History of Shotokan Karate

The History of Shotokan Karate

Shotokan Karate is a traditional Japanese martial art that was founded by Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi was born in Okinawa in 1868 and began training in traditional Okinawan martial arts at a young age. He became a skilled practitioner and eventually moved to Japan to spread the teachings of Karate.

Funakoshi’s philosophy of Karate emphasised the development of the whole person, including the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of training. He believed that Karate was not just a way of fighting, but a way of life. In 1922, Funakoshi demonstrated his Karate skills at the first national athletic exhibition in Tokyo, which helped to popularise the martial art in Japan.

In 1936, Funakoshi established the first Shotokan Karate dojo in Tokyo. The name “Shotokan” was chosen to honour Funakoshi’s pen name, Shoto, which means “waving pines.” The dojo quickly became popular and attracted many students, including many high-ranking members of the Japanese military.

In 1939, Funakoshi published his book “Karate-Do: My Way of Life,” which outlined his philosophy and the principles of Shotokan Karate. The book became a classic in the field of martial arts and is still widely read and respected today.

Funakoshi continued to teach and promote Shotokan Karate until his death in 1957. Today, his legacy lives on through the many practitioners and organisations around the world that continue to study and teach the martial art. Shotokan Karate has had a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals, who have been inspired by Funakoshi’s teachings and the history of this rich and vibrant martial art.

Gichin Funakoshi

Sensei Pauline Bindra

Sensei Pauline started her martial arts training in 1957, at the age of 12, at the famous Middlesbrough Judo club where she gained brown belt.

She started karate at the first club in the North of England around 1961. Her instructors were Sensei Kanazawa and Sensei Enoeda. She also trained with the legendary Sensei Richard Kim 10th Dan, head of the Zen Bei Bu Tokukai in San Francisco for approx 3 years.

She was one of the highest graded women in the world of karate. She gained her 1st Dan from Sensei Kanazawa and from then on graded by Sensei Enoeda.

She was the founder member of all the governing bodies of Karate in England from the BKCC right up to EKGB. She had held many senior posts such as National Secretary and Treasurer, and head of technical committees.

She was the toughest Karate instructor in the world! (Ask anyone who has trained with her). She taught most of England’s top Shotokan Instructors of today, who now head their own associations as 4th Dans & 5 Dans or above. Many who went on to become National and International champions, and JKA champions, in Kumite and Kata. This includes her husband Lee Bindra, chief instructor of the ISK.

She was the founder member of the KUGB which in the 70’s and 80’s was the largest karate organisation in England. It had approximately 20,000 members in its heyday and founder of Thames karate clubs, which in the late 70’s was 10,000 members strong.

As the highest ranking female in Europe and possibly worldwide she was a legend in her own life time.

She was the founder and President of Blitz the largest Martial Arts supply company in the UK and gained a degree and a Masters in Theology.

“It is not the number of trophies or Dan Grades that I have won or achieved that give me a sense of success, it is the strength and discipline of my character which has been tempered through the art of Karate and the Love of God which has helped me survive and succeed in all that I do. I thank The Lord Jesus for everything that I am and have achieved”.

Sensei Pauline was inducted into the USA Masters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Sensei Pauline Bindra
Sensei Pauline Bindra with Hirokazu Kanazawa
Sensei Pauline Bindra with Masatoshi Nakayama

Sensei Lee Bindra

Sensei Lee Bindra started karate in 1972. Taught by Sensei Pauline Bindra 8th Dan / Sensei Enoeda 9th Dan and Sensei Richard Kim 10th Dan (USA).

Sensei Lee on many National and International Kumite and Kata tournaments and member of the all styles Junior and Senior England Squad in the 70’s and 80’s.

He has taught many National and International Champions and responsible for teaching the Instructors of the ISK.

Chief instructor and Grading examiner of the ISK. Sensei Lee set up the ISK with Sensei Pauline Bindra on their return from the US. Sensei Lee has taught Shotokan karate for over 30 years and has mastered the art of many weapons such as Tonfa, Bo, Jo, Nunchaku.

Chairman of the Board of Instructors.

He is the CEO of Blitz, the largest Martial Arts supply company in the UK.

“I respect most Martial Arts but I am dedicated to self perfection through the Art of Shotokan Karate. But above all I thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me and my family.”

Sensei Lee was inducted into the USA Masters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Sensei Lee Bindra
Sensei Lee bindra

Origins of the International Shotokan Karate

The ISK was formed in 1983 by Pauline and Lee Bindra. Clubs have been running in Kent and around the surrounding areas including Bexley, Bexleyheath, Greenwich, Welling, Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley and Dartford areas. On many occasions teams from the ISK were chosen to represent many councils at the London Youth Games and many students have gone on to win many national championships.

Prior to the ISK, Sensei’s Pauline and Lee Bindra were responsible for the inception of some the largest groups of Karate clubs in the UK and had influence in some of the major governing bodies currently in existence.

Sensei Pauline Bindra, was globally the highest graded women and responsible for some of the largest karate groups in the 70’s when Karate began to grow rapidly. She appeared on many national TV stations and newspapers and was interviewed on may occasions.

The International Shotokan Karate today

At the ISK we practice and promote the style of Shotokan Karate, which is the most popular style worldwide.

The ISK has Dojos (Training Halls) such as at BexleyheathGreenwichElthamSidcupSwanley and Welling, which have been Karate Clubs for nearly 40 years.

Men – Women – Children are all welcomed. We do not discriminate and all are valued equally.

The purpose of training in the ISK is to increase fitness and health for mind, body and motivational spirit and to build a strong character through discipline and respect which will over run into your personal life. This will enable you to achieve your goals and have the right mind set for a happy, healthy life. It will also enable you to be the BEST you possibly can in all that you do.

Learn and study the art of Shotokan Karate. You will gain great Physical Co-ordination, Muscle Strength and Endurance.

The ISK is also a part of the English Karate Federation (EKF), the only English Karate Governing Body which is recognised by the sports council and the World Karate Federation (WKF), which is also recognised by the Olympic committee.

The International Shotokan Karate today