The philosophy behind karate is vast and complex. It stems from thousands of years of armed and unarmed combat. Techniques that were perfected hundreds of years ago are still being perfected over and over again by each new generation. Buddhism, Taoism, and the code of Bushido have all played parts in the development of the martial arts philosophy. Karate in its modern form was established around 400 years ago in Japan, with its roots mainly derived from Chinese Kung Fu.
This martial art has its roots in China, but was largely developed in Okinawa, Japan in the 1600’s as a method for self-defence due to weapons being outlawed. Karate can be translated to “empty hand.” There are many styles of Karate from traditional, to modern, western styles known usually as American Freestyle Karate, and Full-Contact Karate (Sport Karate), but many of the basic techniques are the same. Some of the more popular styles are:
Training in Karate generally involves four aspects, or fundamentals. These fundamentals are the different forms of movements that make up combinations and techniques practiced in Karate.
People often confuse different styles of martial arts, and interchange the names of these martial arts. It can be easy to confuse Karate with other martial arts, especially because so many arts employ similar techniques.
Kihon translates to “basic techniques”, and is the foundation on which Karate is built. In kihon, you learn the Karate way of punching, blocking, kicking and movement.
Kata translates to “forms” and builds upon the basic techniques you have learned. With kata, you learn to combine the basic techniques in a flowing movement.
Bunkai translates to “analysis” or “disassembly”, and involves working with others to understand the real world application of a kata.
Kumite means sparring, and allows students to practice the techniques learned in Karat against one another, and oftentimes in tournaments.
Karate punches use a straight punch technique with a twist of the wrist near the point of impact.