A great master once said: “One thousand Karateka means one thousand different Karate but they all have the same goal.”
In 1936–37 Sensei Gichin Funakoshi established the first professional Shotokan dojo in Japan. His son, Sensei Yoshitaka Funakoshi, later took over his father’s position.
Sensei Yoshitaka Funakoshi, who had seen and been influenced by the high standards of Kendo and other martial arts, developed Karate rapidly during an intensive period of time. This development coincided with World War II, when the need for combat training was great. The leg techniques were developed and became higher, blocks and punches grew harder and the stances deeper. At this time all other scools had short techniques and high stances.
Sensei Yoshitaka Funakoshi also created Taikyoku Shodan, Taikyoku Nidan and Taikyoku Sandan Kata (Taikyoku means wide borders) containing basic techniques and Ten no Kata (Heaven’s Kata). This meant that the students right from the start got to learn purity of technique and thought and could achieve a maximum of spirit, power and speed.
It was at this time, in 1945, that Sensei Taiji Kase trained under Sensei Yoshitaka – Gigo, and his assistants. In the early 1960’s Sensei Kase travelled around the world, especially in the USA, South Africa and Europe. During these travels he spread karate to the western world, and by the start of the 1970’s karate had with his help gained millions of new practitioners all over Europe. This expansion inspired him to create a Kata, a variant of Heian called Heian-Oyo.
In 1989 Sensei Taiji Kase founded the World Karate-do Shotokan Academy (WKSA) to further develop and spread the knowledge and deep insight he has gained during more than 50 years of practicing karate and who has his roots in the Shotokan-Ryu of Sensei Yoshitaka Funakoshi. Sensei Kase has set his personal stamp on Shotokan-karate-do to such an extent that people in karate circles speak of Kase’s karate, Kase-ha.
Gi, the ideogram of WKSA, means duty. This means that you promise always to continue the Do first started by Sensei Yoshitaka Funakoshi, to continue the development and spread the knowledge.
“Karate-do ni sente nashi”
There is no first attack in karate-do!
— Gichin Funakoshi