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In 1609, the island of Okinawa was invaded and occupied by Japan. The Japanese rulers were harsh and placed many restrictions on the people of Okinawa. One restriction was that the Okinawa people were not allowed to have weapons of any kind. At the same time, they were being victimized.
In response to this, the Okinawans refined and practiced martial arts in secret. The occupation of Okinawa ended in 1872. However, many styles of karate and other systems of self-defense evolved during this time.
In the early 1920’s, Gichen Funakoshi, an Okinawa schoolteacher, brought the art of Karate to Japan and founded the Shotokan style of Karate. It is not known whether Funakoshi was the best fighter of his time. However, he spoke the Japanese language, understood Japanese culture, and therefore was more accepted by the Japanese people.
Funakoshi later founded the Japan Karate Association (JKA). The JKA was principally responsible for spreading the art of Karate throughout the world.
Karate, which means “empty hand”, is a form of self defense. Karateka (karate students) use their bodies to block, punch, strike, and kick to defend themselves against attackers.
The LaSalle University Traditional Shotokan Karate Club was founded in 1995 by Sensei John Daniel. Sensei Daniel was a direct student of Master Teruyuki Okaski and trained under Shihan Osamu Ozawa. Currently Sensei Maceo Hood (Sensei Daniel’s former Assistant Instructor) serves as the club’s Instructor. Sensei Hood is assisted by Dr. Gerry Ballough who also serves as the Club’s Faculty Advisor.
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