Shotokan is a form of empty hand fighting that utilizes the body as a weapon created by Master Gichin Funakoshi. Shotokan training is divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring). Techniques in kihon and kata are characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs.
Shotokan is regarded as a dynamic martial art as it develops anaerobic, powerful techniques as well as developing speed. Initially strength and power are demonstrated instead of slower, more flowing motions. Those who progress to brown and black belt level develop a much more fluid style that incorporates grappling and some Aikido-like techniques, which can be found in the black belt Kata. Kumite (fighting) techniques are practiced in the Kihon and Kata and developed from basic to advanced levels with an opponent.
The philosophy of Shotokan is heavily on Bushido (code of the samurai) and Zen (mindful meditation). The principles allude to notions of humility, respect, compassion, patience, and both an inward and outward calmness. There are five philosophical rules for training in the dojo; seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor to excel, respect others, and refrain from violent behavior. These rules are called the Five Maxims of Karate. Funakoshi also wrote: "The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant."