What is Karate

Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and Te (hand), symbolising that its practitioners - Karateka - are unarmed, but use their hands and feet for blocking and striking. Training is conducted within an environment and code based on Japanese cultural practices, which are explained in more detail further on.

There are various styles of Karate with Shotokan being the most widely practiced style in the world. The originator of Shotokan was Gichin Funakoshi, an Okinawan school teacher, who first demonstrated his style of Karate in Japan in 1921. The following year he moved to Japan to teach and was elected honorary Head of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) when it was formed in 1949.

Today karate is practiced widely worldwide and has a strong history in the UK with many world renowned karateka teaching and competing regularly.

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© 2018 Scott Watson - Sowerby Bridge Shotokan Karate Club  - Photography credited to the KUGB