The History and Development of Shoto Budo - Compiled by Bob McCafferty 5th Dan


Billy Haggerty with Sensei Mitsusuke Harada


The Shoto Budo Organisation can proudly trace its roots in Karate Do back to Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) through one of the country's oldest traditional karate organisations founded in Great Britain in 1965 by Sensei Mitsusuke Harada (b. 1928), and to the present day with William Haggerty (b. 1950) who, together with his senior instructors, founded the Shoto Budo Organisation in 1992.

Any research into the history and development of the Asian Martial Arts and of Karate Do in particular provides anyone interested in the origins of these arts with a plethora of facts, legends, anecdotes and mythology from which to satisfy their curiosity or unravel evidence of their martial arts lineage. Much of the early Karate Do was practiced in secrecy due to the authorities outlawing all weapons in an effort to halt the increasing levels of crime and violence. This meant that often karate was passed on from a master to his student in the cultural traditions of the time which explains the lack of written material in the early history of the arts.

That said, the Asian Martial Arts are considered to be a blend of early Chinese and Indian martial arts influences that emerged around 600 BCE as a result of extensive trade between these two nations with the word being spread by diplomats, merchants, and monks travelling the Silk Road.

It is also believed that during the Warring States period of Chinese history (c. 480-221 BCE) extensive development in martial philosophy and strategy emerged, as described by Sun Tzu in The Art of War (6th Century BCE).

And yet again, an early legend tells of a Zen Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma, who travelled to the Shaolin Monastery and taught the martial virtues of discipline, humility, restraint and respect attributed to his philosophy.

Early Origins - Bodhidharma

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