Karate is a martial art for self defense. It uses blocks, punches, kicks and methods of moving to avoid or defeat an attacker.

Karate was organized, systematized and perfected in Okinawa in the 17th century when the island was dominated by the Japanese, who forbid the use of weapons by the inhabitants. Okinawa-te was clearly directly influenced by earlier Chinese martial arts, particularly certain styles associated with the Shaolin temples. This art was taught in secret among the populace of the Ryukyu Islands who were occupied by the Japanese. Because of the secrecy and also because of the agrarian nature of the culture, very few written records exist which document the early development of karate. Consequently, Okinawa is considered to be the birthplace of karate. There are many styles of karate existing on Okinawa , such as Goju-ryu, Ueichi-ryu, Isshin-ryu, Kempo, Shorin-ryu and others.

Each style is characterized by its own specific techniques ( details such as depth of stance, relative emphasis on straight versus circular motion and soft versus hard power), katas and philosophy. Most modern karate styles contain elements of more than one of these seminal styles. Among the natural weapons used in karate are the fist (several variations), fist edge, palm heel, both edges of the hand, the fingertips (several variations), elbow, forearm, instep, heel, the ball of the foot, the edge of the foot, the knee and parts of the head.

Although predominantly an unarmed art, karate incorporates the use of various agricultural implements as weapons such as pitchforks (sai), rice threshers (nunchaku), millwheel handles (tonfa), sickles ( kama ), sharpened coins (shuriken) and carrying poles (bo).

Recently karate has enjoyed widespread popularity because of its acceptance in America and Japan as an art which trains both mind and body.

Meriden Shorin-ryu Karate adheres to the oldest traditions and principles that make up the foundation of Shorin-ryu Karatedo. Located in Meriden CT and headed by Sensei Bill Funk, Meriden Shorin-ryu constantly strives for excellence in the accordance with the teachings passed down by grand master Eizo Shimabukuro.

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