What is Karate?


 

Karate is an ancient oriental art of self-defense in which only bare hands, arms and feet are used. In some ways, it is similar to that of Judo and wrestling. However, it emphasizes the kick, open and hand-strike and closed fist strike rather than the take-down, and the hold down.

It's origins date back to 525 AD, to an obscure Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma who traveled from India to the Shaolin Temple in China. It was there that this man, known to many as "spiritual father of Zen Buddhism" shared his knowledge of physical fitness and self-defense.

This form of physical and mental discipline practiced by the monks became known as Shaolin-szu (Chaun-Fa) or, as we know it today, "Kenpo" which when translated means "way of the fist".

But it was in Okinawa that Kenpo emerged as a specific form of Martial Arts. These Chinese methods called Tode (or Vang hand) blended with what was called Okinawa-Te and later became refined and was called Kara.-Te (empty hand).

In 1429, Okinawa became a unified kingdom under the dynamic leadership of a man named Hashi. To ensure his rule, Hashi demanded for all weapons to be seized. In order to protect themselves, the people then developed "Kobudo", an art form in which the Okinawans used their farm implements as well as empty hands for self protection.

About 200 years later, Okinawa came under control of the Japanese, who again imposed a ban on weapons.

In 1917, Okinawan master Gichin Funakoshi introduced Karate to Japan where it became formalized with the modem day belt system.

 

 

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This page last updated
April 04, 2016
 

Jeffery's Okinawan Kenpo Karate Academy
408F Northside Drive
Valdosta Ga. 31602

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