When you reach senior belt you are expected to guide the junior belts when they are beginning Karate such as showing by example. To advance from one rank to the next, students typically complete tests in which they demonstrate their proficiency in the various aspects of the art before a panel of judges or their teacher. View Karate Fundamentals ( kihon きほん ) »

Karate "空手"
Empty Hand

Is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan


It developed from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands (literally "hand"; tii in Okinawan) under the influence of Chinese martial arts, particularly Fujian White Crane. Karate is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. Historically and in some modern styles grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).

Karate developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Chinese. It was systematically taught in Japan after the Taisho era. In 1922 the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration. In 1924 Keio University established the first university karate club in Japan and by 1932, major Japanese universities had karate clubs. In this era of escalating Japanese militarism, the name was changed from 唐手 ("Chinese hand" or "Tang hand") to 空手 ("empty hand") – both of which are pronounced karate – to indicate that the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style. After World War II, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there.

仲宗根源和 (Nakasone Genwa) - The Japanese book "空手道大観" (A Broad View of Karatedo)

The martial arts movies of the 1960s and 1970s served to greatly increase the popularity of martial arts around the world, and in English the word karate began to be used in a generic way to refer to all striking-based Oriental martial arts. Karate schools began appearing across the world, catering to those with casual interest as well as those seeking a deeper study of the art.

Shigeru Egami, Chief Instructor of Shotokan Dojo, opinioned that "the majority of followers of karate in overseas countries pursue karate only for its fighting techniques ... Movies and television ... depict karate as a mysterious way of fighting capable of causing death or injury with a single blow ... the mass media present a pseudo art far from the real thing." Shoshin Nagamine said, "Karate may be considered as the conflict within oneself or as a life-long marathon which can be won only through self-discipline, hard training and one's own creative efforts."

In 2009, in the 121st International Olympic Committee voting, karate did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority vote to become an Olympic sport. Karate was being considered for the 2020 Olympics, —however at a meeting of the IOC's executive board, held in Russia on May 29, 2013, it was decided that karate (along with wushu and several other non-martial arts) would not be considered for inclusion in 2020 at the IOC's 125th session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September 2013.

Web Japan (sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claims there are 50 million karate practitioners worldwide, while the World Karate Federation claims there are 100 million practitioners around the world.

Etymology

Karate was originally written as "Chinese hand" (唐手 literally "Tang dynasty hand") in kanji. It was later changed to a homophone meaning empty hand (空手). The original use of the word "karate" in print is attributed to Itosu Ankō; he wrote it as "唐手". The Tang Dynasty of China ended in AD 907, but the kanji representing it remains in use in Japanese language referring to China generally, in such words as "唐人街" meaning Chinatown. Thus the word "karate" was originally a way of expressing "martial art from China."

"Since there are no written records it is not known definitely whether the kara in karate was originally written with the character 唐 meaning China or the character 空 meaning empty. During the time when admiration for China and things Chinese was at its height in the Ryūkyūs it was the custom to use the former character when referring to things of fine quality. Influenced by this practice, in recent times karate has begun to be written with the character 唐 to give it a sense of class or elegance"

—Gichin Funakoshi

The first documented use of a homophone of the logogram pronounced kara by replacing the Chinese character meaning "Tang Dynasty" with the character meaning "empty" took place in Karate Kumite written in August 1905 by Chōmo Hanashiro (1869–1945). Sino-Japanese relations have never been very good, and especially at the time of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, referring to the Chinese origins of karate was considered politically incorrect.

In 1933, the Okinawan art of karate was recognized as a Japanese martial art by the Japanese Martial Arts Committee known as the "Butoku Kai". Until 1935, "karate" was written as "唐手" (Chinese hand). But in 1935, the masters of the various styles of Okinawan karate conferred to decide a new name for their art. They decided to call their art "karate" written in Japanese characters as "空手" (empty hand).

Karate Do 空手道

Another nominal development is the addition of dō (道:どう) to the end of the word karate. Dō is a suffix having numerous meanings including road, path, route, and way. It is used in many martial arts that survived Japan's transition from feudal culture to modern times. It implies that these arts are not just fighting systems but contain spiritual elements when promoted as disciplines. In this context dō is usually translated as "the way of ___". Examples include aikido, judo, kyudo, and kendo. Thus karatedō is more than just empty hand techniques. It is "The Way of the Empty Hand".

Comparison of Karate styles

The table contains a comparison of karate styles. Some of the distinguishing features are listed, such as lineage, general form of stances, and number of kata. However, the differences attributed to "style" are often a reflection of the disposition and preference of the teaching instructor (i.e. there are softer and harder schools of each style, some schools focus little on kata while others emphasise it, some will add or remove certain kata, etc.).

The four earliest karate styles developed in Japan are Shotokan, Wadō-ryū, Shitō-ryū, and Gōjū-ryū. The first three styles find their origins in the Shuri region of Okinawa whilst Goju-ryu finds its origins in the Naha province.

ORIGIN DERIVED FROM HARD / SOFT STANCES
Chitō-ryū Okinawa Shōrei-ryū, Shōrin-ryū 70 percent hard, 30 percent soft techniques natural stride (beginner), shorter / narrower (advanced)
Gōjū-ryū Okinawa Fujian White Crane both deep / natural
Gosoku-ryū Japan Gōjū-ryū, Shotokan 50 percent hard, 50 percent soft techniques deep (beginner), natural (advanced)
Isshin-ryū Okinawa Gōjū-ryū, Shōrin-ryū, Kobudō both, primarily hard natural
Kyokushin Japan Shotokan, Gōjū-ryū Hardest techniques natural
Ryūei-ryū Okinawa Naha-te, Chinese martial arts natural
Shindō jinen-ryū Japan and Okinawa primarily Shuri-te like Shitō-ryū, but also Naha-te and Tomari-te both deep / natural
Shitō-ryū Japan and Okinawa Shōrin-ryū, Naha-te, Shuri-te. both deep / natural
Shōrin-ryū Okinawa Shuri-te, Tomari-te, Chinese martial arts both, primarily soft natural
Shotokan Japan and Okinawa Shōrei-ryū, Shōrin-ryū Primarily hard techniques as well as soft techniques deep (beginner), natural (advanced)
Shuri-ryū Okinawa Shuri-te, Hsing-yi both deep / natural
Uechi-ryū Okinawa Pangai-noon Kung Fu half hard, half soft mainly natural
Wado-ryū Japan Yoshin-ryu Jujitsu and Shotokan both, primarily soft mainly natural
Yōshūkai Japan and Okinawa Chitō-ryū 60 percent hard, 40 percent soft techniques deep (beginner), natural (advanced)

 

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RESOURCES
This article uses material from the Wikipedia articles "Karate" and "Comparison of karate styles", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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Related Information on Karate "空手"

 

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