The actual, precise origin of karate is unknown. Some believe that karate originated in China with the Buddhist monk Daruma, in the sixth century B.C.E. Others believe it started in Greece much earlier. Modern karate however was developed in Okinawa around the sixteenth century and was officially exported to mainland Japan in 1922 by Funakoshi Gichin. Funakoshi is known as the father of modern karate. When karate was no longer needed for self-protection against oppressors, it was turned into an art of self-perfection for the public. Funokoshi stressed, “The ultimate aim of the art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants”.

The five karate principles of the dōjō are all considered equally important: 
One! To strive for the perfection of character!
One! To defend the paths of truth!
One! To foster the spirit of effort!
One! To 
honor the principles of etiquette!
One! To guard against impetuous courage!

In most dōjō in the world these principles are recited and application is encouraged beyond the dōjō walls as well. They transcend cultural barriers and create a format for respect and cooperation between individuals and groups. Needless to say, were they to be applied to peoples in conflict, the world would be a very different place.