Everything About Karate | You Must Know About Karate
"True karate is this: that in daily life one's mind and body be trained and developed in a spirit of humility, and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly to the cause of justice."
--- Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi
Karate, an amalgam of Chinese and Japanese martial arts, is known primarily as a striking art (it is translated from Japanese as “Empty Hand.”)
The word karate is a combination of two Japanese characters: kara, meaning empty, and te, meaning hand; thus, karate means "empty hand."
Karate practice is divided into:
Kihon (drilling of stances, blocks, punches, strikes and kicks)
Kata (pre-arranged forms simulating combat situations)
In each category the beginner is given instruction at the most basic level until the techniques become spontaneous.
The object of true karate practice is the perfection of oneself through the perfection of the art.
It originated in the southernmost islands of Japan, the Ryukyu islands that were originally allied with China; Japan later took control of these islands. The largest of these islands is Okinawa. This martial art developed, therefore, with these distinct influences.
The sport features punching, kicking, knee/elbow strikes and open handed techniques. However, grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints/traps, throws and vital point striking also appear in karate.
It has many similarities to the Korean sport of Taekwondo, one note of distinction, however, is that Taekwondo uses more kicks, while Karate has a greater emphasis on punches and strikes.
Karate is more than just competition, but it can be. It’s more than just exercise, but it can be. And it’s more than just self-defense which, obviously, every technique you do has an intrinsic purpose to it.
Karate as self-defense:
Karate is one of the most dynamic of all the martial arts. A trained karateka is able to coordinate mind and body perfectly, thereby allowing the unleashing of tremendous physical power at will. Therefore, it is not the possession of great physical strength that makes a strong karateka; rather it is the ability to coordinate mind and body. Upon developing this ability, even the smallest person finds that he or she has within himself or herself the power to deliver a devastating blow to any would-be attacker.
The benefits of karate:
In our everyday lives we often forget the value of exercise to both our physical and mental health. The practice of karate tones the body, develops coordination, quickens reflexes, and builds stamina.
Also, the serious practice of karate develops composure, a clearer thought process, deeper insight into one's mental capabilities, and more self-confidence. In this, karate is not an end, but a means to an end. It is an activity in which advancing age is not a hindrance. Rather it encourages proficiency in the keen coordination of mind and body.
Karate may be practiced for many reasons, but was originally developed for selfdefense. The forms, or kata, contain a variety of techniques intended for this purpose: hand strikes, kicks, locking, and grappling. However, proper training is required to make these techniques usable against a determined aggressor.