Is Karate Martial Arts?
Karate is extremely known but sometimes debated if it is a martial Art. Martial arts are described as codified systems and traditions of physical combat. This includes any of the traditional forms of Asian self-defense and combat. They are practiced for various reasons: self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, competition, physical fitness, and mental and spiritual development. Martial arts are also performed for entertainment and the preservation of cultural heritage. Martial arts cover a wide range of activities which include fighting techniques, physical exercise, mental discipline, and other skills.
The term “martial arts” is a broad one, covering any practice associated with combat between opponents, with the use of hand to hand combat and/or weapons. Practices which fall under the umbrella of martial arts include (but are not limited to) Karate, Aikido, Judo, Kung Fu, and Jiu-Jitsu. Although Karate is a form of martial arts which does not use weapons, it falls under the umbrella of martial arts, as it is method, developed in Japan, of defending oneself without the use of weapons by striking sensitive areas on an opponent’s body with the hands, elbows, knees, or feet.
There are four known karate styles first developed in Japan. They are Shotokan-ryu, Wado-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Goju-yu. The first three styles originated in the Shuri region of Okinawa. Goju-ryu origninated in the Naha province. Shuri karate is different from Naha karate due to its different predecessor influences. Shito-ryu is more a blend of Shuri and Naha traditions. Shotokan involves long, deep stances and powerful techniques. Shito-ryu uses more upright stances and stresses speed rather than power in its techniques. Wado-ryu also employs shorter, more natural stances; the style is emphasizes body shifting to avoid attacks. Kyokushin involves breaking and full contact, knockdown sparring as part of its training. Goju-ryu has emphasis on Sanchin kata, is rooted Sanchin stance, and employs grappling and close-range techniques.
As Bruce Lee said “The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.” All martial art forms can benefit children. Karate is a wonderful form of martial arts for your kids to learn.