Gichin Funakoshi was born around 1868 in Shuri, Okinawa. While in elementary school, he became friends with Anko Azato's son and eventually began to train under Azato in Okinawan karate.
Later, Funakoshi would also train under Shorin-ryu master Anko Itosu.
The word 'shotokan' was chosen by Funakoshi's students to name his first personal dojo, in 1936 and it derives from his pen name, 'shoto', meaning 'pine waves', and 'kan', meaning hall. It soon became the name for Funakoshi's style of karate. Funakoshi died in 1957. His memorial bears the words 'Karate ni sente nashi' - 'There is no first attack in karate'.
As one might imagine, Kancho Kanazawa's karate lineage is of the first-order. A student, and later vice-captain of the infamous Takushoku University dojo for four years, he was taught by Gichin Funakoshi, and by Masatoshi Nakayama, Chief Instructor of the JKA, as well as by numerous other seniors, including Hidetaka Nishiyama and Teruyuki Okazaki.
In 1956, Kanazawa was one of only three selected to enter the newly instigated one-year JICA Instructors' Courses. Then, in 1957, at the first JKA All-Japan Championships, he won the individual kumite title despite having entered the competition with a broken hand. The following year, he won both the individual kumite and kata competitions, becoming the first JKA Grand Champion, a feat that has only been repeated five times since. In 1961 he was posted as JKA Chief lnstructor to Hawaii, returning in 1963. In 1964 he studied briefly on Okinawa, and in 1965 he came to Great Britain
Hanshi Mick Randall MBE 9th Dan started training under Master Hirokazu Kanazawa in 1965 and was one of the original founders of the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) in 1966, of Shotokan Karate International (SKI) in 1971, the English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA) in 1978 and the Shotokan Karate Association (SKA) in 1984.
SHOTO is the SHOtokan Traditional Karate Organisation (UK) founded by Hanshi Mick Randall in 1996.
Paul Wilson took up Shotokan Karate in the mid eighties and passed his Shodan in July 1990 under the watchful eye of Charles Mack.
After training for many years in the local area he was invited to join SHOTO in 2011 by Hanshi Mick Randall.
Paul was awarded his Yondan a year later in 2012 and Godan in 2017.