Different schools of karate
There are as many different schools of karate today as there were of judo and kendo in
the old days of ‘ju-jitsu’ and ‘ken-jitsu’. Generally speaking, the various schools or subsidiary
schools are named after the pioneers or experts who founded them. Not only in karate, but in all
the martial arts, each individual has his own idea of what is essential and his style will conform
to it. It doesn’t of course follow that each individual is qualified to found a ‘school’.
To make a rough classification of the different schools, which are too numerous to treat
in detail, we may distinguish two main categories. These are the ‘shorei’ and the ‘shorinji’.
Schools of the former category chiefly emphasise power through severe muscular exercise while
those of the later have as their chief aim lightning fast movement. The katas associated with
‘Shorei’ karate are therefore ‘tekki’, ‘jutte’ and ‘hangetsu’ while ‘bassai’, ‘kanku’ and ‘eubi’ belong
to the ‘Shorinji’ schools. The ‘heian’ katas
are basic and have movements common to both kinds of karate.
You will be impressed by the magnificent physique and the powerful performance of a
specialist in one or other of the ‘shorei’ schools but you may feel that his lack of mobility is a
On the other hand, quite a small man may impress you with his speed and precision in
the execution of ‘shorinji’ karate, but at the same time you may be doubtful about his want of
strength and even
Ideally, the karate apprentice will learn and assimilate into his own personal style the
merits of both kinds of karate.