What Is Karate

What is Karate?
The two Japanese characters compromising the word karate mean empty hand. In Japanese martial art culture the suffix ‘do’ transforms a sport into an art and indicates that some philosophy and correct moral discipline is intrinsic to it. For the Japanese do is that the practice (the way of life) validates the discipline propagated through a given art form. Karate originated as a system of unarmed self defense featuring techniques of blocking an attack and counter attacking an opponent by punching kicking or striking.

Today’s practitioners benefit from the rigorous mental and physical exercise, from the ability to defend themselves and from opportunities to demonstrate and compete.

Karate for Health
Karate training emphasizes strength, flexibility, endurance, breath, balance, alignment and posture, resulting in faster reflexes, better peripheral vision, increased focus and productivity, improved health, and a profound sense of well being.

Karate for Self Defense
Karate students learn to deflect, dodge, or otherwise thwart physical attacks, and to deliver focused, powerful counterattacks of their own, quickly disabling would-be assailants. At the same time karate builds confidence and awareness, enabling practitioners avoid conflict before it arises. Advanced students instinctively avoid confrontation, have the character to turn down physical challenges, but can and will defend themselves when there is no peaceful alternative.

Karate for Sport
Karate tournaments feature Kata and Kumite competition. Kata are sequences of prearranged Karate movements. Kata contestants are judged on proper technique, power, grace, rhythm, and level of difficulty.

Kumite is freestyle sparring. Contestants score points by executing karate techniques against a live opponent with full power and commitment, but stopping them just an inch shy of their target.