Karate is a martial art that literally translated, means ‘empty’ (kara) ‘hand’ (te). Karate has its origins in Okinawa, part of the Ryukyu Islands, annexed to Japan in 1879.


The earliest forms of Karate were practiced by two main Masters; Anko Itosu, who created and introduced Pinan form’s, or Kata’s to schools in Okinawa in 1901 and Anko Asato who studied alongside Itosu under Sōkon Matsumura. 
Gichin Funakoshi is generally considered to be the father of modern day karate, especially the Shotokan style, after introducing the martial art to mainland Japan in 1922. Funakoshi began karate at a young age, under the instruction of Master Asato and later, under Master Itosu, who were instrumental in his development.


1924 saw the first karate club established in Keio University and by 1932 most major universities had clubs. In the same year Masatoshi Nakayama began studying karate under Master Funakoshi at Tokyo’s Takushoku University, later studying with his son, Yoshitaka.
Master Nakayama founded the Japan Karate Association in 1949, teaching the likes of Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda and Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa who were instrumental in bringing karate to the UK, founding the Karate Union of Great Britain in 1966.


Today, Karate is practiced worldwide in many different styles as not only a fighting technique and means of self defence, but a way to develop strong self discipline and help physical fitness.