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.

*Tiger Cubs Ages 6-9 for our youngest “Karateka”. Ages 6-9 years learning basic techniques, dojo etiquette and respect. Classes are kept shorter, 45-60 minutes to coincide with the younger attention span.

*Beginner Adults down to youth, age 9. Classes are divided into three segments; Kata, Kihon and Kumite. Elementary concepts such as stance, breathing, posture, foot work, center, hips and focus are emphasized at all times.

*Advanced Shotokan, at a 3kyu rank, Karateka receive a brown belt. From that point forward their karate focus is on perfecting their techniques in order test for a black belt. The Kata they learn is more advanced, the expectations for them are higher and their fighting skills greatly improve. They learn to teach the elementary concepts to lower ranked students. Their empty-hand-way becomes more and more their own.

Our Instructors:

Claude Smith is currently a Nidan and has been studying Shotokan karate since 1993. He is a former Chief Instructor with another national Shotokan organization, and he has trained extensively with still another. He has won several leadership awards, served as a Board Member, and has founded several karate clubs. His main area of interest is in self defense and practical application. Claude joined the United Karate Associations International in 2008 in order to further his study in those topics with like-minded individuals.

Dana Baldwin is a first Dan. She began her karate training in 2011 and earned her black belt in 2018. In Shotokan students begin “giving back” by teaching in the upper ranks. Dana has been teaching our youngest Karateka and assisting up the ranks.

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Congratulations Dana-

2018 RMC, our newest black belt.

2018 Beginner Training Camp, Great Falls 2019

2018 Beginner Training Camp, Great Falls 2019

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Mother - Daughter Personal Defense Training

May, 2019