IKD Karate Manitoba

general Information about IKD Karate Manitoba

What is Shotokan Karate? Master Gichin Funakoshi

Shotokan ( Shōtōkan-ryū?) is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1968–1957). Gichin was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing karate through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of university karate clubs

Funakoshi had many students at the university clubs and outside dojos, who continued to teach karate after his death in 1957. However, internal disagreements (in particular the notion that competition is contrary to the essence of karate) led to the creation of different organizations—including an initial split between the Japan Karate Association (headed by Masatoshi Nakayama) and the Shotokai (headed by Motonobu Hironishi and Shigeru Egami), followed by many others—so that today there is no single "Shotokan school", although they all bear Funakoshi's influence. Being one of the first and biggest styles, Shotokan is considered a traditional and influential form of karate.



Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts:

  • kihon (basics)
  • kata (forms or patterns of moves)
  • kumite (sparring).
"The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the characters of its participants"
Master Gichin Funakoshi



Gichin Funakoshi laid out the Twenty Precepts of Karate, (or Niju kun) which form the foundations of the art, before some of his students established the JKA. Within these twenty principles, based heavily on Bushido and Zen, lies the philosophy of Shotokan. The principles allude to notions of humility, respect, compassion, patience, and both an inward and outward calmness. It was Funakoshi's belief that through karate practice and observation of these 20 principles, the karateka would improve their person.

“One of the most striking features of karate is that it may be engaged in by anybody, young or old, strong or weak, male or female.”
Master Gichin Funakoshi


"The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant."
Master Gichin Funakoshi


  The Dojo kun lists five philosophical rules for training in the dojo; seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor to excel, respect others, refrain from violent behavior. The Dojo kun is usually posted on a wall in the dojo, and shotokan clubs recite the Dojo kun at the end of each class to provide motivation and a context for further training.

Twenty Precepts (Guiding Principles) of Karate:

  1. Karate-do begins and ends with bowing.
  2. There is no first strike in karate.
  3. Karate stands on the side of justice.
  4. First know yourself, then know others.
  5. Mentality over technique.
  6. The heart must be set free.
  7. Calamity springs from carelessness.
  8. Karate goes beyond the dojo.
  9. Karate is a lifelong pursuit.
  10. Apply the way of karate to all things. Therein lies its beauty.
  11. Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state.
  12. Do not think of winning. Think, rather, of not losing.
  13. Make adjustments according to your opponent.
  14. The outcome of a battle depends on how one handles emptiness and fullness (weakness and strength).
  15. Think of hands and feet as swords.
  16. When you step beyond your own gate, you face a million enemies.
  17. Formal stances are for beginners; later, one stands naturally.
  18. Perform prescribed sets of techniques exactly; actual combat is another matter.
  19. Do not forget the employment of withdrawal of power, the extension or contraction of the body, the swift or leisurely application of technique.
  20. Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way.

    Master Gichin Funakoshi

International Karate Daigaku

Frank Woon-a-tai (1964–), 8th dan, born in Guyana, and began training in 1964. He holds a B.A degree in Japanese Studies and History from the University of Toronto. In January 2011, he resigned from the ISKF as Chairman and Technical Director of ISKF Canada, and co-vice Chairman of the ISKF Technical Committee to establish the International Karate Daigaku (IKD) an organization of over 80 dojo(s) in several countries. The IKD has begun its operation in three regions: Canada, The Caribbean and South America and is expected to grow rapidly to the rest of the world.

Master Woon-A-Tai is Kancho (Founder) and Shuseiki Shihan (Chief Instructor) of the IKD. Throughout his distinguished career, he served as first president of the Caribbean Karate College and as chief instructor of Jamaica from 1976 to 1980. He is a founder and chief instructor of JKA/ISKF Guyana, and the Guyana Karate College. He founded the Toronto JKA in 1981, and is presently Chairman and Chief Instructor of the Toronto Karate Daigaku, Ontario Karate College, IKD Ontario and IKD Canada.

After studying karate in Japan in the early 1970s, he continued his training, until recently, under the Master Teruyuki Okazaki, 10th Dan for 40 years. He also trained under Masters: Yutaka Yaguchi, 9th Dan, Hidetaka Nishiyama, 10th Dan, and the great Masatoshi Nakayama, 10th Dan – all JKA legends. He credits Anthony Gomes as his administration mentor. They met in the late 1960s in Guyana and through Anthony’s efforts he moved to Jamaica.

Master Woon-A-Tai was the first Canadian/Guyanese graduate of the JKA/ISKF Instructor Training Institute, and a 1978 Pan American kata champion. He is a recipient of the French Guiana National Medal of Service for over 25 years of karate service in that country. In 2005, he was inducted in the ISKF Canada Hall of Honour. In 2009, he received the Mayor of Georgetown’s Award for his lifetime of service to the youth of Guyana. He produced two DVDs; Eclipse of Life (1997), and Soul of Kata (2000).

A dedicated teacher, he has produced regional, national, Pan American and world karate champions, all of whom have outstanding tournament records. He hosted the prestigious 2008 ISKF World Shoto Cup in Toronto, and in 2010, the 11th ISKF Pan American Karate Championships in Guyana. This event was attended by His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo and was co-sponsored by the Guyana Government. At the same event, His Honour, the Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green presented Master Okazaki with the ‘Key to the City’.

Master Woon-A-Tai received his first degree black belt in 1971 from the Japan Karate Association in Tokyo, and his eighth degree black belt from Masters Okazaki and Yaguchi in 2008. He also received his A class Instructor, A class Examiner, and A class Judge licences at the same time. In turn, he has produced thousands of black belt students ranging from first to seventh dan as well as several international instructors, examiners and judges.

His main focus is to promote traditional karate in its purest form, but relevant in the 21st Century.

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Everyone who trains in karate must know the dojo kun.  At the end of each training session — at the dojo, after class, or after a tournament, — the dojo kun is repeated all together by the students as a reminder of why we train.

The dojo kun states the basic philosophy of karate, according to its founder Master Gichin Funakoshi.  Master Funakoshi believed that, for the true karate-ka, the dojo kun should not only be considered a set of rules of conduct in the dojo, but a guide to everyday life.   Everything we learn in the dojo, we should apply to everyday life.

English translation (traditional):


Japanese translation:


        Click to listen to the Dojo Kun in Japanese

What it Means

Seek Perfection of Character - Jinkaku kansei ni tsutomuru koto

This is the ultimate goal of karate.   The other four principles of the dojo kun, as well as the entire nijyu kun, all tell us what it means to seek perfection of character—how we can go about pursuing this highest objectives.  But this is the most important thing.  We seek perfection of character from the inside out.  It is something we should do every moment of every day of our lives.

This means we should never stop learning.  Karate training, like life itself, is an ongoing process of growth and personal education, a process that lasts for a lifetime.   It is good to set goals, but as soon as we accomplish them, it is important to set our sights on the next goal, to improve.  To seek perfection of character is to always seek to improve oneself, to always endeavor to learn and grow.  

Be Faithful - Makoto no michi o mamoru koto

To be faithful means to be sincere in everything you do.  Here we are talking about making a total effort, all the time, in whatever you do.  

To be faithful of course means that you have to be true to other people, to your obligations—but it also means you have to be true to yourself.  And to do so means you have to do your best in everything you do.

When you are faithful to yourself, others will have faith in you.  This creates mutual trust between people.  Being faithful to yourself is essential to realizing the first goal of being the best person you can be.

Endeavor to Excel - Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto

Try hard at everything you do.  No matter what you are doing, whether it’s training, working, having a relationship—give it one hundred percent.  To do anything else is to cheat yourself and others.  If you don’t endeavor to do your best, you are not being faithful to yourself and others, and you are not trying to seek perfection of character.

Respect Others - Reigi o omonzuru koto

A true martial artist always shows respect to other people.  And it is something you ought to feel in your heart.  Showing respect is a sign of humility, and humility is necessary for an open mind, which it turn is necessary to learn, to grow.  You can always learn something from every person you meet.  Likewise, every person you encounter is a possible opponent of some kind, and that opponent can pose a threat to you, physical or otherwise.  In either case, if you respect everyone, you will more clearly see things for what they are, and you will be able to get the most of every experience. 

Refrain from Violent Behavior - Keki no yu o imashimuru koto

This is a reminder to keep calm inside.   Control yourself at all times, from within.   Conflict within is a form of violence.  It leads to violent actions, which is something you should try to avoid at all costs.   A martial artist should always be in control, and that begins with an inner calmness, with peace of mind.  If you are forced to defend yourself as a last resort, then it is all right to do so.  But you will only be successful defending yourself when you maintain a calm, clear mind, in which case using karate technique to protect yourself will truly be your reaction of last resort.  

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Updated: March 10, 2014