What is Shotokan Karate?
Shotokan karate is the system of Okinawan karate founded by Gichin Funakoshi. The name Shotokan translates to "Shoto's Place", and was the name of Master Funakoshi's first permanent dojo. Shoto was the pen name used by Master Funakoshi in his writing. The name was taken from the Japanese word shoto which means "pine-waves". Master Funakoshi choose this for his pen name as it reminded him of the sound the wind made in the pines on Mount Torao, where he would go to meditate. The word torao means "tiger's tail", and the mountain was called this because it resembled a tiger's tail from a distance. The tiger symbol of the Shotokan school is reminiscent of this special place.