedo 10-dan and founding member of IMAF, Gogen Yamaguchi, Hanshi Karatedo 10-dan, Hironori Otsuka Jr., Meijin Karatedo 10-dan, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Hanshi Karatedo 10-dan, and Kazuo Sakai, Hanshi Karatedo 10-dan.

IMAF strives to remain true to the ideals of Karatedo by granting rank and title to qualified individuals. IMAF Karatedo rank and titles are not limited to a single style this martial art and are recognized universally as comprehensive degrees.

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