History of Karate-Do

Karate was orginally known as Te and began in Okinawa. Okinawa is an island in the Ryukyu chain extending from southern Japan towards China. It was a key port for trading. Through trade, Chinese and Okinawan traders began exchanging culture. One of the exchanges included Chinese Kung Fu, primarily the Southern Style.
This was incorporated into traditional Okinawan fighting arts. Traditional fighting arts and weapons were banned when the Japanese conquered the Ryukyu islands. But training continued in secret. Exchanges of martial arts between China and Okinawa continued.
In 1908, karate was introduced into the Okinawan school system. From this period right through to the 1920s and 1930s, karate was introduced to mainland Japan.
Many Okinawan practitioners went to Japan and did karate demonstrations and taught karate. Chogun Miyagi, Kenwa Mabuni and Gichin Funakoshi were the famous ones.
Gichin Funakoshi started the karate school that became Shotokan.
It was during this period that Karate changed it's meaning from Chinese Hands to Empty hands and was accepted as part of the Japanese budo (martial arts). It adopted the belt system and uniform of Judo, names of kata were changed to fit into the Japanese culture.
After World War Two, when foreign soldiers were stationed in Japan and it's territories, foreigners became exposed to the various martial arts of Japan. One of them was karate. Once they have completed their stay in Japan, the soldiers returned home taking their martial arts to Europe and US.
Japan Karate Association also embarked on a program to spread karate around the world and sent their best and brightest instructors overseas to establish and teach karate. Famous instructors that spread karate around the world included Sensei Nakayama, Sensei Kanazawa, Sensei Nishiyama and Sensei Okazaki just to name a few.

Chidokan Karate-Do

Chidokan was formed from Shotokan Karate-Do and was founded by two students of Gichin Funakoshi, Hanshi Sasaki and Kyoshi Sasaki on 8 November 1954.


Kyoshi Sensei Clutterbuck first trained under Kancho Sensei Jack Sims in New Zealand and later travelled to train directly with Hanshi and Kyoshi Sasaki in Japan.


Our Dojo was founded in 1969 by Kyoshi Sensei Clutterbuck after he completed his training as an Uchi Deshi at the Hombu Dojo in Japan. The Dojo was first opened at the North Sydney Police Boys Club on Falcon Street in 1969 and decades later, we are proud to still be training there.
Chidokan Australia is currently a member of the Australian Traditional Karate-Do Federation.

Kata at the heart of Chidokan.

Kata is a set of movements in a pattern that a practitioner follows. Kata was used to transmit combat principles from master to student through the ages. Before the modernisation of karate, kata was kept secret between karate masters and they only knew one or two kata, three at the most. That's because kata had all the combat principles of the master and mastery would take decades or a lifetime.


In modern karate, practitioners would learn dozens of kata and the literal interpretation of the moves. The application would be karate attacks coming from multiple directions with fantastic acrobatic and unrealistic attacks and counters. This gives the impression that kata is an anachronistic exercise that has no combat value.


In Chidokan, we practice kata and apply the techniques against common attacks like haymakers, grabs etc. We practice the four parts of kata training:

  • solo practice of the kata
  • learn the application of the kata in two-person drills
  • learn and embody the combat principles of the kata
  • kata based sparring


Our foundational and basic exercises are all focused on improving our techniques for kata.


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