Karate | Fighting Styles


Karate, also known as karatedo, refers to a martial art that stems from indigenous methods of fighting from Chinese kempo, the Ryukyu Islands, and traditional Japanese martial arts. Mainly known as an art of striking that features kicking, punching, elbow and knee strikes, as well as open-handed tactics, karate also makes use of locks, grappling, traps and restraints, joint manipulations, throws, and point striking. Karate practitioners are known as karateka.

"Kara" means "to purge somebody of evil and selfish thoughts to get a clear conscience and mind to allow him to understand the knowledge that he will receive". It is also believed that a person has to be "outwardly gentle and inwardly humble" since only real humility can open him up to the many lessons of karate by being receptive and listening to criticism.

Originally, karate was written as Chinese kanji and was later altered into a homonym that means "empty hand". Several people argue that, because of karate’s generic meaning of "empty hand", any sport or combat system that is unarmed could be called karate. However, this argument remains controversial since attitudes have complicated it toward competition and philosophy, questions of primacy and lineage, as well as questions of identity and nationalism.

The very first use of this word in print was made by Anko Itosu. Although no evidence can be found that links the use of this character with karate origins, people did not have specific characters in mind whenever they talked about karate. In the year 1933, the Okinawan karate art became known as a Japanese martial art.

Karate can only be applied properly within rare situations where one truly has to either get downed by somebody else or down them. It is not unusual for practitioners to only make use of karate once in real-life situations since practitioners of karate should never get drawn into fights too easily because their strikes could kill. Those who misuse these tactics will bring dishonor upon themselves. In times of fatal public crises, one should always be brave enough to face millions of opponents. Indecisiveness is a trait that is utterly shameful, while courtesy is considered as something of the utmost importance.

Karate styles vary greatly when it comes to their concentration or even their lack thereof in kihon. This might be practiced with floor exercises, where similar combinations or tactics are done repeatedly as students move across the entire floor. Plus, kihon might take forms of partner drills that are pre-arranged, or work with kicking and punching dummies, bags or shields. Several styles come with small sets of basic tactics, which are consistently practiced in each class. Others may have various tactics that are practiced every few months.

Karate competitions come with three disciplines: weapon forms called kobudō kata, sparring called kumite, and empty-handed forms called kata. Competitors can either enter as individuals or teams. Kata and kobudō kata evaluations involve judges, while sparring involves a main referee and assistant referees within the overall area of sparring. Usually, sparring matches get divided into groups by age, weight, experience, and gender.

International competitions are also well-organized. In the Olympics, the World Karate Federation is responsible for the karate competitions. They have even developed common rules that govern every style. Unfortunately, karate did not make it into the 2012 Olympics since it did not get enough votes needed to turn into an official sport of the Olympics.

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