About us

About Shotokan Karate

Gichin Funakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi  is the founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, perhaps the most widely known style of karate, and is attributed as being the “father of modern karate”. Following the teachings of Anko Itosu and Anko Asato,he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1922. He taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association upon its establishment in 1949.

About Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association

Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi

Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi
World Chief Instructor, 10th Dan

Shihan Kenneth Funakoshi, founder and Chief Instructor of the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association started judo training in 1948 under Arakaki Sensei at the Gakuen Japanese Language School in Honalulu, Hawaii.

In 1969, after training 10 years under three of Japans top instructors and winning the grand championship of the Karate Association of Hawaii for five years in a row (1964 – 1968), Kenneth Funakoshi was appointed as the Chief instructor for Karate Association of Hawaii.

Funakoshi moved to San Jose, California to teach karate in December 1986. In 1987, the non-political Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association was founded with its world headquarters now in Milpitas, CA and affiliates throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, South America, and Africa.


Sensei Debi Steven

Sensei Debi Steven

Chief Instructor

Sensei Debi is a 5th Dan in Shotokan Karate and heads up both Funakoshi Limited and Pee-Wee Karate Limited, with a total of over 750 students. Sensei Debi’s karate ethos was the inspiration behind the award-winning Kawaii Karate Lottie doll. She has always believed that karate is first about respect and discipline, second about perfecting technique and the third pillar is sport karate. To be considered a good karateka one needs to have worked equally on all three pillars.
Sensei Debi started karate at the age of 19 in South Africa having survived a rape as a young girl. She was determined to learn to protect herself and to gain back her confidence. She excelled in kumite(sparring) and competed in many local and national competitions. She was a member of the Western Province Karate team for many years and in 1997 Sensei Debi was selected for the South African All-Styles Karate team and competed in Japan at the International Women’s Karate Cup.
The following year Sensei Debi’s partner was killed in a car accident and she moved to the UK where she set up Pee-Wee and Funakoshi Karate. Sensei Debi also trained and taught Reality Based Self-Defence outside of traditional martial arts.
Sensei Debi has taught and completed instructors’ courses in South Africa, the UK, Canada, Switzerland and the USA and is rated as one of the top self-defence instructors in the world. She is recognised as a senior self-defence and karate instructor by the International Self-Defence Federation. She has also trained on numerous occasions with the highly respected Dave Turton of Self-Defence International.
In July 2013, she founded Action Breaks Silence to offer her training FREE of charge to women and girls at risk of sexual or gender-based violence in South Asia and Africa. In October 2014, Action Breaks Silence became a UK registered charity. The charity has already taught its “Empowerment and Personal Safety” workshops to over 40,000 women and girls and taught over 1000 young boys her Empathy Programme in India and South Africa. In order to make this work sustainable, Debi has become a Trainer of Trainers to over 60 local instructors.
In March 2015, Debi was the recipient of an “International Women of Change” award at the Indonesian Film Festival where “Power”, a documentary about Debi’s life and work by journalist and film-maker Jeanny Gering, was given a Platinum award. In May 2016 Sensei Debi started a Masters Degree at London MET studying Women and Child Abuse.
On 12 July 2016, Sensei Debi was given a “Point of Light” award by David Cameron, then the Prime Minister of the UK, in recognition of her “doing extraordinary things in the service of others … reaching thousands of girls and boys across India and South Africa and spreading the life-saving message of respect and support for women and girls”. In his letter to Sensei Debi, David Cameron wrote, “Through your hard work and dedication you are making our communities stronger and our country a better place”.