And if the modernization of Karate was a popularity contest, the losers surely had to be the plethora of old-school Karate masters who stayed behind in Okinawa, as a handful of daredevils crossed the waters to spread their beloved art of Karate to mainland Japan… and subsequently the rest of the world.
The result was what we see today: When you ask somebody to name a couple of styles of Karate, the answer will inevitably boil down to a) the style you practise yourself, along with either b) Shotokan, c) Shito-ryu, d) Goju-ryu or e) Wado-ryu. Why? Because those were the four big (excluding Shindo Jinen-ryu and Kushin-ryu, which never became as popular for several reasons) original styles being officially recognized in Japan by the Dai Nippon Butokukai (DNBK, the official Japanese governing body of martial arts) in the 1930′s.
Hence, when you ask somebody to name-drop a couple of famous Japanese Karate teachers, you will 9 times out of 10 get the names of the founders of the above styles. Funakoshi Gichin (Shotokan), Mabuni Kenwa (Shito-ryu), Chojun Miyagi (Goju-ryu) or Ohtsuka Hironori (Wado-ryu).
The interesting thing here, of course, is… What about the guys left in Okinawa?
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