The Shotokan school developed in the early 1900’s by a Japanese family wishing to repopularise the art. Today the result is the JKA (Japanese Karate Association), and JKAE (JKA England) which is one of the most well known and widespread schools of karate, teaching Shotokan.
Shotokan focuses on deep stances and repetition of basics (kihon), until they become second nature and reflex. Large amounts of time is devoted to making each technique as perfect as possible so as aim towards achieving ippon with any strike.
Due to this there are many kata (forms or patterns of moves) in Shotokan, which aim to drill the “perfect” application of every technique.
An interesting facet of the Shotokan school is that any blocking technique can also be used as either a strike, or a break against the arm or leg of the attacker.
For more information please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotokan
Author: Michael Casey, Southampton