Karate is defined as "empty hand"
By no means we would be able to state all facts about the development of Karate in one page, however, this is a summary of major points brought about to light by the Father of karate, Master Gichin Funakoshi.
Fourteen hundred years ago Daruma (Budhidharma), the founder of Zen Buddhism, left India to travel to China to present Buddhism studies. He continued on traveling through the years and especially to the Shao-lin Temple in Hunan Province in China to lecture there on Buddhism. Lots of his followers were unable to cope with Daruma’s tough training. He then set forth a method of developing the mind and body, telling his students, “Although the way of Buddha is preached for the soul, the body and soul are inseparable”. The method he set forth is contained in the Ekkin Kyô (Ekkin “Sutra”). The monks used their master new method and were able to recover their spiritual and physical strength. At a later time, these methods bear the name of Shôrin-ji Kempo. It was this method that eventually reached the Ryukyu Islands and developed into Okinawa-te, the ancestor of present day karate.
About 500 years ago, the famous Japanese king, Shô Hashi, united the three territories of Okinawa; a national policy was implemented forbidding the use of weapons on Okinawa. About two hundred years later, (the fourteenth year of Keichô, 1609), development of karate began as a means of unarmed self-defense.
Training in karate was always conducted with the utmost secrecy in Okinawa. It was not until the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), that the commissioner, Shintarô Ogawa, recommended to the Ministry of education and later on adopted during 1902 as part of the physical education programs of the normal and the First Public Play Fortuna schools of Okinawa Prefecture. In 1906, Master Gichin Funakoshi formed the first demonstration group to tour Okinawa. Funakoshi continued his demonstrations, receiving applaud and liking of the art. During 1916, the art was introduced to Kyoto (main land) by Master Funakoshi.
"The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants" Gichin Funakoshi, "the father of karate"
Karate in Japanese