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Shotokan is one of the first and most widely practiced styles of modern karate. It includes low stances and hard techniques, with a lot of practice on kihon, kata and kumite. The Shotokan practitioners attach great importance to the historical background of karate and thus honor a long tradition.

The name was introduced in 1939, when Gichin Funakoshi's first karate dojo was opened. Shotokan literally means school of Shoto. Shoto, which means pine trees, is the poet's name of Gichin Funakoshi. The rustling of the pine trees gave him inspiration for his poems and the peace and quiet needed to practice karate. This first karate school was destroyed in 1945 in an American air raid.