Many people think that karate is all about smashing bricks, one inch death punches and screaming "Eeee-Yah".
But its not. (Except the screaming, which is called a Kiai.)
Karate is actually a form of unarmed combat employing a wide range of punching and kicking techniques which originated hundreds of years ago on a small island called Okinawa which is situated between China and Japan.
Literally, “karate – do” means “the way of the empty hand” referring to the fact that its practitioners used no weapons to attack or defend, but only the hands, feet and body.
Karate is much more than merely physical. It is founded on a grand philosophical and spiritual tradition based on Bushido and Zen Buddhist principles. Through hard training and practice, karate develops not only the body but also the mind and character. There are many distinctive styles of karate with their own characteristics such as emphasizing speed, power and hip rotation while other styles concentrate on competitions, self - defence or various applications of techniques.
Shotokan karate is one of the most widely practised forms of karate in the world today, and one of the most traditional.
Introduced to Japan from Okinawa by the supreme Master Gichin Funakoshi, who believed that the ultimate purpose of karate is not physical prowess or the winning of medals/matches, but the development of balance, harmony and spiritual and physical strength through strict and diciplined training.
Shotokan karate puts a heavy focus on Kihon (Basic Techniques), Kata (Forms) and Kumite (Sparring) to develop a range of powerful and dynamic techniques.
Karate is one of the most dynamic of all martial arts.
A trained karateka (karate student) is able to co-ordinate mind and body perfectly, thereby allowing the unleashing of tremendous physical power at will. Therefore, it is not the possession of great physical strength that make a strong karateka rather their ability to co-ordinate mind and body.
Upon developing this ability, even the smallest person finds that she/he has within themself the power to deliver a devastating blow to any would be attacker.