Since its development in the Kingdom of Ryukyu (in the region where today is the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa) to the present day, the martial art that we now know as “karate” underwent major transformations.
Originally, it consisted of a complete system of traditions, knowledge, methods and highly effective techniques for hand-to-hand fighting and preservation of the life of the practitioners and the people protected by them. This system, hitherto transmitted only in secret to very few people, in the early twentieth century started being taught to large groups of students – and has become one of the most practiced martial arts in the world. However, along with the massification of karate, much of its original teachings have been distorted, barely passed on to students and future instructors, or even forgotten (sometimes lost in secrets that have not been passed on). As a result, the modern form taught today in most schools is completely different from ancient karate in almost every aspect of art.
Many karate followers saw these changes as natural and unavoidable, and that there was no cause for concern, for to them the ancient knowledge was unnecessary in the modern world – and the transformation of karate into a mere fighting sport and modern budo would be an inevitable and even desirable transformation. So today most practitioners and even instructors simply do not know (or do not care) about the fact that the karate they have learned and sometimes even teach is vastly different from the ancient martial art of Okinawa (though several ancient masters have attested and emphasized the existence of these differences).
But not everyone was satisfied with the abandonment of old karate and the original fighting power of the art. Throughout the twentieth century and especially in recent decades, karate masters in Okinawa, as well as scholars from around the world, have begun an effort to rediscover the ancient karate. Many traveled to the region where karate was born, to study the remaining documents and to learn from the local masters. Several of these masters finally decided to openly teach information that until then was transmitted to very few – now to ensure that their knowledge will not die, and hopefully to reverse the process of disfiguration that art has been through. This movement has taken on great proportions in recent years, driven by the revolution of communications and the hard work of determined researchers.
It was in this context that the Brazilian researcher Samir Berardo founded the Muidokan Karate Kenkyukai – a society of practitioners passionate about this martial art, with the aim of researching, practicing, preserving and promoting karate in its original form and foundations, as an art of self-defense and preservation of life. This society develops research projects and offers the public content that leads to a greater understanding of ancient karate – all with the deepest respect for each and every one of those who dedicate and have dedicated themselves to karate, and for the general public alike. Muidokan also maintains contact and exchanges with great instructors, researchers and practitioners around the world, and develops a unique and remarkable project on the recovery of the original foundations of art, especially in the area that is probably the most fascinating and misunderstood in karate – the study of kata, its meaning and its fighting applications (study popularly known as bunkai).
With this worldwide phenomenon, karate is now experiencing a real revolution and a return to its origins, and Muidokan, its associates and supporters, are part of this revolution.