Different Schools of Karate


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.