- WHAT IS KARATE?
Karate (空手) Japanese pronunciation: [kaɽate] is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now called Okinawa (a prefectural territory of Japan). It was developed partially from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands (called te (手), literally “hand”; tii in Okinawan) and from Chinese kenpo.
- IS KARATE ONLY KICKING AND CHOPPING?
Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. In some styles/schools, such as the Okinawa Goshukan-Ryu Columbus Dojo, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).
- AREN’T KARATE, KUNG-FU, AND TAEKWONDO THE SAME?
No, Taekwondo is was developed in Korea in the 1950’s as a derivative of Japanese Karate. Kung-Fu/Gongfu was developed in China, and is a predecessor of Karate.
Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom during the 1700’s. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Ryukyuans. 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 the Second World War, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there.
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