About the Shotokan Tiger

The word Shotokan is comprised of three Kanji characters in Japanese - Sho To Kan. The literal translation is Pine Waves Hall, and is synonymous with the tiger symbol and Shotokan Karate today.

Master Funakoshi's pen name was Shoto, and signs his works of calligraphy with his pen name. He would explain that the cool breezes, which blew among the pine trees where he lived, made a sound like waves breaking the shore. When viewing the Pine trees blowing at distance, it looked like a tiger’s tail.

The tiger, which is commonly used as the symbol of Shotokan implies that the tiger never sleeps, therefore, is the keen alertness of the wakeful tiger.