It is said that karate goes back 5000 years and one of the first masters and pioneers of this art is Boudid Harama who lived in 525 B.C. He was a religious leader who first gained knowledge of the sciences of his time and then decided to teach religious belief to others. In order to do this, he started his journey alone from India and after walking for thousands of kilometers and passing through many challenges of nature arrived in China and took residence in a Shaolin temple in the state of Hunan. His teachings included extreme discipline and abstinence. He was in solitude and contemplation for 9 years while in caves and mountains.
In order for his students to be able to endure long hours of contemplation and also confront aggressors, who saw religious men and their beliefs as a burden to them, he created 18 moves which in reality constitute the foundations of today’s karate.

On the other hand, when Chinese dictatorships such as the Kink and Satsuma dynasties in Okinawa, sought to prevent the empowerment of their opponents and also to control people, they made the use of swords illegal and confiscated weapons used in martial arts. Because of this, people turned to combat trainings in which no weapons were used and this caused karate to become ever more popular.


In 1921, one of the famous karate masters of Okinawa by the name of Gichin Founakoshi managed to introduce karate to Japan with a powerful and delicate approach. Some of the other students, who had been trained by the greatest masters of Okinawa, combined traditional techniques and created numerous karate styles. At the present time, karate practice consists of hundreds of different styles, all of which are rooted in the following four main styles:

Shotokan – The founder of this style is Gichin Founakoshi (1868 – 1957). Shotokan means house of Shoto (Founakoshi’s nickname) and “kan” means house. Shotokan belongs to the Shouri-Ne karate system.
Shito-Ryu – The founder of this style is Kanawa Maboni (1889 – 1952). This style consists of two karate systems: Naha-Ne and Shouri-Ne. Shito is derived from the names of two great masters from Okinawa, such that Shi comes from the name Anko-Itoso who is the undisputed master of the Shori-Ne system and to comes from the name Kanryo-Higauna who is the founder and grand master of the Naha-Ne system.
Guju-Ryu – This style was founded by Miagi-Choujoun (1888 – 1953). It means the hard and soft style and was formed in Okinawa and belongs to the Naha-Ne karate system.
Wadu-Ryu – The founder of this style is Hironouri Onsoka (1892 – 1982). It means the peaceful way or the peace-seeking method.

Gichin Funakoshi & Masatoshi Nakayama

Gichin Funakoshi, The Father of Modern Karate,  was born in 1868 in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture. He was the son of a Samurai who started training in the Martial Arts as a young man to help overcome his frailness. He became the Chairman of the Okinawa Shobukai in 1913. Funakoshi was a school teacher and a poet who wrote under the pen name of “Shoto”. From 1924 until his death in 1957, he travelled around Japan teaching karate at many Universities. He wrote several books on Karate including his autobiography, Karate-Do: My Way of Life , which was completed shortly before his death.

Masatoshi Nakayama was born in 1913 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He is considered one of Master Funakoshi’s greatest students. Master Nakayama wrote many books on Karate included the Best Karate series. He helped to develop the JKA and served as the chief instructor from 1955 until his death in 1987. During his time as director of the JKA his goal was to spread karate around the World. He was extremely successful. Shotokan Karate is the most widely practiced form of Karate on the planet.

Our Style

The International Karate Daigaku (IKD) will use traditional and modern applied research to offer the highest level of karate to all students. IKD will uphold standards of excellence that inspire our students to improve character development and instil core values of respect, honour and discipline.
The IKD will also encourage positive behaviour and empower children and youth to live socially and emotionally healthy lives. The philosophy of karate will also be merged and aligned with culture and education to reflect the environment within which we live. It will help us understand ourselves and each other.
The end result is to have karate at the heart of all communities and promote peace, thereby preserving the well-being of humanity.

Nakayama & Woon-A-Tai

In the early 1970s, Master Frank Woon-A-Tai trained in Japan receiving his 1st Degree Black Belt from the Japan Karate Association in 1971. During his time in Japan, he had the opporunity to train with many famous karate masters including Grand Master Masatoshi Nakayama.

Okazaki & Woon-A-Tai

Master Frank Woon-A-Tai would continue his training as part of the ISKF under the leadership of Master Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th Dan and Master Yutaka Yaguchi, 9th Dan. Both men trained under Masters Gichin Funakoshi & Masatoshi Nakayama.

Yaguchi & Woon-A-Tai

While part of the ISKF, Master Frank Woon-A-Tai served as co-Chairman of the ISKF Technical Committee with Master Yutaka Yaguchi, 9th Dan. 

Shotokan Tiger

Gichin Funakoshi’s pen name “Shoto” literally means ‘pine waves’, and today is synonymous with the tiger symbol and Shotokan Karate-do. But few people understand the relationship of Shoto to what is commonly known as the “Shotokan Tiger”. When Gichin Funokoshi was a young man, he enjoyed walking in solitude among the pine trees which surrounded his home town of Shuri. After a hard day of teaching in the local school and several more hours of strenuous karate practice, he would often walk up Mount Torao and meditate among the pine trees. Mount Torao is a very narrow, heavily wooded mountain which, when viewed from a distance, resembles a tiger’s tail. The name “Torao” in fact literally means “tiger’s tail”.

In later life, Funakoshi explained that the cool breezes which blew among the pines made the trees whisper like waves breaking on the shore. Thus, since he gained his greatest poetic inspirations while walking there, he chose the pen name of Shoto, “pine waves”.

The tiger which is commonly used as the symbol for Shotokan karate is a traditional Chinese design which implies that “the tiger never sleeps”. Symbolized in the Shotokan tiger, therefore, is the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger and the serenity of the peaceful mind which Gichin Funakoshi experienced while listening to the pine waves on Tiger’s Tail Mountain.

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