Karate Timeline

Timeline 100 Important dates in the history of Karate and our Dojo
Mankind Native fighting systems emerge around the world
336-323  BC Alexander the Great conquers and spreads martial arts (Greek Pankration) around the world including India
circa 550 Indian Prince Bodhidarma spreads Buddhism to China:  Folklore links him to the Shaolin monks and birth of kung fu (Chinese Kenpo)
1156 Samurai class emerges (bushido “warrior” code born)
circa 1372 Okinawa begins trade relations with China introducing foreign fighting systems (such as Chinese Kenpo) to Ryu Kyu Islands
1470 Okinawan King Shō Shin bans swords in Okinawa (Kobudo is developed)
1609 Okinawa conquered by Shimazu Clan, Weapons banned.  Underground (secret fighting arts develop)
Circa 1800 Matsumura “Bushi” Sōkon born (student of Kanga Sakukawa) who would teach Master Itosu and Asato
1868 Gichin Funakoshi Born
1879 Funakoshi learns “tode” Tang (China Hand) sometimes called Okinawa-“te” under Asato (who he was friends with his son) and Itosu
1891 As early as 1891 the Japanese army showed interest in Okinwan “te” but it was too disorganized / no standards (Itosu would modernize karate)
1882 Jigoro Kano modifies traditional Japanese Jujutsu to develop Judo
1889 Funakoshi becomes school teacher in Okinawa
1895 Dai Nippon Butoku Kai 大日本武徳会  (The Great Martial Virtues Association of Japan) preserve, promote and standardize Japanese budo traditions. Endorsed by Emperor Meiji under the Ministry of Education.
1901 Funakoshi & Itosu demonstrate for Shintaro Ogawa (school commisioner) for Kagoshima Prefecture.  Permission granted to teach in public schools
1902 Funakoshi & Itosu introduce Tode to the Prefectural Diaichi Middle School
1905 Itosu introduces students to Pinan katas (extracted from Kanku Dai) as physcial education.  Funakoshi would later rename them as Heian
1905 Hanashiro Chomo publishes  “Karate Gumite” (Shoshu Hen) the fist  documented text using  空 meaning “empty” (transition to Japanese Zen) Chomo an assistant of Itosu at at First Prefecture Junior High School
1908 Itosu publishes “Tode Jukun” his 10 precepts (to explain the benefits of karate) emphasis on health and fitness to spead in Okinawan schools
1911 Dai Nippon Butoku Kai establishes the “Budo Semmon Gakko” (Martial Ways Specialty School) Japan’s West Point Academy  mandated judo and kendo courses in all middle schools
1912 Funakoshi became president of Okinawan Shobukai (martial spirit promotion society)
1915 Itosu dies (Funakoshi carries the torch)
1917 Funakoshi is invited by Dai Nippon Butoku Kai to peform at the Butoku-den in Kyoto (the first demonstration of toudi-jutsu in Japan)
1920 Mitsuyo Maeda (student of Kano) travels to Brazil to spread judo.  Teaches Carlos Gracie – the birth of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
1921 Funakoshi’s big break:  He demonstrates karate for visiting Crown Prince Hirohito (later Emperor Hirohito) in Great hall of Shuri Castle.  Hirohito was very impressed
1922 Shobukai is invited by Ministry of Education to demonstrate at the All-Japan Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo.  Funakoshi is selected, and the Karate boom begins.  Kano, founder of Judo was in attendance.
1922 Kano invites Funakoshi to the Kodokan.  Funakoshi performs Kushanku (Kanku Dai) and Makoto Gima Naihanchi (Tekki Shodan).  Kano and Funakoshi share ideas
1922 Funakoshi publishes “Ryukyu Kenpo Tode” (Shotokan Tiger created for book cover) Kenpo is Japanese pronunciation of Quan fa meaning “fist law” Tōde 唐手 is China “Tang” Hand
1923 Funakoshi awards his first rank “1st Dan” to his assistant Makoto Gima. Dai Nippon Butokukai wanted standards *ranks, belts, uniforms
1924 First college karate club established Keio University
1925 Funakoshi publishes “Rentan Goshin Toudi-jutsu” (Polish your courage for self defense)
1928-1935 More than 30 clubs estalbished at Japanese universities
1930 Shotokai 松濤會 meaning Shoto’s Group was established by Funakoshi to promote karate.  In 1936 it was renamed Dai Nihon Karate-do Shotokai.
1930s Political push to nationalize “karate” (remove Okinawan and Chinese terms, etc.) Pinan becomes Heian etc.
mid 1930s Takeshi Shimoda (Funakoshi’s top assistant dies) Gigo Funakoshi assumes the position and begins to modernize Shotokan Karate with lower stances and more explosive power
1935 Jiyu Kumite (free sparring) introduced
1936 Funakoshi publishes “Karate-do Kyohan” 教範  or “teaching methods”  Funakoshi publishes the kanji  空 (kara) meaning “empty” instead of 唐 (kara).  空 gives a “Zen” philosophy of emptiness
FYI 空 “empty” as in karaoke or empy orchestra (Music void needs filled)  Chinese pronunciation is “ku” kuki means atmospshere.  Kara/Ku is philosophical (sunyata is a cosmic emptiness) no boundaries/limitless
1939 First free standing dojo opened named “Shotokan”
1939-1945 WWII (soliders staitoned in Okinawa spread karate to America upon return) *During the occupation General MacArhtur disbanded the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai and other military organizations
1943 Funakoshi publishes “Karate-do Nyumon”  Nyumon means “introduction”
1945 Gigo Funakoshi Dies
1945 Shotokan Dojo destroyed in allied bombing
1946 First karate school in mainland United States opened by Robert Trias (Shuri-ryu)
1948 Unites States Karate Association (USKA) founded by Robert Trias
1949 Nihon Karate Kyokai (JKA) organized and led by Nakayama
1952 Tsutomu Oshima created organized rules for class sparring (before tournament competition existed)
1953 Air Force Stategic Air Command (SAC) General Curtis LeMay invited Nishiyama to tour of American Air Bases and teach
1953 Mas Oyama tours United States giving demonstrations of strength and power
1955 Tsutomu Oshima attends USC (1957 sets up the first university club at Caltech and is promoted to 5th Dan by Funakoshi)
1955 Shihan Bill Viola Sr. begins boxing lessons in Brownsville, PA under Marion “Slugger” Klingensmith
1955 First karate tournament in America hosted by Robert Trias” 1st Arizona Karate Championships” at the Butler Boys’ Club in Phoenix
1956 Karate-Do Ichiro (Karate-do, My Way of Life) 空手道一路 / published
1957 JKA becomes legal entity and incorporates as education body under Ministry of Education
1957 Master Funakoshi dies
1957 First All Japan Karate-do Championship in Tokyo (Nakayama waited until Master Funakoshi passed away)
1958 Oshima produces Nisei Week Karate Championships
1959 Bruce Lee arrive in America and teaches Wing Chun / Oshima establishes Shotokan Karate of America (SKA)
1961 In May Okazaki arrives in Philadelphia as first official JKA instructor in United States. In 1962 he sets up East Coast Karate Association (branch of the AAKF).
1961 In July Oshima requests Nishiyama to preside over his students while he traveled.  Nishiyama founds AAKF (branch of JKA) and hosts All American Karate Championships (Arrangement turned bitter). SKA vs JKA
1962 North American Karate Championships (Madison Square Garden) Highlights:  Mas Oyama Demo, Gary Alexander won Sparring
1963 1st World Karate Tournament (University of Chicago) Trias and John Keehan (later called USKA Grand Nationals)
1964 Ed Parker  Long beach Internationals (Famous Bruce Lee Demo that landed him Green Hornet role)
Mid 1960s Shihan Viola is introduced to karate by an older friend Medick Capirano who learned martial arts in ROTC
Mid 1960s Shihan Viola joins a dojo under the direction of JKA and Okazaki (East Coast Karate Association)
Late 1960s Shihan Viola begins teaching private lessons in Brownsville.  His first student was Denny Costello (Cal U Football Player and friend)
1968 Jim Harrison hosts he “1st Professional Karate Tournament” in Kansas City won by Joe Lewis
1969 Shihan Viola establishes Allegheny Shotokan Karate at East Allegheny
1969 Keith Bertuluzzi – first official Allegheny Shotokan Karate dojo student (fellow teacher at East Allegheny)
1970 First WUKO World Championship in Tokyo
1971 Sensei Ray Adams joins the dojo
1973 Bruce Lee film “Enter the Dragon” is released (martial arts boom in America)
Mid 1970s Jack Bodell earns the first black belt at Allegheny Shotokan (Bodell was a member of The United States Secret Service, protecting President Jimmy Carter)
1974 Professional Karate Association founded (Kickboxing) Mike Anderson and Don & Judy Quine – Regular of ABC Wide World of Sports / ESPN
1975 JKA Sponsored IAKF Tournament was held in United States which eventually became the Shoto World Cup – ippon-shobu (downing the opponent with one blow)
1977 Sensei Bill Viola Jr. born
1979 CV (Caliguri and Viola) Productions founded (The first mixed martial arts company in America)
1980 Sensei Ray Walters joins the dojo
1980 CV Productions invents the Tough Guy Contest (The first mixed martial arts competition and league in America)
1980 Dave Jones wins TKO victory over Mike Murray in the first mixed martial arts championships in the United States
1981 5th WUKO World Championships: Tokey Hill wins America’s first Gold Medal in Kumite (Billy Blanks, Silver)
1983 Tough Guy Law signed into law by Governor Thornburgh (Banning mixed martial arts in PA) The first legal precedent in US history
1985 USA Karate Federation (USAKF) becomes NGB for karate under WUKO a member of International Olympic Committee (President George Anderson)
1985 Nishiyama establishes ITKF and feuds with WUKO
1989 Robert Trias dies
1989 Allegheny Shotokan becomes RSO (Regional Sports Organization) for USAKF under the United States Olympic Committee
1990 JKA splits into two factions: Asai (instructor end) vs Nakhara (business end)
1992 Shihan Viola and George Anderson host the USAKF Jr. Olympics at Pitt Fieldhouse
1993 First Ultimate Fighting Championship won by Royce Gracie
1995 George Anderson and USAKF joins the Pan-American Games (Argentina)
1996 USA National Karate-do Federation (USANKF) becomes NGB for Karate in America (Led by Julius Thiry)
1998 Arnold Schwarzenegger recognized Allegheny Shotokan as the #1 team in America
1999 Doug Selchan wins Kumite Gold at the 1999 Pan American Games
1999 Kumite Classic Entertainment is established (Sensei Bill Jr.’s production company)
2009 George Anderson Dies
2011 Western PA Sports Museum (Heinz History Center) in conjunction with Smithsonian Institute establishes an exhibit to honor Shihan as co-creator of the sport of MMA
2017 Tough Guys (Film based on the life of Shihan Viola) and inspired by Sensei Bill Jr.’s book “Godfathers of MMA”
2019 Viola Karate Dojo 50 Year Anniversary
2020 Karate is an Olympic Sport