Gichin Funakoshi


Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957), the founder of modern Karate-Do.

Note from Ryan Fiorenzi:  The life of Gichin Funakoshi is not as dramatic as Mas Oyamas.  But it is helpful to study the lives of masters such as his, to understand that not all martial artists fight.  Our role models are a huge influence on our life and behavior, whether we admit it or not.

Gichin Funakoshi was a humble man of great power.  It is said when he was on the mat, he was a force of nature.  Off the mat, he didn’t drink, smoke, or fight.  He was a student of calligraphy and poetry.  He dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of Karate, and his life is a contrast to the modern view of what it means to be a martial artist.

One other thing to note about the life of this Karate master is the time that he lived in.  When he began learning Karate, it was outlawed in Okinawa.  He had to train in secret.  This is one thing I personally haven’t appreciated enough- having the freedom to train martial arts without fear of punishment.

Most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students know close to nothing about the history of the martial arts, beyond what they’ve heard and read about the Gracie family.  It is a great benefit to understand even a little of the artists and arts who came before them.

*   *   *

You can read his biography on


2 Responses to “Gichin Funakoshi”

  1. Eric Pearch says:

    I’m glad you are doing this. Great article.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Eric.

Leave a Response