Geoffrey Wingard 2016

Geoffrey Wingard

University of Maine


Proposal: Shotokan’s Unfulfilled Pedagogy: Funakoshi as educator


Funakoshi’s dream of developing a global form of karate, a martial art defined by individual endeavor and temperament rather than style, was cut short by the ravages of the Second World War and the death of his son and heir. The Shotokan karate recognized throughout the world today, while powerful, beautiful and ubiquitous, reflects neither the style of karate that Funakoshi brought to Japan from Okinawa nor the karate envisioned by its founder.

Funakoshi was an educator and he applied his pedagogical expertise to the development of a methodology for transmitting and disseminating his art. This method, which embraced a holistic and constructive approach to karate training, was reflected in his writings and recorded practice, but was not well understood during his lifetime and has not been adopted by the mainline karate organizations that have inherited the Shotokan mantle.

This talk will identify the vision and pedagogical components of Funakoshi’s unrealized karate, provide clues to his version of a global martial art from translated English-language source material and describe why Funakoshi’s method was not widely adopted following his death during the post-War period of globalization that gave rise to the so-called “Golden Age” of the Shotokan movement.


Biographical Note:


Geoffrey Wingard began practicing martial arts in 1984 and began training in Shotokan karate in 1994. He is nidan in Shotokan karate and chodan in Moo duk kwan (Korean karate). Mr. Wingard holds Masters degrees in Asian history and education. He was a featured presenter at the inaugural Budo Symposium at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His published work has appeared several times in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts and most recently in chapter form in Judo & American Culture – Prelude, Acceptance, Embodiment. Mr. Wingard is an adjunct instructor of history and education at the University of Maine and History Department Chair at Bangor High School.