Introduction to Karate

A martial art derived from indigenous Japanese and Chinese fighting techniques, Karate is literally translated as ‘empty hand’, although weapons are sometimes used for demonstrations and training. Karate is practiced worldwide as an art form, a sport, and training for self-defence.

However, whilst Karate equips practitioners to deal with attacks, the emphasis is not on fighting but bringing discipline, respect and commitment into society. Karate is a form of Budo, the general name given to Japanese martial arts, and is often followed by the word ‘do’ (way), translating karate into a principle for living. One of the early masters of Karate, Gichin Funakoshi believed Karate to be an activity that requires humility in order to purge selfish thoughts and gain a clear and ordered mind.

According to Funakoshi, the philosophy of Karate relies on clarity, courtesy and honour, he claimed that misusing Karate techniques for unnecessary attack brings dishonour and shame. Modern Karate training is separated into three distinctions: Kihon, Kata and Kumite, each of which focus on different aspects of the discipline and which cumulatively develop the form, technique and application of the art.