Karate-Do as a traditional art of self-defense looks back on a history of around 2000 years. Today Okinawa, a group of islands in between Japan and China, is regarded as the cradle of this martial art. Okinawa has been influenced culturally in many different ways. A history of occupation, repression and war made Karate a means of survival. In times of occupation the local people of Okinawa were forbidden by death to carry weapons e.g. swords. Because of that Karate, the art of empty hand fighting, and Kobujutsu (traditional weapons) were practiced secretly. Kobujutsu involves training with tools of daily or agricultural use like the Bo (a long stick), the Sai (metal fork), the Tonfa (short, thick stick with handle) ot the Nunchaku (flail) etc. Karate and Kobujutsu were practiced and applied together. However quite often an unarmed fighter had to face an armed attacker and he was forced to use his trained body as a weapon. Physical ability, knowledge and control of the own skills as well as a calm state of mind and a high level of concentration are prerequisites in such a life threatening situation.
The three traditional pillars of Karate are:
• self-defense (Goshin)
• health / traditional medicine (Qi Gong)
• spiritual guidance (Do = path)
Karate was practiced as wholistic system of self-defense.
In the course of Karate´s growing popularity a lot of schools have discarded this wholistic approach in favor of a karate for sports. This leads to a neglect of the basic pillars of this art.
i-defense, Essen practice a Karate-Do according to the traditional understanding taking into account modern insights in the field of education and exercise theory.