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History of Gigo Funakoshi (details)

History of Gigo Funakoshi (details)
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Gigo Funakoshi (船越義豪) Funakoshi Gigo (Funakoshi Yoshitaka in Japanese) (1906-1945) was the third son of Gichin Funakoshi.

Through his teaching position and understanding of Japanese martial arts, Gigo  Funakoshi became the technical creator of modern shotokan karate.

In 1946 the book "Karate Do Nyumon" by Gigo and Gichin Funakoshi was released. Gigo had written the technical part, whereas his father Gichin wrote the preamble and historical parts.

While the ancient arts of To-de and Shuri-te emphasized the use and development of the upper body, open hand attacks, short distances, joint locks, basic gripping, pressure point striking and use of the front kick and variations of it, Gigō Funakoshi developed long distance striking techniques using the low stances found in old style Кendo and Iaido Kata. Gigo also developed higher kicks including Мawashi Geri (round kick), Yoko Geri Kekomi (thrusting side kick), Yoko Geri Keage (snap side kick), Fumikiri (cutting side kick directed to soft targets), Ura Mawashi Geri (quarter rotation front-round kick—though some credit Kase-sensei with the creation of this technique), Ushiro Ura Mawashi Geri (360 degrees turning round kick) and Ushiro Geri Kekomi (thrusting back kick).

Yoshitaka (Gigo) Funakoshi was especially known for his deep stances and kicking techniques, and he introduced Fudo Dachi (rooted stance/immovable stance), Yoko Geri (side kick), and Mae Geri (front kick) forms to the Shotokan style. All these techniques became part of the already large arsenal brought from the ancient Okinawan styles. Another big changement of Gigo was the introduction of the Kiba Dachi instead of Shiko Dachi and implementing the Kokutsu Dachi (which he took from japanese classical fencing or "kenjutsu") instead of Neko Ashi Dachi stance in Shotokan Kata.

Gigo's kicking techniques were performedwith a much higher knee-lift than in previous styles, and the use of the hips was emphasized.

The circumstances of the Second World War, the hard living conditions combined with the almost self-destructive training where surely reasons for Gigo’s death.

Gigo Funakoshi died on November 24th, 1945 in Tokyo in consequence of his tuberculosis disease. With him died the possibly greatest master in the history of Shotokan Karate Do.

It’s easy to speculate about how Karate would have developed if Gigo hadn’t died so early. In any case not as it developed after Gigo’s death. In his book “The Spirit of Karate”, Shigeru Egami speaks clearly about the very negative development of Karate, about the fact that Karate has developed thus that to win a competition or to learn fighting techniques has become more important than to see Karate Do as way of life. With Gigo Funakoshi the Karate world of today would surely be different.

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