There are many different styles of martial arts and by far the most popular is the martial art Karate. What sets the martial art Karate apart from the rest is how and why it was developed. It developed out the basic necessity of survival by peaceful people and became a way of life. Karate became a formalized martial art that developed in Okinawa as a way of defending a culture against armed warriors.
The martial art Karate in its purest form is an art of weaponless self-defense. It is comprised of punches, kicks, and strikes executed in circular or linear thrusting and striking motions. Combining these techniques with proper breathing and body position, forming animal like stances, Karate becomes a self-defense system worthy of defending against an armed or unarmed assailant or assailants.
With roots dating back to China, Karate emerged as a martial art capable of withstanding any adversarial challenge. Many of the techniques and self-defense philosophies within the Okinawan fighting systems came from the original form of Shaolin Kung Fu. The people of Okinawa did make minor changes to concentrate on power that would focus on inflicting injuries to opponents wearing armor.
Since Karate develops around the strengths of a practitioner some techniques were modified from original Kung Fu techniques to adapt to the physique of the Okinawan people and terrain of Okinawa.
Most martial arts have many essential aspects that make up the respective systems. Karate maintains the nine original essential aspects brought from China. Not many Karate practitioners know about these aspects nor do they practice all of them. The nine aspects of Karate are:
- Striking Vital Areas
- Pressure Points
- Joint Locks
- Pain Control
- Throwing and Sweeping
- Counters to all the above aspects
Through Okinawan Kata (forms) and drilling of basic techniques these aspects are practiced and perfected. Within the Okinawan kata most of theses techniques are hidden movements. With some techniques just too dangerous to practice on another human being some of these nine essential aspects have been neglected, put aside, or just forgotten. Most Karate practitioners only concentrate on two or three of these.
The uniqueness of the martial art Karate is the powerful strikes a practitioner can deliver to an adversary. Through countless hours of training Karate practitioners develop physical and mental strengths that seem super human in nature.
A benefit from practicing the martial art Karate is that it builds extremely strong bodies. A practitioner not only develops strength in the body, but the mind as well. This keeps the Karate practitioner young and healthy.
Modern day Karate has evolved into a mixture of many martial arts. Traditionally, there were only two types of kicks – the back kick and the front kick. Today you find just about every type of kick within Karate, which more than likely was influenced by sport Karate. Karate was never intended to be a sport, but only for use in life or death confrontations.
Sport Karate evolved as a way for practitioners to test their skills against other martial artists. The first karate tournaments awarded points for a kill strike or blow. Today points are awarded for tagging the opponent, and in many cases these techniques in sport Karate lack power.
Understand one thing about the martial art Karate, the techniques practiced and if executed properly can deliver tremendous power making it an effective self-defense system for anybody regardless of their size and gender.