Karate (空手?) ( /kəˈrɑːtiː/; ) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed partially from indigenous fighting methods called te (手?, literally "hand"; Tii in Okinawan) and from Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家?). There are several different styles of karate, most of them stemming from the same genealogical tree, and some others acquiring the name "karate" for practical reasons while actually deriving from a mix of other martial arts. Each style of karate stresses some techniques more than others, or has some differences in performing the same techniques from what other styles do. However, most karate schools and styles adhere to the same basic principles, and use the same basic attire, stances and terminology.

Karate was possibly developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom prior to its 19th-century annexation by Japan, but there is no historical proof that karate (Okinawan te or karate-jutsu) was systematically taught in Japan before the Taisho era (prior to 1912). It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Ryukyuans. 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" verbatim, as the name of the Tang dynasty was a synonym to China in Okinawa) 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 the Second World War, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there.

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, opined "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."

For many practitioners, karate is a deeply philosophical practice. Karate-do teaches ethical principles and can have spiritual significance to its adherents. Gichin Funakoshi ("Father of Modern Karate") titled his autobiography Karate-Do: My Way of Life in recognition of the transforming nature of karate study. Today karate is practiced for self-perfection, for cultural reasons, for self-defense and as a sport.

In 2009, in the 121th IOC (International Olympic Committee) voting, karate did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority vote to become an Olympic sport. Web Japan (sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) claims there are 50 million karate practitioners worldwide and the WKF claims there are 100 million practitioners.

Read more about Karate:  Practice, Philosophy, Etymology, Film and Popular Culture in The West, Karate in Mixed Martial Arts

Other articles related to "karate":

Shojiro Sugiyama
... after training in two other styles of karate, he began studying with the Japan Karate Association of Tokyo (Yotsuya) ... to teach karate in 1963 ... the late 60's and 70's, Sugiyama Sensei is credited with building and promoting Shotokan karate throughout the entire midwest region ...
List Of Shotokan Organizations - Shotokai
... is used as a synonym for the Shotokan ryu association Dai Nihon Karate-do Shotokai ... It is the Shotokan Karate association established by Gichin Funakoshi originally in 1930 ... association is the keeper of master Funakoshi's Karate-do heritage ...
Karate in Mixed Martial Arts
... Karate, although not widely used in mixed martial arts, has been effective for some MMA practitioners ... Various styles of karate are practiced Chuck Liddell is known for Koei-Kan striking, Lyoto Machida practices Shotokan and Georges St-Pierre trains Kyokushin ...
Shojiro Sugiyama - Published Work
... Cover Art Title Year Published ISBN 11 Innovations in Karate 2005 10-ISBN 0-9669048-3-4 13-ISBN 978-0-9669048-3-3 25 Shoto-Kan Kata 1984 10-ISBN 0-9669048-0-X 13-ISBN 978-0-9669048-0-2 Aura, Ki, and Healing ...
Sherman Harrill - Isshinryu Karate
... Harrill began studying in 1959 under Tatsuo Shimabuku at his karate dojo in Agena, Okinawa, where he studied for approximately 14 months ... At that meeting he asked them if they planned to teach karate upon returning to the United States ... Harrill was one of the founding members of the Okinawan Karate Union, an organization that was dedicated to the promulagation and preservation of Isshinryu Karate ...

Famous quotes containing the word karate:

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