“The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of character of its participants.” (Japan Karate Association (JKA) dargelegt)
The historical origin:
Karate got a Chinese origin and comes from and refers to the China of the Tang dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.). The name “Karate” means “empty hand” – Japanese translation.
The historical development:
By prohibition of weapons on the isle of Okinawa to conserve peace at the insurgent population (in the 15th and 16th century), the Martial Art gained growing popularity. By the end of the 19th century Karate was practiced secretly and was shared exclusively from master to student. Because of the prohibition of weapons to keep peace, the Martial Art was consigned over hundreds of years especially in oral or dialectical from (also in dancing form) – partly encoded.
The modern Karate:
Since 1902 Karate is not only seen as pure system for Self-Defense, but also as a manner of physical training. Based on the model of other Martial Arts Karate got after the 1930s a hierarchical classification like in a student-master-system.
Karate spread at first to the USA and then Europe over Hawaii, as well as the American occupation of Japan and especially Okinawa over the course of the 1950s and 1960s.
Substantially Karate is characterized by unarmed techniques, especially punching, hitting, kicking and blocking techniques, as well as foot sweep techniques.
Today’s often common form of the on sports oriented Karate is frequently criticized because it is thought that the basic idea/philosophy gets restricted.
Karate is an Olympic discipline.
Every training of Karate begins and ends traditionally with a short meditation. In Karate there are 20 guiding principles that represent the Martial Art and imply the philosophical origin:
Excerpt from the 20 guiding principles
- Karate begins and ends with courtesy.
- Know yourself first, before you know others.
- Be ready to free your mind.
- Think of ways to apply these precepts every day.
- When you step outside your own gate, you face a million enemies.