Black Belt is running a two-part piece on the history of karate. This particular piece features an interview with one of Funakoshi’s disciples.
Until his death on April 14, 1998, Osamu Ozawa was the highest-ranked shotokan karate master in the Western hemisphere.
This article discusses what early Shotokan training was like. Lets just say that it was beyond brutal!
We had 50 makiwara (punching boards), and all the students were made to punch it with much force, more than 50 times on our first day in class. The rough straw cut through the skin of many students’ [knuckles]. More than 40 quit on the first day.
I also found this part of particular interest:
Classes in judo and kendo were mandatory for Japanese students at that point in the history of karate.
I’ll keep an eye out for part two and post a link to it when it’s up!