Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On September - 3 - 2013

logoIf you are associated with a Shotokan style, then you have seen the Shotokan Tiger. This image has been incorporated in to many different organization logos to show that they are a shotokan style.

First let’s start with the name of the style, Shotokan. Master Funakoshi wrote poetry and signed his work with his pen name, “Shoto”. Shoto literally means “pine waves”. Where did this name come from?

When Master Funakoshi was young, he would enjoy walking alone through the pine trees which surrounded his home of Shuri. The Father of Modern Karate would spend his days teaching elementary school then would spend his nights practicing karate. When he had free time, he would stroll up Mt. Torao and meditate under the stars amidst the pines. He would later write down his thoughts. Mt. Torao is a very narrow, heavily wooded mountain. When viewed from a distance, it resembles a tiger’s tail and the name Torao literally means “tiger’s tail”.

Master Funakoshi would, much later in his life, explain that the cool breeze that blew through the pines on Mt. Torao made a whisper like waves breaking on the shore. Mt. Torao’s forest inspired Master Funakoshi so much that it inspired his pen name. When his students built his first official dojo, they used the pen name to honor him. The dojo was named the Shotokan literally, Pine Wave’s School.

The tiger which is commonly used as the symbol for Shotokan karate is a traditional Chinese design which implies that “the tiger never sleeps”. Symbolized in the Shotokan tiger, therefore is the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger and the serenity of the peaceful mind which Master Funakoshi experienced while listening to the pine waves on Tiger’s Tail Mountain.

Categories: Teaching/Training

Leave a Reply

Featured Posts

I’m a Sensei!

What makes a person a Sensei? There are a lot of factors involved but what gives a person the ability to call themselves Sensei? Ok, first what does the word mean? Sensei translates to “one who has gone before” or “one who has walked the path ahead”. It synonymous with the term “teacher” but in […]

It is my instructor’s fault!

This happens often, a student or parent complains that the outcome of their testing was not what they expected. The student isn’t successful or gets a low level pass so they blame the results on the examiner or the instructor. Then they either give up, change to a different dojo or different style. The problem […]


Achieving a goal is something that is to be celebrated but don’t fixate on it. As a white belt the main goal is to become a black belt. This is true but each beginner should start off with basic goals, learn how to tie your belt, memorise the first kata and learn all of the […]

2017 IKD World Camp

In 2 weeks, the IKD will hold the 6th IKD World Honbu Camp. The organisation has grown with leaps and bounds over the past few years and recently expanded into Australia. Each year at Camp there has been a theme, last year was kobudo, weapons. This year will have two themes. The Science of Karate […]

Search my site

Twitter Updates

No public Twitter messages.