Our karate tradition

At the JKS Finland - Shotokan Karate Helsinki dojo we practice and teach traditional japanese shotokan style karate. We are part of the international JKS organization.

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Briefly about our karate roots and JKS organization

The Japan Karate Shotorenmei/Federation (JKS) has its roots in the earliest development of karate as a martial art. It traces back to the 19th century birth of modern karate under Gichin Funakoshi Shihan. He is considered the founder of Shotokan karate and brought karate from Okinawa to mainland Japan in the early 1900s.

Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) is often referred to as the "Father of Modern Karate". He was born in Okinawa and studied various styles of Okinawan martial arts known as "Te" under influential masters. He is credited with developing many of the basics and katas that are used in karate styles today.

Two legendary figures who shaped 20th century karate and laid the foundations for the JKS are Masao Kagawa Shihan and Tetsuhiko Asai Shihan. Nakayama Shihan was also influential in spreading karate globally as he sent instructors all over the world. Asai Shihan established the Japan Karate Shotorenmei in 1990 after a legal battle over the Japan Karate Association (JKA), which he had led for many years. Upon his passing in 2006, he left the organization in the capable hands of Kagawa Shihan, who remains Chief Instructor of the JKS today at 9th Dan rank.

Under Kagawa Shihan's guidance, the JKS has grown to become a premier organization preserving Funakoshi's traditional karate teachings. Its headquarters in Tokyo hosts seminars and training opportunities for members worldwide. Here in Finland, Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS) Finland operates directly under JKS Japan to spread traditional karate in an open and cooperative spirit. An annual trip allows members to train at the source in Japan. In this way, the JKS upholds over a century of rich heritage while embracing Funakoshi's philosophy of constant improvement and evolution in karate.

The Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS) has close alliances with prominent karate organizations around the world to further spread traditional karate. One such important relationship is with British & South African karate pioneer Norman Robinson Shihan (9th Dan).

Robinson Shihan trained extensively in Japan under the top JKA teachers of the 20th century like Nakayama Shihan. He developed a close friendship with Masao Kagawa Shihan as well over many decades of exchanging karate knowledge and culture. The mutual respect and close bond between these two grandmasters have not only ensured orthodox karate thrives under the JKS banner worldwide, but also represents the spirit of camaraderie that embodies martial traditions.

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Norman Robinson Shihan (9th Dan), Sensei Lisa-Lee Greenspan (6th Dan) and Masao Kagawa Shihan (9th Dan) at the JKS seminar in Tokyo 2023