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Karate originated as a martial art thousands of years ago and was brought to Japan from China, Taiwan and Okinawa. Many of the famous Karate-ka, or Bushi, as they were known in Okinawa, experimented and developed their skills in such provinces as Shuri, Naha and Tomari. But unlike Judo and Kendo, Karate was a secret art, unknown to the general public. There was no fixed system until approximately 1907, when Yasutsune Itosu of Shuri and Kanryo Higaonna of Naha -- both of whom are regarded today as two of the most influential teachers of Okinawan Karate -- gained a good following for both of their own special styles.
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