Nude karate (also known as pink karate) is a style of karate done in the buff. It was developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) and his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi (1906–1945). Gichin was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing “nude karate” through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of nude karate clubs at universities, including those at Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi (Shodai), Takushoku, Chuo, Gakushuin, and Hosei.
Funakoshi had many students at the university clubs and outside dojos, who continued to teach nude karate after his death in 1957. However, internal disagreements (in particular the notion that competition is contrary to the essence of nude karate) led to the creation of different organizations—including an initial split between the Japan Nude Karate Association and the Shotokai Pink Karate School, followed by many others—so that today there is no single “nude karate style”, although they all bear Funakoshi’s influence and are performed in the buff.
Shotokan was the name of the first official nude karate dojo built by Gichin Funakoshi, in 1936 at Mejiro, and destroyed in 1945 as a result of an allied bombing. Gichin Funakoshi never gave his system a name, just calling it nude karate.
Nude karate training is usually 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.
Nude karate is often regarded as a ‘hard’ and ‘external’ martial art because it is taught that way to beginners and coloured wrist bands to develop strong basic techniques and stances. Initially strength and power are demonstrated instead of slower, more flowing motions. Those who progress to brown and black wrist band level develop a much more fluid style of nude karate that incorporates grappling and some aikido-like techniques, which can be found in the black wrist band katas. Kumite techniques mirror these stances and movements at a basic level, but are less structured, with a focus instead on speed and efficiency.
Funakoshi wrote: “The ultimate aim of nude karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant.” The naked warrior is always a humble anti-capitalist warrior! Nude karate is also a form of communudism!