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Karate can be traced to the Okinawan techniques collectively referred to as Okinawa-Te (Okinawa hand). This system of self defense is a descendent of the ancient Chinese art of Chun-fa or Kempo. The man most responsible for the systemization of modern day karate is Gichin Funakoshi.  Born in Okinawa in 1869, he is credited with the introduction of karate to Japan in 1917 with formal expositions sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education. In 1948, Master Funakoshi organized the Japan Karate Association (JKA) and served as its head master until his death in 1957.

Master Masatoshi Nakayama, a student of Master Funakosi since 1931, was appointed chief instructor of the JKA in 1955 and directed the technical development of the organization. Master Nakayama introduced karate as a sport and is largely responsible for the popularity and propagation of karate internationally. Master Nakayama died in 1987 at the age of 74.

Master Teruyuki Okazaki, also a student of Masters Funakoshi and Nakayama, organized the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF), which has over 50,000 members in more than 35 countries. In 2007 the ISKF severed its membership in the JKA and is enjoying tremendous growth as an independent entity. As Chairman and Chief Instructor of the ISKF, Master Okazaki travels throughout the world conducting clinics and examinations. The ISKF has a rigorous 3 year training program for students with an interest and aptitude for teaching. Upon graduation, trainees are licensed by the ISKF and have world­wide recognition as instructors, examiners and tournament officials.


The Shotokan Karate Club of Maryland (SKCM) is a member of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF). For more than 40 years the SKCM has taught traditional Japanese karate in the Baltimore metropolitan area. The club is a non profit entity dedicated to the propagation of Shotokan karate as taught by Master Funakoshi.