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About Karate

Empty hand fighting is as old as man itself. Innumerable systemised forms of empty hand fighting have been developed all over the world, each reflecting a little of the national culture. That which we call karate is just one of them.

Depending on which source you refer to for a background on the Martial Arts, you may find many different versions. It is generally accepted that the forerunner of karate originated in India and went to China through the teachings of the Buddhist monk Bhoddidharma (Daruma Taishi). From there it spread to Okinawa, where it was developed and systemised, finally moving to Japan, where it formally introduced in 1922 by the Okinawan master Gichin Funakoshi. It was here in Japan that it was popularised. From Japan, karate now has spread across the world.

funakoshi
Gichin Funakoshi

Karate is a Martial Art, with a unique history, philosophy and set of techniques. Karate can be practised in the dojo as well as outdoors. It can be practised in the hot sun or in the deep snow. Each season gives its own flavour to karate training, and each season imposes its own challenges to our physical and mental abilities.

Karate is also a way of life, a way of being. A karate-ka deals fully with the present moment, being totally absorbed in one action only. A true Karate-ka seeks balance and harmony in his or her life; the karate-ka develops a strong body and spirit so as to better serve others.

Karate is not something with which to win a competition, nor is it something to make a strong exponent stronger still; on a much larger scale it teaches the WAY OF HUMANITY. It is something that enable people who learn karate to further develop their character; thus each person is able to make a marvellous contribution to society. Technique rather than force, spirit rather than technique. Sincerity is the way to heaven. Making this a sincere belief is the way of mankind
.

Where does the word KARATE come from ?
T
he art of Okinawa, the ' Te ' was known under the name of Okinawa-Te. In 1930, Master Funakoshi introduced the word (ideogram) ' Kara ', which means ' Empty '. The word Te (the Hand) remained.
He added the ' do ' ending which means ' Way '. The name Karate-Do was born and means 'Empty Hand Way'.

Today, karate has immensely grown in popularity and is practised world-wide. Japan's capitulation during the Second World War enabled the development of the martial art. In 1957, the first championships were organised in Japan.

Subsequently, Karate spread all over the world but became more and more diverse, hence giving birth to a variety of different styles which make its homogenization almost impossible and its learning so interesting.

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