Karate (空手) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called te (手, literally “hand”, Tii in Okinawan) and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).
Okinawa is widely considered the crucible of modern karate. It is the largest island between China and Japan, where Chinese trading ships would stop en route to the ports of Japan. The ancient arts spread to Okinawa this way. Over generations the people of the island further developed what we recognise today as karate. This history of karate is a huge source of cultural pride among the Okinawan People. So much so some Karate masters on the island have been formally recognised as national treasures.
Our particular line of karate is called Uechi-Ryu. Ryu meaning “way” or “style”. Okinawa’s current Uechi-Ryu and Shohei-Ryu practitioners were personally trained under Master Kanbun Uechi’s son Kanei Uechi.
Master Kanbun Uechi
IOK’s lineage is uniquely steeped in history and tradition. Its teachers are direct benefactors of fighting art knowledge that is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. IOK is a traditional Okinawan dojo, very close to what one would experience on the small island where it originated. As a student advances in the art he or she will work to develop a very strong background in the traditional fundamentals.
In addition there is a stated intention not to ignore valuable, helpful, knowledge from viable sources. IOK instructors are both many and experienced. We are products of the modern martial arts community, giving students the opportunity to cross train with important elements of jujitsu, aikido, boxing and others. The underlying art is always our base but what works in practice is at the forefront of the personal training all students receive.
The path of karate is self-discovery, harmonising mind, body and spirit of the student. A primary aim is to develop the skills and confidence to protect and defend ones self. Development of personal qualities such as integrity, wisdom, compassion and humility is a substantial by product of karate.
“To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.”
“The ultimate aim of karate lies no in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
– Ginchin Funakoshi, the father of modern karate.
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