About fourteen hundred years ago Daruma (Bodhidharma), the founder of Zen Buddhism, travelled from western India to China to present lectures on Buddhism. He travelled to the Shaolin Temple in Hunan Province, China where he taught them a method to develop their spiritual and physical strength. These Monks became known throughout China for their courage and fortitude. This became known as Tode and was a martial art unique to Okinawa.
About 500 years ago, a national policy was adopted in Okinawa where by all weapons were forbidden and eventually confiscated by the government. It is supposed that karate developed on the islands as a means of unarmed self-defence.
Master Gichin Funakoshi, was an early student of the Shaolin Monk’s training in Okinawa. As he mastered this method of empty hand fighting art, he was invited to lecture and conduct demonstrations in Tokyo. They were so impressed by his lectures, that he was invited to stay and teach karate in Tokyo. The style became known as Shotokan Karate, a traditional style practised all over the world.
( Excerpt from Karate-Do Kyohan—The Master Text)