“After years of research, Egami found an efficient way of striking by executing the movement in a relaxed state of mind and body. This is the basis of Shotokai. It focuses on suppleness and relaxation, as opposed to tenseness that generates force. Elaborating this basic idea, he suggested new forms of techniques and a new way of practising.
Shotokai refrains from competition because Gichin Funakoshi used to say that there are no contests in Karate. Master Egami wrote: “First of all, we must practise Karate like a combat technique and then, with time and experience, we will be able to understand a certain state of soul and will be able to open ourselves to the horizons of ‘jita-ittai’ (the union of one with the other) which lay beyond fighting. This is the principle of coexistence which enables us to live together in prosperity.”
Shotokai is the keeper of Gichin Funakoshi’s Karate heritage and has for example republished his books during the years. It has also kept the art of Shotokan Karate weaponry (primarily bo/kon in Japanese) in practice schedule.”
“Shotokai Karate differs much from Shotokan in that it emphasizes spiritual practice over competitive tournaments. The traditional kata are practiced in the same way as in other forms of karate, although Shotokai often emphasizes smooth, flowing movements rather than the sharp, snappy movements of other styles. Kumite (sparring) in some Shotokai schools is practiced with full strength attacks, and is tightly controlled in terms of who is attacking and defending and the attacks that can be performed in order to reduce the chance of injury. The essence of Shoto-Kai is found in the technique called ‘irimi’. Irimi is the ability to predict an opponent’s intent and attack, thus catching the opponent very early. A seasoned practitioner can sense the opponent’s intentions often before there is any visible movement, which is the ultimate fulfillment of Funakoshi’s statement that ‘there is no first attack’ in karate. Irimi is a profound and distinguishing element of Shoto Kai practice.”