Makotokai Karate

Master Paolo Bolaffio

Master Paolo Bolaffio, originally from Italy, is one of the greatest martial arts masters of our time. He is the founder of Makotokai Karate and the president of Makotokai International. Paolo dedicated his life to the study and research of the deepest meanings of martial arts. His motto is “If it can be proven, it works,” and he himself teaches all his students to be strong in order to be useful.

Paolo started practicing karate at the age of eight, when this art was almost unknown in Italy. He also studied Olympic fencing, which helped him understand the concepts of timing and action/reaction. The master traveled the world to learn more about different martial arts. Inner Chinese and Taoist styles had a great influence on his perception of martial arts. He completed his training and became a Sifu in Chinese martial arts.

Internal and external martial arts, through deep research, study and endless testing, allowed Paolo to develop his karate style. He began to search for the true essence of martial arts, embodied in their effectiveness and power. He never stopped at what he had achieved and always strived for perfection.

Master Paolo Bolaffio is a unique personality in the world of martial arts. His research and discoveries led to the development of his own style of karate and make him one of the most sought after teachers and masters. He continues to share his knowledge and experience with his students, inspiring them to be strong and useful. Master Paolo Bolaffio is the epitome of dedication and a passionate approach to martial arts, and his achievements and contributions to this field are increasingly recognized and respected around the world.


Literally translated from Japanese karate means “empty hand”. The art of fighting with bare hands has a complicated history. We will talk about one of its versions. According to her, karate as a martial art originated among the oppressed inhabitants of Okinawa. In the first half of the 15th century, the emperor forbids the storage of cold weapons, ultimately, to ensure the safety of themselves and their relatives, the islanders developed the previously existing types of fist fighting. Continental, in particular Chinese, as more developed types of martial arts became a good basis, or perhaps an addition to the existing system. One way or another, we now have a slender universal self-defense system that occupies one of the leading places in the world in terms of the number of adherents.


Until the 20th century, the word “karate” was written with two characters, one of which, kara, meant China. Guchin Funakoshi became the author of a new semantic meaning, he successfully replaced the hieroglyph meaning “China” with the consonant but meaningful “void”.

The task of Okinawan karate was to kill the enemy very quickly at the beginning of the fight. It was a necessity of those harsh times, but lost its original meaning after the onset of the humane 20th century. Guchin Funakoshi, who is the founder of today’s sports karate, was the first to show the karate technique to the mass public, and he spoke about karate not only as a perfect method of self-defense, but also as a philosophy that educates a fighter spiritually and physically. However, one of the principles of karate – victory with one blow or the first move, sounds like an echo of those distant times when karate was born.

There are more than 70 different directions of karate.
Interesting fact: in Russian-speaking countries, those who practice karate are called karateists. Although, if you believe the dictionaries, the correct name for such people is Karateka.
Contrary to popular belief, Japan is not the birthplace of karate. This martial art originated in China, from where it then got to the island of Okinawa, where it received the name “karate” – “Chinese hand”. The rest of Japan learned about karate only at the end of the 19th century. Since Japanese-Chinese relations were quite tense at the time, the Chinese origin of martial arts was rejected. In 1936, on the eve of the Sino-Japanese war, in the word “karate” the character “kara” (Chinese) was replaced by the consonant character “kara” – “empty”. In addition, the ending “to” – “way” was added to the term. It turned out to be “karate-do” – “the way of the empty (unarmed) hand.” The legendary Gitin Funakoshi, the founder of the Setokan style, is considered to be the author of the term “karate-do”.

As you know, belts of different colors are awarded in karate for different skill levels. Gradation of belts and their number can differ significantly depending on the style. Interestingly, in the “original” Okinawan karate there were only five belts, the colors of which were explained very simply:

– white – a clean beginner’s belt, barely started classes;
– yellow – the belt of a student who mastered the basic techniques for a long time and sweated profusely at the same time (it was the sweat that made the belt turn yellow);
– red – the belt of a student admitted to duels (the belt was red from the blood spilled during training);
– brown – the belt of a “zealous” student, misses blows much less often (the blood on the belt had time to dry and acquire a brown color);
– black – a master’s belt, blackened by dirt and blood over time.

Another interesting fact: Masutatsu Oyama, the creator of kekushinkai – one of the most popular and hard styles of Japanese karate – is not Japanese. He was born in Korea, where he is known under the name Choi Eun Yi.

To popularize his style, Masutatsu Oyama held fights with bulls, while he entered the arena completely unarmed. If the official version is to be believed, Oyama managed to defeat 52 bulls over the years, and 3 of them he beat to death. The master’s “trick” was cutting off bull horns with the edge of the palm (48 bulls were injured). True, evil tongues say that the horns were first filed.

In kekushinkai there is the concept of “hyakunin-kumite” – a test of 100 fights, the successful completion of which is an indicator of unsurpassed skill and true strength of spirit. According to the rules of the test, the fighter must without rest (!) conduct 100 two-minute full-contact fights with various opponents, and must win at least 50. Now there are about 15 people in the whole world who managed to successfully pass this test.

Perhaps the most rigid style of karate is daido juku karate-do (kudo), which has only a small number of restrictions in striking and wrestling techniques. It is interesting that at the championships of Japan sometimes even punches in the groin are allowed! During fights, kudo fighters use special helmets with plastic visors to protect their faces. For this they are jokingly called cosmonauts

Karate has been studied by such celebrities as Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bear Grylls. It is interesting that the king of rock and roll himself – Elvis Presley, was a karateka (and with a black belt!) who studied this martial art in the army. It is said that on the set of the movie “Kid Gallahead”, Elvis easily smashed bricks with his punches.

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